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Yankees 8, Phillies 3: Offense pounds Nola; Volpening Day is increasingly realistic

The Yankees came to play Saturday against the reigning NL champs.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Philadelphia Phillies Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Notwithstanding the Luis Severino injury news that greeted Yankee Universe upon waking this morning, this was a good day for Yankee baseball. If they want to play, oh, say 150 games just like this one this season, they’ll be in good shape.

The offense was not messing around against Philles star Aaron Nola. Wunderkind shortstop Anthony Volpe led the game off with a triple, setting the tone very early. After a walk to Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres singled to center field, bringing Volpe to the plate and giving the good guys the early 1-0 lead.

Not to be outdone, Josh Donaldson came to the plate after a Giancarlo Stanton double play with Aaron Judge standing on third base. The Bringer of Rain leaned into a cement mixer from Nola and launched it out to left field. Two more runs, and an ember of hope in my heart that Donaldson can have a resurgent 2023:

The second inning was more of the same. Nola managed to get the first two outs without any drama, but Andres Chaparro was lurking in the nine-hole with ungodly power. Chaparro worked the count full against Nola, and then obliterated his fifth home run of the spring, deep to left field.

Back to the top of the Yankees order, and I’m not sure if anyone has noticed but it looks like Volpe really wants to make the club. After leading off the game with a triple, he decided a double was sufficient in his second at-bat, putting a runner in scoring position for Judge, who promptly brought the youngster in with an RBI single. I would 100 percent pay money to see that particular outcome – Judge driving in Volpe – dozens and dozens of times this season; 5-0, Yankees.

New York threatened again in the third, again with all the action coming after the first two men were retired. Though they failed to score with the bases loaded, they knocked Nola from the game and reset the order for the fourth inning.

Volpe led off the fourth with a single, his third hit of the game – leaving him only the round-tripper short of hitting for the cycle. Judge followed that with his second hit of the game, setting the table for Torres. Gleyber made sure the inning wouldn’t end without any Yankee runs, launching a home run of his own to left field.

Torres’ bomb made it a one-sided, 8-0 margin, though Philly would eventually get on the board.

Yankee prospect Randy Vásquez was handed the ball, replacing Severino. And he held up his end of the bargain early while the offense put up its touchdown-with-two-point-conversion lead.

Vásquez got himself in a bit of trouble in the first, with two of the first three Phils reaching base. But from there he struck out Darick Hall and got Nick Castellanos to fly out to right field. Vásquez proceeded to work around a one-out walk in the second, and then in the third with Trea Turner on, got J.T. Realmuto to ground into an easy twin killing, Donaldson to Torres to Chaparro. In the fourth, Vásquez stranded a leadoff walk by easily retiring the next three Phillies. Outside of getting two on in the first, he kept Philly from getting anything going at the plate.

This might have been an important start for Vásquez. The Yankees added him to the 40-man roster this past off-season, and with the unbelievable rash of injuries to the starting rotation, it’s not beyond the pale to consider that he might have to do this for the Yankees when the games matter. Given that he’s yet to throw a single inning at Triple-A, he’s unlikely to be first in line. But he has to be pretty close among the Yankees’ in-house options.

When the dust settled after he got through the fourth, Vásquez’s final line read: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K, with nary a Philadelphia runner crossing the plate, and none really even getting close.

The Phillies finally got on the board in the sixth when Castellanos took Yankee reliever James Norwood, who replaced Vásquez in the fifth, deep for a solo shot. That’s all the damage Philly managed in the frame, however. Though Norwood walked Alec Bohm, manager Aaron Boone brought in Tyler Danish, who whiffed Brandon Marsh to put the inning to bed.

The Yankees didn’t score in the top of the seventh, but the inning was exciting, nonetheless. The Phillies broadcast team casually announced that Boone said the club would announce the starting shortstop tomorrow. And Yankees fans everywhere rejoiced, preparing to keep an eye on their push notifications tomorrow (if the rival announcers are to believed).

Philly kept chipping away in the seventh with another solo shot, this time off the bat of Dalton Guthrie. That cut the Yankee lead to 8-2. But once again, the Yankees escaped without letting the Phils put up a crooked number. The eighth played out in a similar fashion with Philadelphia scratching across another singular run. And that is where this one ended.

This was fun. Absolutely would watch more games like this. The Yankees are back at it tomorrow against the Blue Jays. Jhony Brito, who may have the inside track to replace Severino, gets the ball. First pitch from George M. Steinbrenner Field will be at 1:05 pm Eastern.

Box Score