So the Spring Training sojourn in Tampa came to its natural conclusion. The Opening Day circus is about to kick off and thankfully too, I love it when Spring Training is over because although it is great to watch any baseball, nothing comes close to the full-blooded contest of the actual season when every pitch, swing, hit and error counts. We see it so often that there is a call made, a batter makes it to first, or steals second or third, it is given safely, but in a real game the manager would contest it. But in the spring it is let slide. Who cares, get through the game, get a feel for playing, stretch the muscles and all that. Just get it over with, without too many injuries.
Last night watching the game however, I was still filled with a sense that things were not so good. Like, for one thing, what is the story with the Yankees and their failure to hit and score runs? A-Rod was good, and certainly there were times when the Bombers scored plenty. But it is still worrying me that they don’t look like a team that will get a lot of production with the bat. Maybe once the heat of battle kicks in and they return to the hitter friendly Bronx, then we will see more scoring. But that is the one big headache from last season that doesn’t go away. I am still worried about that.
Sure maybe worried is a touch strong. After all in a world with religious and political intolerance, murders, poverty, hunger and so on, to say that I am worried about something is quite a biscuit. But look this is sport, and I am talking about sport. So in a puny kind of way I can say that I am worried about the state of the Yankees hitting. It is okay that I find the lack of scoring something that won’t keep me up at night, but it perturbs me to a very high degree.
The other thing that bothers me is the way Sabathia pitched yesterday. He pitched 5.1 innings. That was good I guess because he needed to get some more time in, get his grove back and get used to putting all that weight onto his knee. But it wasn’t pretty to watch, especially his first inning performance when he threw 40 pitches giving up three runs and three hits. It was sloppy, and his fast ball just seemed to hang up there for the batters to hit. His control was poor, it is the last piece of the puzzle for him, but it is the most crucial piece of the puzzle. Once he gets that back then he will be a lot better than he is. But he is still lacking a lot of the control that he needs to win games for us, and while he managed to get into a flow throughout the rest of the game, I am bothered by the idea that he could give away those runs early into a game while he is trying to get his flow because if the Yanks aren’t able to get their hitting game going, they will need their pitchers to keep the opposition off the board. Any runs given up can easily snowball into a mountain.
Still with only one more game left to be played in the Spring, and the Bombers only a few days away from Opening Day in New York, there is the hope and excitement that can only come with the first day of the season. A clean slate. A fresh star…. oh please let the Yankees find how to score runs again!!!!