Sure it was Yanks v. Sox. Sure it was tied at 4-4 in the seventh. But it's still spring training. And I'm not saying that just because the Sox touched up a rattled Russ Ohlendorf to win 7-5.
L - Melky Cabrera (CF)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
L - Jason Giambi (DH)
L - Hideki Matsui (LF)
R - Todd Pratt (C)
R - Josh Phelps (1B)
L - Kevin Reese (RF)
R - Chris Basak (3B)
R - Alberto Gonzalez (SS)
Pitchers: Carl Pavano, Darrell Rasner, Colter Bean, Russ Ohlendorf
Subs: Juan Miranda (PR/1B), Angel Chavez (2B), Ben Davis (C), Miguel Cairo (RF), Kevin Thompson (CF), Jose Tabata (LF), Bronson Sardinha (DH)
Opposition: The Red Sox full Tim Wakefield lineup (that is, the eight regulars plus Doug Mirabelli).
Big Hits: Chris Basak (2 for 4) tripled leading off the second inning. He's hitting .444/.444/.778 this spring (8 for 18, double, triple, homer), is leading the Yankees in total bases (14), and made a great diving stab at third base last night, showing off his strong throwing arm. Ben Davis picked up his first spring hit in six at-bats with a ringing double to the gap in left. Hideki Matsui and Josh Phelps were both 2 for 4. Phelps drove in two runners in the process and leads the Yankees with 7 RBIs this spring.
Who Pitched Well: In a game in which no one was especially impressive, I'll list Carl Pavano here, in part because, now that he's successfully completed his second outing in an official spring game, I'm taking him of the 60-day DL on the sidebar. In three innings, Pavano allowed two runs on four hits and a walk, striking out two. Really, though, he looked pretty good in the first and third, and gave up both runs with two outs in the second. Not too bad for just his second start. Joe Torre repeatedly says that the results for Pavano don't matter; all that matters is his comfort and health. After a year and a half of inaction on Pavano's part, there's something to be said for that line of thinking, though if he's not getting more guys out come the end of March, that tune's going to change.
Who Didn't: Darrell Rasner didn't make it through his three innings before exceeding his pitch count, yielding a pair of runs on five hits, including a solo homer by J.D. Drew to dead center. Colter Bean let one of Rasner's runners score to tie the game for the Sox before getting his two outs. Both Bean and Russ Ohlendorf had almost too much motion on their pitches, both being very wild inside to righties. Ohlendorf even hit two batters. He gave up three runs on those two HBPs, a walk and a single in an ugly seventh inning, but recovered in the eighth to erase a lead-off walk with a double play and record a scoreless frame. One of the announcers on the YES broadcast mentioned that Joe Torre says that you can always tell when the cuts are coming because the young guys start to press. Indeed, the Yankees are expected to announce a good number of cuts tomorrow. One imagines most of them will be starting pitchers as the major league starters will be working five innings in their next turn through the rotation, thus eating up all of those tandem innings. That logic could be applied to the outings of Rasner, Ohlendorf, and Phil Hughes in the past couple of days, the latter two especially.
Oopsies: With Julio Lugo on first representing the tie-breaking run in the seventh, Russ Ohlendorf threw wild to first base allowing Lugo to move all the way to third. I think that throw might have prompted the "pressing" remark.
Ouchies: Bobby Abreu worked out in the outfield yesterday, taking fielding practice. He continues to swing at soft-toss. He'll be away from the team today, however, as he and Larry Bowa will be attending the funeral of longtime Phillies coach John Vukovich. Humberto Sanchez is said to be making progress, but will likely be optioned in today's cuts. Todd Pratt made his spring debut, catching four innings, but it looked like his heel was still bothering him when he ran. Then again, maybe that's just how a guy who looks like Patrick Warburton runs.
Battles: Josh Phelps drove in a pair of runs with a line-drive single in the first, picked up another hit to go 2 for 4, and looked good on defense. Andy Phillips collected a single and a double in nine at-bats against Andy Pettitte in a simulated game yesterday. He should see real game action today. Todd Pratt went 1 for 3, looked comfortable at the plate, and gave off veteran warm fuzzies in the field, framing pitches nicely, getting Pavano to pitch inside to the Red Sox big hitters, and counseling his pitcher on the bench. Darrell Rasner wasn't as sharp as he had been in his previous two appearances, but his aggregate spring line (2.45 ERA, no walks) still looks good.
Notes: The Yankees will keep Andy Pettitte and Carl Pavano on the same day barring further interruption of their schedules. One of the two will pitch in a minor league game when their turn comes due. Assuming that no one will be skipped for next Wednesday's off-day, their spot in the rotation synchs up with Opening Day, which suggests Pettitte will get that assignment. However, that off-day falls on Chien-Ming Wang's scheduled turn. If, rather than pushing everyone back a day, they use Pettitte/Pavano on regular rest on Thursday and leapfrog Wang to Friday, then Wang would be on schedule to start the opener. Either way, it looks like Mike Mussina is out of the running for the honor. Due to the off days on either side of Opening Day, everyone else will be pitching on odd rest in their first start of the season, so breaking up the Pettitte/Pavano tandem by holding one of them back for an extra day won't make much of a difference. My expectation is that the rotation will be Wang, Mussina, Pettitte, Pavano, Igawa to open the season. Though the Yankees don't need a fifth starter until the sixth game, so it could be Wang, Moose, Pettitte, Pavano, Wang, Igawa, Moose etc. Also, the order of the last two men, Pavano and Igawa, is supposedly dependent on their performances for the remainder of March, even though Pavano's is supposedly unimportant.
Incidentally, last night's game gave us a look at how the Red Sox lineup is likely to shake out to start the season. Removing Tim Wakefield's personal catcher from the equation, this is the lineup Terry Francona posted:
R - Julio Lugo (SS)
R - Kevin Youkilis (1B)
L - David Ortiz (DH)
R - Manny Ramirez (LF)
L - J.D. Drew (RF)
R - Mike Lowell (3B)
S - Coco Crisp (CF)
R - Dustin Pedroia (2B)
Jason Varitek will likely slot in before or after Lowell. Quick impressions: Dustin Pedroia is really pressing and could force the Sox to use Alex Cora far more than they want to; Coco Crisp looks like he's going to have a nice bounce back season from his injury-addled Red Sox debut last year.