Today’s game was one long round of “who is that player?”
This is a typical spring activity, but one would think that with modern information technology things would get easier.
One would be wrong.
I started out this morning trying to print out the rosters from MLB.com which was all well and good, but what about the non-roster players? Those are the guys you need to know the most. So I went next to SpringTraining.com and printed out lists of the non-roster players, too. But I couldn’t help but notice the Phillies hadn’t assigned numbers to them by the time they went to press… so the list could be of limited usefulness.
Things started out easy enough, since both the Yankees and Phillies began with most of their regular starters. Missing from the Yankees were Jeter, A-Rod, and Granderson, who had all taken the bus trip to Bradenton to play the Pirates in a split squad. But the Phillies had a very similar lineup to what we say in the World Series last year: Rollins, Polanco, Utley, Howard, Ibanez, Werth, Francisco, Mayberry, Ruiz (aka Chooch).
Things started out not so easy for Javier Vazquez, whose last pitch in a Yankees uniform (according to the Twitter feed of Sweeny Murti of WFAN) was a grand slam to Johnny Damon, and whose first pitch back was… a home run to Jimmy Rollins.
But after that Vazquez looked good, throwing some off-speed stuff and striking out four of the next six batters he faced.
Meanwhile, I was trying to find out who the pitcher for he Phillies was, which was not in any of the tweets from press members I looked at, and the MLB.com “At Bat” Lite application for iPhone spent an entire inning trying to load game data and then I gave up. It looked like he was wearing #38, and according to the SpringTraining.com roster that would make him Kyle Kendrick. He was a skinny right-hander. (The reason we weren’t sure what his number was has nothing to do with technology and entirely to do with the fact that all the people I sit with have worse eyesight than mine, and mine is spotty through the screen.)
The Phillies changed pitchers in the fourth. No. 52. A dark-skinned guy. I checked the roster… there was no #52 listed. I went back to MLB.com’s “At Bat” app. “At Bat” now loaded and told me that currently pitching for the Phillies was… Kyle Kendrick. NOT HELPFUL.
Well, the Yankees shelled the mystery pitcher, getting two runs off him in his first inning of work, and then another four in the next one. The mystery was solved after he left the game and I went back to check “At Bat,” which was running a whole inning behind, and saw that it was Jose Contreras. Aha.
Meanwhile, on the Yankees side of the ledger, Jonathan Albaladejo looked a bit better that Saturday (when it would have been difficult to look worse, allowing 8 of 9 batters to reach, including a 3 run homer…). David Robertson looked good, letting a ground ball single go through and then a double play to erase the runner, but he had two strikes on Werth and could have ended a tidy inning if he’d retired him. Instead, Werth walked, and Robertson ended up leaving after facing three more batters, retiring none and giving up two runs. Amaury Sanit then came on and put out the fire by striking out Rollins, and then getting out of the next inning without allowing a run.
Still don’t know much about Sanit, but it’s clear the Yankees are intrigued by him and want to see what he can do.
Meanwhile, word came from Bradenton that Alfredo Aceves had pitched to 12 batters, retired them all, and struck out three. Nice. And the Yankees were up 3-0 there.
My scorecard is a bit of a mess, because there were various times when the PA announcer didn’t know how a player was, either, and announced the wrong one. Like at one point #94 came in to play second base and was announced as Eduardo Nunez. However, later that player hit a home run, and we’re pretty sure it was actually David Adams, not Nunez. (Just checked the box score… yep, Adams.) The only Yankee who played the whole game was Kevin Russo, whom we speculate was playing to impress his family. At the very least, two rows in front of us were a group of people who cheered really loud when he was announced before the game, and who went nuts when he doubled to lead off the big rally in the fifth… Definitely family, or family friends.
That was most of the excitement. Nick Swisher had a nice day at the plate, with a double to the wall in right center, and a ground rule double to the wall in left center. Super-hitting prospect Jesus Montero struck out looking, not much to say there. Marcus Thames is back with the Yankees… he finished the day with three strikeouts. Shrug. The Yankees got another run in the seventh, and the Phils added a John Mayberry solo shot, such that going into the top of the ninth it was 7-4 Yankees.
Normally that would be Mariano time, but this is spring training. We were forced to guess that #70, who had pitched the bottom of the eighth, was Zack Segovia.
Segovia got a little tight in the closing situation though, when Jimmy Parades, who had taken over third, made a blatant error to let the leadoff man on, and then with one out, Segovia let in back to back singles, scoring Kevin Nelson. That was enough for him, and so on came Kevin Whelan, who was at least printed on the roster. Whelan struck out Andy Tracy and then got a fly ball from Dominic Brown, which for half a second looked like it was going to put the Phillies on top… but no, it was hauled in for the final out. The game was over in a tidy 2 hours 46 minutes.
A shout-out to Dan McCourt of TakeHimDowntown. and one of the contributors to the YANKEES ANNUAL, who was at the game with some of our other pals from the Behind the Bombers bulletin board! (You guys! Email me the photo(s)! And enjoy the baseball and nice weather!)
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