LADY AT THE BAT: Opening Day: AKA Spring Training Game #33

Monday, April 1, 2013

Opening Day: AKA Spring Training Game #33

Today started like every other weekday season opener for me: I developed a cough, called out sick, piled on Yankee gear from head to toe, and went to my best friend's house to watch the game. The excitement of the season opener soon gave way to the ambivalence that comes from watching a less than ace pitcher and a bunch of utility players take the field. In other words--a Spring Training game.

During Sabathia's last Spring Training start, I worried about his time table. I knew he hadn't gotten enough innings in. There wasn't much talk about it. He's the superman ace of the team, a work horse that carries teams to the post season. "He'll be ready" was all you heard. Today, after the second inning, it was a different story. The broadcasters talked about fatigue and, when the game was over, reporters questioned manager Joe Girardi on Sabathia's preparedness.

Ironically, the guy that put the most innings in during spring training relieved CC in the sixth inning. Don't freak out, I'm not suggesting that Phelps should have been the starter; I'm just pointing out the ridiculousness that has become Spring Training. Everyone gets their work in except the guys that need to be the most prepared come opening day.

The Yankees had several players that could have spent more time in the field and at-bat during Spring Training. Who put the most time in at centerfield? Melky Mesa, pegged for Scranton before Spring Training even started. Who played almost as many innings as Ichiro in right field? Zoilo Almonte and Thomas Neal, both destined for the minors. Who put the most time in at third besides Youkilis? Not Nix, but Ronnier Mustelier, a minor leaguer without a full season in AAA. What starting pitcher had the most starts and innings--David Phelps, bullpen middle man extraordinaire or spot starter extraordinaire, depending on the management's current level of desperation. How does that translate to today's game and most likely the month of April? CC Sabathia didn't see enough in game action during spring training and the Yankees position players didn't see enough pitches. Starting pitchers won't last past the fifth and batters will still be trying to find their groove until May.

I guess there's a fine balance between seeing or throwing enough pitches during spring training and stealing away quality performances in August and September when bodies need enough gas in them to get through pennant chases and championships. Today it looked as if the Yankees hadn't found that balance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I never watch spring training games because its not "real", I try instead to get my info from the news but I've not done much of that neither. Thanks for bringing me up to speed. My opinion so far: we stink with this current roster. Great post, Viv.
Felix Rotger @ FelixZacharyDad