Spring Training: Takeaways from the Yankees’ First Gameby Ben Fadden February 28, 2021 1 comment
The New York Yankees kicked off their Spring Training schedule with a seven-inning 6-4 loss versus the Toronto Blue Jays at George Steinbrenner Field on Sunday. If you missed the action, here are the main takeaways from the game.
Fans were in the stands for the Yankees’ spring opener, which was a sight for sore eyes after not having any fans in the stands for the entirety of the 2020 regular season. As for the play on the field?
Michael King‘s Rocky 2021 Spring Training Debut
King would have gotten two quick outs to start the first inning if it were a game that counted. Leadoff hitter Cavan Biggio flew out to left field and new Toronto second baseman Marcus Semien hit a lazy fly ball to shallow right. The ball hit off of Aaron Judge‘s glove because he did not want to collide with his teammate.
The former Miami Marlins 12th round draft selection then walked Bo Bichette and hit Vladimir Guerrero Jr.in the back to put two runners in scoring position. “I tried to really get that arm-side run on a couple [of pitches]. The one that hit Vladdy was a changeup and I really tried overthrowing it and pushed it right at him,” King recalled after his start. Rowdy Tellez gave Toronto an early two-run lead with a ground-rule double down the right field line.
In the second inning, King hit his second batter, Jonathan Davis, who stole second on catcher Robinson Chirinos. Davis easily scored on Cavan Biggio‘s long RBI double hit over Clint Frazier‘s head in left field to make it 3-0 Toronto.
King was bailed out of possibly his fourth earned run thanks to Gleyber Torres ranging to his left to make a great sliding play on a grounder up the middle to end the second inning.
The righty attributed some of his struggles to not sticking with his game plan.
“I wanted to really throw a lot of off-speed pitches because last year was predominantly fastballs… in that first inning, I threw more fastballs than I wanted to, so I talked to Chirinos a little bit more about mixing more in. In the second inning, I was able to get more ground balls and execute those off-speed pitches.”
The 25-year-old finished with a 42-pitch outing, giving up two walks and striking out a batter. Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and newcomer Jameson Taillon are scheduled to pitch in Monday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.
Yankee Stars’ First Action of Spring
DJ LeMahieu–New York’s biggest free agent acquisition (although he was on the team in 2020)–got his first hit of the spring. He singled up the middle to lead off the fourth inning before he was driven in by Luke Voit.
Aaron Judge went hitless, flying out to the warning track in center field in his second plate appearance.
Torres has shown up in much better shape than he was in at the start of 2020 Summer Camp. He got off to a solid start with a fourth inning double down the left field line in his final action of Sunday afternoon.
Homer-Happy 5th Inning
Rob Brantly and Mike Tauchman went deep back-to-back in the bottom of the fifth inning off of Jacob Waguespack. Brantly figures to be a depth piece in the minor leagues. Tauchman is battling for one of the bench spots on the 26-man roster with Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich. Each have the ability to play first base if need be. Tauchman is looking to rebound off a bad 2020 campaign where he hit just .242 and hit no home runs while finishing with more strikeouts than hits.
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