Here are the Yankees we saw in the preseason. In the Yankee Stadium home opener on Monday night we saw the team absolutely dominate on both sides of the ball. It was refreshing to say the least.
Overall, the offense scored 8 runs on 10 hits, going 3-11 with RISP. Half of the runs came as a result of the three home runs the team hit. Aaron Judge launched the first one, a solo shot, in the fourth inning, his second in as many games. Looks like he’s starting to get hot at the plate. Chase Headley hit a solo shot as well in the seventh, and Starlin Castro followed in the eighth with a 2-run bomb.
Other RBIs came from Jacoby Ellsbury (who returned to the #2 spot in the lineup), Matt Hollidau, Chris Carter (who is very slowly beginning to contribute to the team offensively), and Ronald Torreyes, with his team leading 8TH RBI of the season. While Didi Gregorious continues to be sidelined by this shoulder strain, Torreyes has been filling in really nicely offensively and defensively. A pleasant surprise.
The big performer of the game was starter Michael Pineda though. Big Mike was absolutely dominant in his second start against the Rays. After last week’s start in Tampa, Pineda needed to bounce back in a big way, and he did just that. He was perfect through 6 IP, and striking out hitters left and right. He finished the day with 7.2 IP, allowing 1 R on 2 H while striking out 11 and walking 0. Honestly, these are the types of games that have secured Pineda’s place in the rotation these past few seasons. Obviously it’s great to see him pitch well, but until he can string these performances together on a regular basis, it’s hardly encouraging. So, enjoy it while it lasts, which may only be until the next start.
One more thing of note: Yankees catcher and recent call-up Kyle Higashioka finally saw big league game action Monday afternoon as a defensive substitution late in the game, and it was a long time coming for the guy. After having spent parts of 10 seasons with the club at various minor league levels, Higashioka matched the record for the longest gap from draft to debut in franchise history. Good for Kyle. He’s always been seen as a defense-first catcher, but last season something clicked and we saw the bat come to life. He may not have much of a future with the team with Gary Sanchez ahead of him, but it’s great to see a guy who has been with the team for so long finally make his debut. Heartwarming stuff.
The Yankees take on the Rays again today at 1:05 p.m. EST, with Luis Severino squaring off against Blake Snell.