The on-going story of the week was the continued dominance of the starting rotation of the Yankees, including the two candidates who are battling it out for the fifth and final spot in the rotation: Michael Pineda and David Phelps.
On Sunday, March 16th, Masahiro Tanaka threw 74 pitches in 4 1/3 innings as the Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves 7-4. While he had excellent command of all of his pitches, the splitter seemed to leave hitters totally baffled. Tanaka’s ability to make batters look foolish conjures up memories of Ron Guidry. Tanaka struck out six, allowing three hits and one run. Jacoby Ellsbury was scratched and listed as day-to-day.
After Monday´s game with the Pittsburg Pirates was cancelled, the Yankees routed the Red Sox 8-1 on Tuesday behind Michael Pineda. Pineda shut out the Sox for 4 1/3 innings while striking out five and scattering four hits. Most impressively, he did not walk a batter. Alfonso Soriano smashed a three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth as he sets his sites on the designated hitter role.
On Wednesday, It was Ivan Nova’s turn to stake his claim to a spot in the rotation. Nova pitched 6 1/3 as the Yankees shut out the Braves 7-0. He gave up only two hits while striking out five. Carlos Beltran led the Yanks’ offense with three hits and two RBI. Adonis Garcia also contributed two RBI as he raised his spring batting average to .423.
Thursday saw David Phelps, the long shot for a rotation spot, carry the Yankees to a 3-2 win for their second victory over the Red Sox of the week. Phelps surrendered two runs on four hits with three strike outs. Francisco Cervelli put the Yanks on top with a solo homer in the second inning. Ichiro Suzuki contributed two RBI.
Perhaps the best news of the week was the continued success of C.C. Sabathia. Sabathia pitched seven strong innings as the Yanks blanked the Pirates 4-0 on Friday. He struck out seven and gave up only four hits. Yankees’ fans gasped as Derek Jeter fouled two pitches off of his ankle. Jeter continued his hitting woes this spring by going 0-for-3.
It was a good week for the Yankees as the start of the regular season approaches.