Thank you for salvaging this game for me, Mark. - US PRESSWIRE
Insert image of dumpster fire here.
By default, most Spring Training games are forgettable. If you actually sat through this afternoon's dumpster fire, you have a little extra reason to erase any and all memory of the events that transpired from your mind for sanity's sake. The Yankee offense actually tried to make an improbable comeback in the ninth inning that ultimately came up just short with the winning run at the plate, but even that valiant effort cannot undo what had been seen for the other eight innings. What follows is a painful version of those horrors.
Nik Turley was terrible, awful, no-good, and very bad. You have to figure that nerves play a big part in the shakiness exhibited by some of these younger kids getting their first big league Spring Training action, but Turley was all over the place in a way that makes Dellin Betances nod understandingly. In the third of an inning that he managed to stay in the game, Turley allowed a walk, three hits, five runs (four earned), committed a throwing error, saw Nix commit another error, and somehow struck out Lew Ford. It was a mess. That would be bad enough, but it got worse. Oh, yes, it did.
After Turley was taken off the mound (probably to never be seen again), Cody Eppley followed with two strikeouts to mercifully end the inning from hell. Unfortunately, when presented with a chance to pitch the next inning, Eppley walked a batter and gave up two hits, allowing two more runs. But we weren't done there, my friends. Josh Spence would come on later and allow three runs on three hits and one walk. Sprinkled among the carnage would be three additional Yankee errors before all was said and done. This game was truly a thing to behold.
Matt Daley, Francisco Rondon, Tom Kahnle, Preston Claiborne, and Ryan Pope (who somehow still exists on this team) all managed to come in and be non-disasters. In this game, that alone is quite an accomplishment. Mark Montgomery also made his Spring Training debut! He walked the first batter, but allowed no further damage to occur because he's kind like that. Montgomery probably isn't as sharp as he can be after missing time with a back issue, but his breaking pitches were still impressive. His inning was really the only time I felt comfortable uncovering my eyes with a Yankee pitcher on the mound all afternoon.
Until the last frame, the only real scoring had come from a Brett Gardner bases-clearing, three-run triple into the gap. Gardner has started the spring off pretty strong after missing nearly all of last season with an elbow injury. Already being down Granderson, the Yankees really need him to hit and he's done that so far. Curtis Granderson's spot being open hasn't been lost on Zoilo Almonte, who singled to continue his second consecutive impressive Spring Training. Of all the options available for left field, he might be the most exciting and it's hard to not want him to be given a shot. Unless of course Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz do it for you, and in that case, you probably have bigger problems than we can help you with here.
In the catcher Battle Royale, Chris Stewart launched a ball (that he threw) into centerfield and chipped in a second inning RBI single, while Francisco Cervelli threw out a runner and managed a single of his own. These two are going to be on the roster for Opening Day, it's just a matter of who will start and who will be the backup. Get excited for it. Dan Johnson showed some impressive patience at the plate with two walks, including one against prospect extraordinaire Dylan Bundy. He'd also like a roster spot, thank you very much. Jayson Nix had an afternoon we'd all like to forget with a double play and two strikeouts to go with his throwing error in the field. That's not the way to stay out of Triple-A, Jayson.
The Baby Bombers not named Turley in today's game did some nice things to make up for all of the awfulness that was present from start to finish. Slade Heathcott who got the start in the outfield singled and made a few nice defensive plays in center. The Yankees seem to be trying Corban Joseph at third base to see what he can do and the growing pains have been there at times. Today was not much different; CoJo committed a throwing error that rocketed into the seats down the line, but he followed that up with a nice throw from deep at third that got the runner by an eyelash. If Robinson Cano stays next season, CoJo's best chance with the Yankees will probably be at the hot corner, so it's a good thing they are at least giving him a chance to try.
Also on the prospect front: Walter Ibarra, Jose Pirela, Tyler Austin, and Kyle Roller all singled. Roller drove in two runs in the ninth inning with his hit and Austin walked to keep the inning alive for Adonis Garcia, who represented the winning run. Ramon Flores and Kyle Higashioka worked walks. Patience out of the kids is always a welcome thing.
I cannot believe I just wrote 900 words about this game. If you missed it, I endured watching it and writing this to spare you. You're welcome. Let's never speak of it again.