Quick post tonight, having chin-wagged about the game over at Mike’s Sommer Frieze and watched a couple consecutive hours of baseball for the first time in some time. Burnett was excellent and very sharp before tiring a bit in the sixth, but Edwar got the final out in the sixth, Brett the Jet manufactured a run based on his great speed, and Austin Jackson hit a grand slam in the six-run eighth to salt it for the Yanks, 7-1. I love that he was mad at himself for coming out with the bases loaded with two outs in the sixth. He was already over the 70-75 pitch count for the night, he was terrific all night with very good location, velocity, and sharp breaking pitches. And the guy was mad, swearing at himself as he walked to the dugout. I love that. Burnett has really pleased me this Spring. 200+ innings out of this guy will be of enormous help for the Yanks.
Brett the Jet hit a triple that went off a diving Ellsbury’s glove. Simply put: any ball off Brett the Jet’s bat not cleanly fielded risks extra bases, period. JD’s slow roller to first scored Gardner to tie the game. A better throw probably would have had Gardner at the plate, but again, Gardner’s speed just pressured the defense into having to make the play. Gardner’s speed drastically reduces the margin for error for the opponent’s defense. As we discussed at The Frieze, there really should be no way Gardner isn’t the CF. He’s been terrific this Spring, and he can do things that no other Yankee–not even JD who can still run–can do. As Pete Abraham put it tonight:
Brett Gardner triples to lead off the bottom of the sixth. The ball flicked off the glove of the diving Ellsbury in center and Gardner raced to third base, diving in ahead of the throw. The Little G then scored on a grounder to first.
Does that sequence get him the job? No other Yankee scores that run.
Counting the Team USA game, Gardner is 21 of 47 this spring with eight extra-base hits. How does he not get the job?
I couldn’t agree more. His whole body of work this Spring has won him the job, but that play tonight should be the icing on the cake. Gardner should be the CF, hands down.
Mariano had a good seventh, striking out two and throwing 88-92. His velocity should come back and, even though he wasn’t throwing as hard as he has thus far, the movement on his cutter was sharp and deceptive. Posada threw out Ellsbury trying to steal, with Jeter making a great play to snare the throw on the other side of the bag and tag Ellsbury on the head. Strong throw but off, but still got the job done, and Posada looks good playing defense. That’s a great sign for the Yanks, who desperately need Jorge to be healthy.
Austin Jackson positively creamed a grand slam to make it 7-1 and seal the deal. He swung at and missed two Devern Hansack fastballs during the at-bat, but smashed a 3-2 fastball down and in way over the left field foul pole and into the lake. The kid then got a kind word from none other than Reggie Jackson in the dugout. That’s what the Yanks have to offer–history and pedigree to the up-and-coming players. What other team can invite such Hall of Fame players as Yogi and Reggie to come into camp, and tutor and mentor players? None. The Yankees’ great and storied history envelopes the team; that can’t be lost on players such as Jackson.
I’ll do my best to arrange an HDLR in the next few days.