Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wakefield Sharp in Final Red Sox/Yankees Spring Training Game

With less than two weeks to go until Opening Day at Fenway, the Red Sox visited Steinbrenner Field (once called Legends Field) last night in Tampa, Florida to play their last spring training game against the Yankees. The score was 7-1 in favor of the Yankees, but in a game that is more practice than important, the Sox showed some very good signs for the season ahead.

The most important thing to remember about spring training is that the games are essentially about player evaluation and not about the score at the end of the game. Pitchers try new pitches, managers try different roster orders, and players from the farm system get a chance to play alongside established stars to see if they might be ready for the big leagues. Everybody is just out to impress the manager.

Last night the Yankees put what might be their opening day roster at the plate. With A-Rod out due to surgery, Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Zavier Nady, Cody Ransom, and Brett Gardner were the lineup.
The Sox were more in spring training mode and only had regulars Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and David Ortiz in their starting lineup.

Longtime Boston hero Tim Wakefield limited the nearly regular season Yankees lineup to one earned run over 5 2/3 innings last night. That is awesome news (especially considering the fact that he’s maybe the 5th starter for us this year). The Yankees have been watching his knuckleball for almost a decade and a half now, but couldn’t hit it last night. It was quite enjoyable to watch Mark Teixeira whiff-out in his first at-bat against the Just For Men spokesman.

The Yankee’s AJ Burnett, one of their three big signings this offseason, threw 5 2/3 innings like Wakefield and gave up only one run as well. It was a good outing for him, BUT the Red Sox lineup he faced was made up mostly of reserve/minor league players. When Lowell, Bay, Pedroia, and yes, JD Drew are in there, it’ll be a different story.

The Good:

  • Wakefield’s 5 2/3 of 1 run ball.
  • Ramon Ramirez pitched 1 1/3 innings of no-hit ball.
  • Ortiz got an RBI.
  • Mark Teixeira went 0-3.

The Bad:

  • Manny Delcarmen and Davern Hansack worked for a combined inning and gave up 6 runs. Delcarmen only lasted one out, giving up three. Hansack wasn’t so hot either, he gave up a walk and a homer in 2/3 an inning.
  • Jorge Posada threw Jacoby Ellsbury out (even if the replay was a bit iffy) when he attempted to steal second.
  • 7-1 still hurts even if it’s spring training

Keep tuned to Now! Hampshire for a preview of the Red Sox season ahead.

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