The Yankees headed to Fenway South to face the Red Sox for the second time this week. Looking to go 2-0 against their ancient enemies this spring. The Sox sent out their everyday starters to face the Yankees B-team lineup. Clay Buchholz took the mound against the Bombers and David Phelps made the start for New York. The season looks to be a dog fight in the American League East and tonight provided a good amount of excitement.
Before the game, Yankees infielder Brendan Ryan was scratched from the lineup with upper back spasms. Ryan was supposed to make his return after being out since March 4th with lower lumbar problems. Dean Anna replaced him at shortstop and Ryan says that he is unsure if he’ll be ready for Opening Day in Houston. The Yankees are reporting that the two injuries are unrelated but there is concern for their backup infielder. Also, Jacoby Ellsbury was once again absent from a game against his former team the Red Sox. However, Ellsbury, who has been nursing a sore right calf, received some positive news today. After undergoing a precautionary MRI on his calf, the results came back negative and showed no damage. Ellsbury could return to live games this weekend and is still 100 percent expected to play Opening Day.
In the first inning. both sides failed to scratch a run across despite each team collecting a base hit. But the Yankees struck first when Francisco Cervelli led off the second inning by continuing his fantastic spring and launching a home run over the left field wall. It was Cervelli’s fourth home run and 7th RBI of the spring. He put the Yankees up 1-0 but the scoring stopped there. In the bottom of the second, David Phelps did some wowing of his own when he started the frame by striking out Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava on six straight called strikes before getting shortstop Xander Bogaerts to ground out to Dean Anna to end the inning. Pitching shined in the third and fourth innings when both Buchholz and Phelps did not allow a base runner.
In the fifth inning Buchholz looked very much in control. After getting Scott Sizemore to fly out to right field and Yangervis Solarte to ground to first base, he had retired 11 straight batters since giving up the homer to Cervelli. But then Zoilo Almonte walked and Zelous Wheeler doubled to put men on 2nd and 3rd with two outs and Ichiro Suzuki at the plate. Ichiro, who has been hitting very well of late, promptly hit a single through the hole between second baseman Dustin Pedroia and first baseman Mike Napoli for a single into right field. Both Almonte and Wheeler scored and the Yankees went up 3-0 before Eduardo Nunez grounded back to Buchholz to end the inning. Phelps kept the Red Sox scoreless again in the fifth
After Chris Capuano replaced Buchholz in the 6th he blanked the Yankees and Phelps took the mound in the 6th. With two outs and men at second and third, Dustin Pedroia lined a double into center field scoring runners Carlos Rivero and Grady Sizemore to cut the lead to one with the Yankees up 3-2. From there it was all pitching as Chris Capuano pitched three no-hit innings and kept the Yankees from scoring. Chris Leroux replaced Phelps in the 7th and pitched 1.1 perfect innings before being replaced by bullpen hopeful, Fred Lewis with one out in the 8th. Lewis allowed one hit but kept the Sox from scoring after striking out Mookie Betts to end the inning. After failing to add some padding to the lead in the top of the 9th, the Yankees sent out Matt Daley to try and nail down the win. Daley, who has already made a very strong case to make the big league bullpen, retired the Red Sox in order on three ground outs for his first save of spring training.
The Yankees are now 13-9 in Grapefruit League play and despite some injury bumps today they should be very happy with today’s game. Phelps pitched great and made it even tougher for Joe Girardi to choose his 5th starter. Matt Daley and Fred Lewis continued to make their case for the Yankees bullpen. Best of all they are now 2-0 against their arch rivals, the Red Sox.