New York Yankees vs. New York Mets: Takeaways from Spring Training game


The New York Yankees and New York Mets geared up to face each other for one of the more interesting games of Spring Training. The Yankees did not bring all their projected regular season starters to the contest, but they did bring their infield (excluding catcher, Brian McCann) and starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia along for the trip to Port St. Lucie, Florida. For the Mets, they started most of their regulars along with their young ace, Matt Harvey, in front of a rowdy crowd of over 8,000. A Yankees vs. Mets matchup is always entertaining, no matter the month, and this one had a number of takeaways from both clubs.

For the Mets:

The game started and ended the Mets way. A 1-2-3 first inning from Harvey was just the start of his solid performance on the day. He was very efficient, having thrown 60 pitches (was scheduled to throw 75) in 5.2 innings while giving up two hits and striking out four. He was taken out to give Sean Gilmartin a chance for a lefty on lefty matchup.

Gilmartin is trying to make the team as the Mets lefty specialist, with Josh Edgin out for the season. Since he is a Rule 5 pick, that means the Mets will have to send him back to the Minnesota Twins if he does not make the team out of Spring Training. That alone gives him the upper hand to win the job, and his performance also helped.

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Over his 1.2 innings of work, Gilmartin gave up no runs to lower his Spring ERA to 7.11. He faced 5 batters, three of whom were lefties and two switch hitters. Those two switch hitters, Chase Headley and Mark Teixeira, gave him fits at the plate. Headley was able to draw a walk on a 3-2 count and Teixeira smacked a fastball to third base. Fortunately for Gilmartin, David Wright was able to make a diving stop to start a 5-4-3 inning ending double play. Overall, his performance against lefties was impressive, which is the most important thing.

Wilmer Flores, who has been performing well this Spring, ended up fouling a pitch off his ankle. After the game he was walking around in a boot, but X-rays revealed no fracture in his foot. He will be in a boot for a few more days, but this likely does not alter the starting shortstop role for the Mets. Had the injury been bigger, then Matt Reynolds and Danny Muno, who are getting looks to potentially fill in at second base if Daniel Murphy is not ready to start the season, would have had an even better opportunity to make the club out of Spring.

For the Yankees:

It was another start where Sabathia looked strong at times, but continued to struggle with location. In the first inning, Juan Lagares took his third pitch to center field over Jose Pirela’s head for a inside the park home run. Pirela, who smashed into the fence, would end up being taken out of the game at that point.

Later in the inning, with two outs, Lucas Duda came to bat. Sabathia threw two straight sliders to fall behind in the count, 2-0. On the next pitch, Duda was sitting dead red and took the inside fastball over the right field fence for the second home run in the inning. The next batter, Michael Cuddyer, also had a favorable 2-0 count but ended up striking out on a 2-2 fastball. After that, Sabathia would cut back on falling behind in the count.

In the next inning he collected back to back strikeouts against Flores and Travis d’Arnaud. In the third, he would strikeout Lagares and get Curtis Granderson to fly out in foul territory. The next batter, David Wright, was able to take a fastball to right field  for a home run on a 2-1 count. Duda would then pop out for the final out of Sabathia’s start.

It was just his second spring start, and in both outings the results were mixed. Like many pitchers, his best work came when he was able to hit his fastball for strike one.

The guy who had a worse day, however, was Pirela. After his collision with the wall, it would later be revealed that he suffered a concussion, likely ending his spring training and chance to make the team. The worst part about the play is that Pirela is not a center fielder. The Yankees were just playing him there to give him experience at multiple positions, in hopes of possibly turning him into a utility player.

What they should have been doing is having him compete with Stephen Drew for the starting second base job, which is his natural position. Pirela has hit over .300 in his last two seasons down in Triple A and his Spring Training batting average was .370. Drew, on the other hand, struggled mightily last season, and if Spring Training is any indication, it doesn’t appear as if he will be turning things around.

Next: What will the Yankees record be in 2015?

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