Considering the injury news that broke earlier today, perhaps the biggest W from today’s game is that the Yankees seemingly escaped without adding any more names to the list of those headed to the infirmary. It’s always unfortunate to lose to Boston, but there were still some positives from today, namely Clarke Schmidt’s start, the infield defense on display from the Yankees’ top prospects, and The Martian’s prodigious power.
Schmidt, someone who in light of the rash of injuries to the pitching staff figures to play a prominent role for the Yankees early in 2023, took the ball and barely broke a sweat in the top of the first. After allowing a one-out single*, Schmidt induced a groundball to short, perfect for turning the easy double play: Peraza to Volpe to Rizzo. Beautiful.
*As an aside, ye gods it feels good to see groundballs up the middle end up base hits as they did for baseball’s first century-plus.
The second inning started the same way, with Schmidt surrendering a one-out base hit. Unfortunately, there was no inning-ending double play in store. Instead, Narciso Crook took Schmidt for a ride to the right-field wall, putting the Red Sox up early, 2-0. The ball only traveled 327 feet, but when you live by the short porch, you die by the short porch. Schmidt recovered, and ended up striking out the side. He came back out for the third inning and, thanks to another double play started by Volpe and Peraza, made quick work of Boston.
For the Yankees, the face of the franchise does not take at-bats off, even in the spring. In Judgian fashion, the Captain worked the count full in the first inning, fouled off several two-strike pitches, and ultimately took the walk on Nick Pivetta’s 11th pitch of the at-bat. Sadly, his hard work didn’t result in runs. After Anthony Rizzo singled him to third, Giancarlo Stanton grounded into the twin killing to end the frame.
The Yankees used old-fashioned small ball to get on the board in the bottom of the second. After Josh Donaldson worked a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch, he moved to third on a groundout to the right side. Oswald Peraza struck out, failing to bring the runner in from third with less than two outs. After Rafael Ortega walked and stole second base, Platinum Glove backstop Jose Trevino brought both runners in, tying the contest.
Judge continued to be a thorn in Pivetta’s side. Leading off the third, the reigning MVP got ahead in the count and drove a single to left field. That marked the end of Judge’s day, as the Yankees sent wunderkind Jasson Domínguez into the game to pinch-run.
Jimmy Cordero — an intriguing bullpen candidate — came in to pitch for the Yankees in the fourth, marking the end of Schmidt’s day, which featured three innings of four-hit, two-run ball with three strikeouts. I’m not sure that line captures how well Schmidt pitched, though. After giving up the short porch dinger, he buckled down to strike out the remaining batters that inning, limiting the damage. Moreover, with runners on, he made the pitches he needed to, getting Red Sox hitters to ground into two double plays. All told, it was really a fine outing for Schmidt, particularly since exhibition play doesn’t demand perfection.
After showing off his glove in the first few innings, Peraza displayed the bat in the bottom of the fourth. After just missing a solo shot to left field after it drifted foul, Peraza ripped a double, with the ball leaving his bat at 104.9-mph. Thanks to a wild pitch, Peraza managed to move to third then score, giving the Yankees the 3-2 lead.
Ron Marinaccio, fresh off an outstanding 2022 campaign, came in to get some work, and he picked up where he left off last year. Marinaccio matched Cordero’s effort in the fourth by retiring the side in order in the fifth, punctuated by strikeouts of Crook with the fastball, and David Hamilton with the patented changeup.
Domínguez got his first plate appearance in the fifth and walked with one out. With Andres Chaparro at the dish, Domínguez broke for second with what looked like an exceptional jump and would have swiped the bag easily, except the pitch brushed Chaparro, negating the stolen base.
The game came off the rails beginning in the sixth, with non-roster invitee Tyler Danish pitching for the Yankees. Three Boston dingers scored six runs and gave the Beantown squad a 8-3 lead. It’s not what you want, although if ever there’s a time to give up a crooked number to Boston, March 9th seems ideal (with a guy who almost certainly won’t make the team). From there, Boston tacked more insurance runs, putting this one out of reach.
All was not lost, however. Domínguez got one last at-bat, with two out in the ninth and two runners on. And boy howdy... The Martian is having himself one heck of a spring.
Chaparro followed that bomb with a solo shot of his own, making the final score much closer than it was heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Blah. It’s never fun losing to Boston. Oh well. The Yankees are back at it tomorrow against the Tigers. It’ll be Sevy Bump Day, with first pitch at 1:05pm EST.