Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Bird in the hand is worth two in the outfield bleachers…

Credit:  Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports

I always have to preface by saying that Spring Training wins mean absolutely nothing, but still, it’s fun to beat the Boston Red Sox regardless of the date on the calendar.  With two victories on Tuesday, thanks to split-squads, the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 5-4, and the Detroit Tigers, 9-5.

We beat the Tigers?  That’s nice.  We beat the Red Sox?  OH YEAH!  

The highlight of the Boston game in Fort Myers, FL was two home runs by Yankees first baseman Greg Bird.  He’s starting to shake off the rust from missing most of the 2016 due to injury.  There’s never been any question that Bird is a professional hitter.  He gave us a preview in late 2015 after he was called up.  Throughout his minor league career, he consistently received accolades for his hitting approach.  Listening to his post-game comments following the Boston victory, it’s clear the time off taught Bird more about patience which is an excellent trait for a major league hitter.  

It’s hard to miss a year without taking a step back.  That’s why it is so good to see Bird get his hits.  Patience and consistency will serve him well.

The Yankees will face the Red Sox one more time on March 21st at Steinbrenner Field.

In Tampa against the Tigers, Gary Sanchez went 2-for-3 and hit his first home run of the Spring.  Newcomer Chris Carter also added his first, a solo shot.  

Masahiro was the first of the top three (Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia) to start this spring, and he did not disappoint.  Pitching the first two innings, he did not give up any hits or runs, and struck out two.  

Back to the Boston game, it didn’t feature any of the Red Sox starters.  No Price, no Sale...Porcello was apparently too costly.  No Rodriguez or Pomeranz, I guess the time just was not Wright.  But I don’t care.  Beating Boston is ALWAYS enjoyable.  Boston has arguably the best team in the AL East right now.  The Yankees have had trouble with the back end of the rotation with guys like Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright.  There’s been some success against David Price, but Price is still one of the better starters in baseball.  The Red Sox will be very formidable this year.  I know, the games have to be played on the field, not on paper, and when they play, anything can happen.  If, if, if…the Red Sox finally get the slimmed down Pablo Sandoval that succeeded in San Francisco, heralded young outfielder Andrew Benintendi proves that he belongs in the major leagues, the veteran leadership fills the void left by Big Papi’s retirement including Hanley Ramirez’s bat at DH…the Red Sox will be very hard to beat.  So I’ll take my victories against them any way that I can get them.  A little now, more…much more…later.  Our time is coming.

If Greg Bird is capable of learning patience, so are we.  Patience will reward us as the Baby Bombers grow into their pinstripes.  

I thought it was funny to hear Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer say they plan to be judicious with the workload of new closer Wade Davis, given the heavy load the new Cubs closer has carried the last few years with the Kansas City Royals.  The Cubs didn’t seem too concerned about the workload they placed on closer Aroldis Chapman last fall.  As for the spat between Chapman and Cubs manager Joe Maddon, they’ve apparently talked and have mended fences.  I didn’t feel that Chapman was wrong to say the things he did about overuse (I felt the same way watching the World Series), but conversely, I did not blame Joe Maddon for trying, successfully, to win a World Series.  

The calendar page turns from February to March.  The season opener in Tampa against the Rays is right around the corner.  If March passes as quickly as February, April will be here before we know it.  To borrow (and slightly alter) a line from the legendary Blue Brothers, it’s 1,236 miles to Yankee Stadium, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark…and we’re wearing sunglasses.  Hit it!  


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