Yankees Recap: Michael Pineda Sharp in Spring Debut


The New York Yankees just wrapped up their seventh Spring Training game with a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, and perhaps the most important piece of their starting rotation was on display for the first time this spring. Mr. Michael Pineda.

With all eyes on the right pitching shoulder of Pineda, he started the game off with some heat, sitting in the low-to-mid 90s. Encouragingly, Pineda was able to get Rays leadoff hitter Nick Franklin to strike out swinging on three straight pitches. He gave up a base-hit single to their two hitter Desmond Jennings, but later regrouped, getting James Loney to fly out on a nice running grab by Brett Gardner along the foul-line and getting Evan Longoria to strike out swinging to end the inning.

In his second and final inning of work, Pineda pitched a 1-2-3 inning, retiring three consecutive hitters on weak grounders, one to short and the other two to second base.

Final line, two innings pitched, two strikeouts, no walks, one hit and 25 pitches, 17 of which were strikes.

The Yankees struck first with with two runs in the bottom of the second inning thanks to the help of a line-drive Alex Rodriguez RBI that scored Brian McCann and an RBI groundout from Didi Gregorius that scored Chase Headley.

Nathan Eovaldi took over for Michael Pineda in the third inning and kept the ball rolling, pitching a 1-2-3 inning that was highlighted by a Mikie Mahtook swinging strikeout. Eovaldi recorded a pair of strikeouts in both the fourth and fifth innings, pushing his total to five K’s on the day, and keeping the Yankees lead in pact.

David Carpenter was called upon in the sixth-inning to preserve the Yankees lead. The right-hander started things off with a three pitch strikeout to Nick Franklin and a ground out to Taylor Motter. Capenter walked the next batter on four consecutive pitches, and followed that up with a wild-pitch that allowed the base-runner to advance to second base. Alas, Carpenter was able to settle down, and get Eugenio Valez to line out to center-fielder Slade Heathcott to close things out in the top half of the inning.

Girardi handed the ball off to the southpaw Justin Wilson to start things off in the top of the seventh, and he did just that, retiring three of the four batters he faced, only yielding one base hit.

The Yankees would add to their lead in the bottom half of the inning of an RBI single from Heathcott that plated Rob Refsnyder and a Greg Bird RBI double that brought Heathcott home right after.

Diego Moreno replaced Wilson in the eighth inning, and this is where things became interesting. Moreno gave up back to back walks to start off the inning. He later gave up an RBI groundout and consecutive two-out RBIs that cut the Yankees lead to 4-3. Fortunately he was able to settle down and retire Corey Brown on a strikeout to end the inning and put an end to the Rays offensive spark.

Yonkers, NY. native C.J. Riefenhauser came on to pitch for the Rays in the bottom of the eighth and retired the Yankees in consecutive order, but the Yankees were able to preserve their lead in the top of the ninth with a Chris Martin save. Martin retired the last two batters he faced on strikeouts.

All in all, today was a big positive for Michael Pineda’s and Nathan Eovaldi‘s ability to control their pitches while maintaining a steady velocity. The Yankees will play again tomorrow at 1:05pm v. the Baltimore Orioles.

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