Having concluded their road schedule around Florida, the Yankees will look to tighten up any loose ends before heading north later this week in their final two spring games in Tampa today and tomorrow. This afternoon they’ll be taking on a familiar Grapefruit League foe, the Philadelphia Phillies.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone will send lefty JP Sears to the mound to make the start. Sears having shown a good ability to miss bats throughout his college and minor league career, had a very good 2021 season splitting time between Double-A and Triple-A. In 104 innings split almost evenly between the two levels, Sears impressively posted a 3.16 xFIP with a K-BB percentage of 25.1 percent in Somerset, and a 3.08 xFIP and K-BB percentage of 26.5 percent in Scranton.
Sears has made two relief appearances this spring and the good news is that he’s continued to post a good strikeout to walk ratio, fanning 5 over 3.2 combined innings without issuing a free pass. The bad news is that he’s also been knocked around a bit, giving up three hits in two innings against Detroit on March 24th, then 7 hits in 1.2 innings of work against the Blue Jays last Wednesday. He gets one more crack today to impress Aaron Boone and the Yankees organization in hope of heading to the Bronx with the rest of the team after tomorrow’s game.
In perhaps a good stroke of luck, Sears will be facing a Phillies lineup without Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, Rhys Hoskins, or Kyle Schwarber. Should he stick with the big league roster after a good performance today, JP may want to drop Phillies’ manager Joe Girardi a thank-you note.*
*Update: Send that thank-you note, JP! The lefty did indeed make the Opening Day roster after his start.
Joe Girardi will send veteran Kyle Gibson to the mound to make his final start before heading north for the regular season. Gibson is a familiar face to the Yankees as he’s made 219 of his 230 career starts in the American League as a member of the Twins and Rangers, and he also pitched against the Yanks on March 25th in Clearwater. The Bombers had success against Gibson that afternoon scoring two on four hits over two innings, including a long ball from Kyle Higashioka in an eventual 6-5 Philadelphia win.
The Yankees aren’t going to do any favors for Gibson by sending out a lineup of minor leaguers, as a group of hitters expecting to get plenty of at-bats in ’22 will take the field for them. Of note, Kyle Higashioka looks to continue his power-hitting from the DH spot today, while newcomer Jose Trevino sees his first action as a Yankee behind the plate. As an added bonus, highly-touted prospect Jasson Dominguez is with the team today, so he could make a late-game cameo (update: Dominguez was scratched with a stomach bug, so never mind).
How to watch:
Location: George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, Florida.
First pitch: 1:05 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES Network
Radio broadcast: MLB.com
Online stream: MLB.tv
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