Yankees 1, Orioles 4: Gerrit Cole excels in final spring set-up

On Friday night, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was on the mound, but not on television. Oh, the whims of the Yankees broadcast partners. Fortunately, that was the last time we were robbed of the opportunity to see the team adjust for the regular season, as the remaining spring training games will be televised.

The first pitch was slightly overshadowed by the announcement shortly before the game that the Yankees were bidding Deivi Garcia to Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre, apparently indicating that Domingo Germán had won the fifth starting spot. This, of course, doesn’t mean the end of Garcia’s chances in the majors this season. After all, he’s likely to have a great chance to impress, as teams are sure to be wary of entry charges that increase from the short season. Back to the point at hand: this was an uneventful game, but there was still something to recap.

Cole was scheduled to go up to 90 pitches, and he looked good. Baltimore hitters had him work early with 17 pitches first, but he settled into a groove, allowing just two hits and no runs in 5.2 innings of work. Cole generated 12 puffs of his 86 pitches and struck out five batters. A slight concern is the fact that he delivered 10 batted balls classified as hit, but that has been Cole’s book. The verdict: He seems ready to start as Opening Day headline.

In Aaron Judge’s first at-bat, he burned a double rocket down the right-field line in a 1-0 half-half sinker. He moved to third on a Brett Gardner double, and could have scored with a Giancarlo Stanton helicopter down the left field line had it not been for an impressive glove and a shot from Rio Ruiz.

Cole got off to an unfavorable start for second, as Tyler Wade made fielding errors on consecutive plays. In fairness, both balls were hit hard, but both were plays that an MLB shortstop would be expected to make, especially a defensive specialist like Wade. However, Cole rescued his shortstop, inducing a pair of fly-outs sandwiched around a strikeout from Freddy Galvis.

In the bottom half of the frame, Mike Tauchman grounded out gaudy second baseman’s glove. Unfortunately, the Yankees’ next base runner wouldn’t make it until the fourth, when Gary Sanchez threw one just past the outstretched glove of the retiring second baseman:

Tauchman walked a runner to first and second, but the threat ended when Wade lined up.

Looking at the score on the chart, you might be inclined to think that this game was a comedy of errors. However, the official scorer seemed to have a personal vendetta against Wade and Yolmer Sanchez, as all four errors recorded by the pair could have reasonably been scored as hits.

Darren O’Day came in for the final of the sixth and made Maikel Franco look silly in a slider one foot from home plate.

Aroldis Chapman came in through the top of the seventh and quickly gave up a fly single to Rio Ruiz. Ramón Urías replaced him as a pinch-runner and went to second on a wild pitch straight that went over Sánchez’s glove. Urías rallied to score with Austin Hays’ humpback line to the left, ultimately scoring the first run of the game for both teams.

Freddy Galvis then doubled the left field line to put the runners on second and third with no outs. Hays scored on another wild pitch from Chapman, this a fastball that nearly hit Chance Sisco, and put the O’s in front, 2-0.

But wait, there’s more! Chapman completed the trifecta by throwing another wild pitch, this one a mile slider out of the zone for Yolmer Sanchez, scoring pinch runner Jordan Westburg from third.

Courtesy of Statcast

After not allowing any hits this spring, Chapman’s commando was absent all night as he consistently toppled the fastball and missed the zone with the slider on all three hits. He eventually struck out Sanchez before exiting the game in favor of Nick Goody, who got the last two outs to keep him at 3-0.

The Orioles extended their lead to 4-0 in the top of the ninth. Brooks Kriske allowed a double and a walk to Nick Ciuffo and Richie Martin respectively, but it looked like he could escape the self-inflicted jam by retiring the next two batters. However, Chris Shaw singled down the middle to score Ciuffo from second.

Like last night, the Bombers tried to come back in the bottom of the ninth, with Gardner hitting a long double from the center-field wall. Estevan Florial pinch-hitter and advanced to third on a groundout from Josh Breaux before coming home on a Rob Brantly nubber to second. Tauchman walked his third base on balls of the night and was replaced by pinch-runner Thomas Milone, who ranked second on defensive indifference. The Yankees loaded the bases on consecutive four-pitch walks by Gray Fenter, but Andrew Velazquez struck out on three pitches to end the game.

The Yankees bats waited too long to wake up, racking up only five base runners in the first eight innings. Perhaps it is better that this game is not televised.

Join us tomorrow afternoon when the Blue Jays visit Tampa for the final Spring Training meeting between the two clubs. Jhoulys Chacín will start, as the Yankees don’t want Jameson Taillon to face an opponent so close to the start of the season; he will launch a simulated game instead of. The first launch is scheduled for 1:05 pm ET, with YES and WFAN broadcasting the respective radio and television broadcasts.

Score chart

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