Yankees 2, Phillies 2
Joe Girardi and Didi Gregorius returned to Yankee Stadium as the the New York Yankees tied the Philadelphia Phillies Monday night. It was the final exhibition game for the Yankees before heading south to take on the Washington Nationals Thursday on Opening Day.
The game lived up to the billing of an exhibition, as each team maximized live-game experience before the start of the season. The game ended in a 2-2 tie while the Phillies batted ten players in their starting lineup and Aaron Judge homered following the third out of an inning. After scoring 15 runs in two games against the New York Mets, the Yankees bats went cold Monday night although the team played well enough to not lose the game.
The Yankees rolled out a lot of their supposed regulars in this game. Manager Aaron Boone addressed the media about the lineup construction.
“There’s a good chance that that’s what you could see, absolutely,” said Boone. “We’ll see if DJ’s ready, but there’s a good chance that’s what you can see Opening Day.”
The Yankees hit a barrage of home runs on Sunday night, and the home run theme continued on Monday. Both runs came on solo home runs. Judge hit the first in the fifth inning…sort of.
Vince Velasquez pitched well against the Yankees, finishing the fifth inning a few pitches shy of the limit the team imposed for him. Rather than have him sit down and get back up, Girardi asked to have Velasquez face Judge for his last batter despite the fact that the third out of the inning was already recorded. Judge proceeded to send the ball over the right-centerfield wall for his third home run in two nights.
Judge’s odd home run was the only blemish on Velasquez’s record for the outing. The Yankees managed to put six men on base against him, but none scored, aside from the home run. Between the second and fifth innings, he retired nine Yankees in a row, making for a quiet night offensively.
Although the stadium was empty, the team did not need fan motivation to mount a comeback. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mike Ford hit a pinch-hit, game-tying home run.
In 2019, Ford recorded 11 pinch hit at bats, the most by a Yankee since 2014. He saw great success in that sample, with one double, two home runs, and three RBI. Monday’s blast shows signs that that success was no fluke.
“I think some people miss…on how good of an offensive player he is,” said Boone. “He controls the zone as well as you can and has power. He’s a really good hitter, and I think a really good middle of the order major league hitter.”
Deivi Garcia started the game for the Yankees, but he struggled to find the strike zone early. He recorded five outs total, and he needed 33 pitches to get through the first inning. He allowed two runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. He addressed the media about his performance.
“I definitely struggled tonight,” said Garcia. “I wanted to be more aggressive, and that is the mindset I had…and today I struggled with that. You learn from every outing and tonight is going to be one of those.”
Garcia struggled to put the Phillies away, allowing both runs with two outs. In the first inning, specifically, he gave up back-to-back doubles, including one to Gregorius, and back-to-back walks after retiring the first two batters of the game. Despite his struggles, all four pitchers out of the bullpen were able to keep the Phillies off the board.
Summer Camp was filled with a lot of positives for the Yankees. Now, they take the momentum from those positives with them as they begin their march through one of the most unique seasons in MLB history.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images