Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Spring Opener Game Wrap
2007-03-01 15:41
by Cliff Corcoran

Using my standard spring format, which I hope to apply to all of the Yankees spring training games this March, here's the recap of today's opener. Check out the previous post for the liveblog blow-by-blow.


L - Johnny Damon (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Jason Giambi (DH)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Hideki Matsui (LF)
S - Jorge Posada (C)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
S - Melky Cabrera (RF)
L - Doug Mientkiewicz (1B)

(according to Jim Baumbach, class clown Johnny Damon looked at the lineup and cracked "are we even trying?")

Pitchers: Chien-Ming Wang, Phil Hughes, T.J. Beam, Ross Ohlendorf, Luis Vizcaino, Mike Myers, Jose Veras

Subs: Josh Phelps (1B), Miguel Cairo (2B), Alberto Gonzalez (SS), Marcos Vechionacci (3B), Raul Chavez (C), Kevin Thompson (RF), Brett Gardner (CF), Kevin Reese (LF), Jose Tabata (PR/DH)

Opposition: The reigning AL Central Champions B-squad, just two notable hitters (Morneau, Cuddyer), and no quality major league pitchers.

Big Hits: Homers by Giambi (a two-run shot, 1 for 1, 2 BB) and Damon (leading off the game, 1 for 3, K), a bases-loaded RBI single by Posada (1 for 1, BB)

Who Pitched Well: Wang retired all six batters he faced, five on ground balls, and needed just 19 pitches to do it. Only ten of those pitches were strikes, however, and both he and Posada said after the game that he was wild up in the zone. He gets better? Ohlendorf looked sharp in his two innings, pitching around a pair of singles, one a well-placed grounder, the other a blooped jam shot over second. Four of Ohlendorf's six outs came on the ground and one was an infield popup. Joe Torre enthusiastically described him as "real polished" after the game. Vizcaino, Myers, and Veras also looked good against the Twins' subs.

Who Didn't: Golden Boy Phil Hughes was anxious, overstriding by his own admission, and likely overthrowing. His laser-guided control deserted him and his lethal curve either hung or missed wildly. He used up his 33 pitches in 1 1/3 innings walking two, allowing a double to Michael Cuddyer, and throwing a wild pitch that moved Cuddyer to third, from which he scored after Hughes' departure. Hughes did get the reigning AL MVP to take a perfectly placed strike three to end his outing. Hardly a disaster by any stretch, but a disappointment given both the hype and what I've seen of Hughes with my own eyes in the past. T.J. Beam allowed that one run to score in the process of allowing as many baserunners as outs recorded.

Ouchies: Carl Pavano had a successful bullpen, reported no problems with his bruised foot, and will make his scheduled start on Sunday. Raul Chavez, all the way back from his broken hand, played half of the game behind the plate. He and Giambi, who had off-season wrist surjery, appear to be 100 percent.

Battles: Hughes made a case for starting the year in triple-A by showing some butterflies on the mound. Ohlendorf has injected himself into the emergency-starter picture along with Rasner and Karstens. Chavez was the only backup catcher to see action and went 1 for 3 with a single and a K. In the field he showed off his arm by throwing behind Twins' lead-off man Denard Span and almost picking him off. Josh Phelps walked in his only at-bat and got the job done in the field. Andy Phillips, meanwhile, has left the team to be with his mother who was in a serious car accident. Last year Phillips' wife was undergoing chemotherapy during spring training. His wife is doing well. Here's hoping we can soon say the same about his mother.

2007-03-01 17:16:37
1.   Start Spreading the News
Tomorrow's headline of Murray Chass' column: Yanks win but still trail Detroit: a story of how small ball wins everytime.
2007-03-01 17:24:12
2.   Zack
Poor Andy, wishing your mother the best and a speedy recovery!

Good to see the Wanger picking up right where he left off: rediculusly ridiculously low pich counts and gb:fb ratios...

2007-03-01 18:13:34
3.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Jim Dean disapproves of Ross's outing.
2007-03-01 18:42:42
4.   Knuckles
Knuckles/Bronx Comix is off to Tampa- lots more insight/panels when I get back!
2007-03-01 19:10:59
5.   Jim Dean
3 Actually I'm rooting for the Dorfman and glad he showed promise.
2007-03-01 19:54:59
6.   markp
I liked what I saw from Ohlendorf. His minor league numbers are interesting-his WHIP went way down when he moved up to AA/AAA, but his K/9 did as well. I think a lot of the former is because he stopped walking guys. It's a good combination: a big guy with a low to mid 90s heater and a good sinker.
2007-03-01 21:00:47
7.   rilkefan
0 "Hughes made a case for starting the year in triple-A by showing some butterflies on the mound."

Seems kinda harsh if serious. Your coverage had a couple of his pitches just out...

2007-03-01 22:08:19
8.   Cliff Corcoran
7 Indeed, but I've seen Hughes pitch before, and he didn't look anything like himself today. Certainly it's absurd to judge a young pitcher on his first spring training outing and a mere 33 pitches, but the fact that he was obviously anxious supports the Yankees impulse to start him in Scranton. That said, I'm purposely making a snap judgement based on a single outing, that's kinda the point of at portion of the game wrap, to answer the question "what did they do today to impact their standing." Today, Hughes looked like a nervous minor leaguer.
2007-03-01 22:18:04
9.   mikeplugh
1 I thought Chass would go with something like:

Ye Olde Spring Training Recap


Damon's the Cat's Meow, but Hughes was for the Birds, Dagnabbit.

2007-03-02 00:43:47
10.   Chyll Will
8,9 zzzzz... Better now than in September or October, right guys? Hell, Mickey had it like that when he wore #6. I'm cool with butterflies, as long as their Monarchs; they're the best kind. zzzzz...
2007-03-02 04:45:09
11.   rbj
I'm less worried about Phil's first game of spring training nervousness and much happier with all the worms Chien-Ming killed. He's definitely on the opening day roster, more important for him to look good.

Ah, baseball.

2007-03-02 05:15:15
12.   Sliced Bread
Yo, AB and CC, great blogging!

Between Alex taking us to Zabar's, and Cliff taking us out to the ballgame, yesterday was a shining example of why this Yanks blog rules.

Terrific work, gentlemen.

4 Have fun in Tampa, Knuckles.

My wife rolled her eyes and sighed when I flipped to the "encore presentation" of the exhibition opener last night. She's not ready for baseball, and won't be until about Memorial Day.

Yeah, Ace of the Future was clearly off his game, but even if he looked like Santana I'd advocate starting his season in Scranton.

Dorf throws a heavy ball fer sher.

Keep an eye on Veras. It was a good junk time performance, but I can see him eventually working his way into the mix.

I have to adjust my attitude about Myers and Minky because they're probably here to stay, but damn, Doug Out looked inept at the plate. He appeared bound and determined to strike out before he reluctantly walked. I seriously believe we have relief pitchers who would take an at-bat with more verve.

2007-03-02 06:52:59
13.   nemecizer
Last night I walked into my favorite bar for dinner after a 16 hour day and was able to say to my buddy the bartender (with whom I went to Spring training last year) the following words:

"Didja see, the Yankees won today".

I know it's the Grapefruit league, and doesn't count.

I know it's Spring training and both teams' players are rusty.

I know even non-roster invitees play in these games.

But man, did it feel good to say that after 21 weeks of off season :)

Play ball!

2007-03-02 07:37:42
14.   JL25and3
Honestly, I'm just as glad to see Hughes get touched up a little bit. He really should start the season in Scranton-Wilkes Barre, and if he makes it an easy decision for Torre, so much the better.

Meanwhile, I predict that within a week, Joe will describe Ohlendorf as having electric stuff or a bellyful of guts.

2007-03-02 08:21:06
15.   wsporter
14 Which I suppose is better than being described as having "electric guts or a bellyful of stuff".

So glad we can finally get back to talking about the games again.

2007-03-02 08:26:43
16.   pistolpete
15 What about a belly full of electric guts?
2007-03-02 08:46:19
17.   Shaun P
Anyone know who the pitchers scheduled to play today are?

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