Last season was a rough one for the New York Yankees.
The team battled injuries all season long. Alex Rodriguez was once again in the news amidst a steroids scandal. The Yankees finished 85-77 and missed the postseason altogether for the first time since 2008 (and just the second time since 1993). Mariano Rivera retired. And to cap it all off, their hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox, won the World Series.
Yes, it was a rough season for the Bronx Bombers.
But spring training is here, and with it brings a new start for the Yankees. The club was once again busy this offseason, signing Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Matt Thornton, Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts, while star second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Curtis Granderson signed elsewhere over the winter.
After last year's disappointment, there are plenty of Yankees fans eager to get a look at the club this spring. Below, you'll find the team's full schedule, a recap from every game they play before the regular season begins and a prediction for how they'll fare this season.
|Tue, Feb. 25||Florida State||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 8-3|
|Wed, Feb. 26||Pittsburgh Pirates||1:05 p.m.||Pirates win, 6-5|
|Thu, Feb. 27||Pittsburgh Pirates||1:05 p.m.||Pirates win, 8-2|
|Fri, Feb. 28||Detroit Tigers||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 7-4|
|Sat, March 1||Philadelphia Phillies||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 4-0|
|Sun, March 2||Toronto Blue Jays||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 8-2|
|Mon, March 3||Washington Nationals||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 4-2|
|Tue, March 4||Baltimore Orioles||7:05 p.m.||Orioles win, 3-2|
|Wed, March 5||Tampa Bay Rays||1:05 p.m.||Rays win, 5-4|
|Thu, March 6||Philadelphia Phillies||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 4-3|
|Fri, March 7||Detroit Tigers||7:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 3-2|
|Sat, March 8||Houston Astros||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 9-6|
|Sun, March 9||Tampa Bay Rays||1:05 p.m.||Yankees tied Rays, 3-3|
|Tue, March 11||Washington Nationals||1:05 p.m.||Nationals win, 3-2|
|Wed, March 12||Detroit Tigers||1:05 p.m.||Yankees tie Tigers, 7-7|
|Thu, March 13||Baltimore Orioles||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 6-0|
|Thu, March 13||Philadelphia Phillies||1:05 p.m.||Phillies win, 6-2|
|Fri, March 14||Minnesota Twins||1:05 p.m.||Twins win, 7-3|
|Sat, March 15||Miami Marlins||9:05 p.m.||Marlins win, 8-0|
|Sat, March 15||Baltimore Orioles||1:05 p.m.||Orioles win, 2-1|
|Sun, March 16||Miami Marlins||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 7-0|
|Sun, March 16||Atlanta Braves||11:05 a.m.||Yankees win, 7-4|
|Mon, March 17||Pittsburgh Pirates||1:05 p.m.||Cancelled|
|Tue, March 18||Boston Red Sox||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 8-1|
|Wed, March 19||Atlanta Braves||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 8-1|
|Thu, March 20||Boston Red Sox||7:00 p.m.||Yankees win, 3-2|
|Fri, March 21||Pittsburgh Pirates||7:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 4-0|
|Sat, March 22||Minnesota Twins||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 5-4|
|Sun, March 23||Toronto Blue Jays||1:05 p.m.||Yankees lose, 3-1|
|Tue, March 25||Philadelphia Phillies||7:05 p.m.||Yankees lose, 6-0|
|Wed, March 26||Toronto Blue Jays||1:05 p.m.||Blue Jays win, 10-6|
|Thu, March 27||Pittsburgh Pirates||1:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 4-2|
|Fri, March 28||Miami Marlins||7:05 p.m.||Yankees win, 3-0|
|Sat, March 29||Miami Marlins||1:05 p.m.||Cancelled|
March 29: Last Spring Training Game Rained Out
The last game of spring training was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Today's #Yankees game has been cancelled due to rain.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 29, 2014
March 28: Yankees Blank Marlins, Win 3-0
Masahiro Tanaka earned his second win of spring training on Friday night, striking out 10 and allowing just three hits in six innings pitched, per the team's official Twitter account:
In the 8th, the #Yankees lead Miami, 1-0. Kuroda and Tanaka have combined for 12 Ks thus far.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 29, 2014
With Tanaka shutting down Miami's bats, the Yankees only needed minimal offensive production. Brian McCann would drive in the game's first run in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Yankees would add two more to triple their lead in the bottom of the eighth.
For the Marlins, right-hander Carlos Marmol took the loss, surrendering one run in one inning pitched.
Meanwhile, Tanaka is flying high and sporting a 2.14 ERA heading into the regular season.
New York will wrap up spring training on Saturday against the Marlins before opening up the regular season on Tuesday in Houston.
March 27: C.C. Sabathia Sharp in Yanks 4-2 Win over Pirates
The New York Yankees' slimmed down ace made the Pittsburgh Pirates' bats look skinny on Thursday.
He didn't allow a run in four innings and surrendered three hits. The left hander has been downright nasty all spring. Take a look at his numbers in the exhibition per Major League Baseball's Twitter account:
As for offense, the Yankees saw Ichiro break out of his slump a bit with three hits and an RBI. He raised his spring batting average to .255.
Eduardo Nunez and Zoilo Almonte also had three hits and RBI to supply the bulk of the Bombers' offense.
New York will finish out its spring training with two games against the Marlins on Friday and Saturday.
March 26: Yanks Doomed By Disastrous Fifth Inning in 10-6 loss to Blue Jays
Both New York and Toronto had one-inning explosions on Wednesday. The Blue Jays' big inning made a little more noise and they rode that to the win.
Toronto scored eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to climb out of a 6-2 hole. The Jays batted around and former Yankee Melky Cabrera had two hits, a run scored and an RBI in the inning.
He was 3-for-4 on the day.
Preston Claiborne took the brunt of the damage from the Toronto offense. He failed to retire a batter, but allowed six runs on four hits and a walk.
The horrendous outing raised his ERA to 14.29 this spring.
Chris Leroux got the start for New York and he was a little less than sharp. He allowed two runs on three hits in three innings of work.
Toronto's bats bailed out R.A. dickey whose knuckler clearly wasn't dancing. In just three innings, Dickey was touched up for six runs on seven hits.
March 25: Yankees Continue Poor Hitting, Lose to Phillies, 6-0
The Bronx Bombers continued to be anything but Tuesday, as Jeff Manship and five other pitchers combined on a nine-hit shutout to lead the Phillies to a 6-0 victory over New York. The Yankees have now scored just one run over their last 18 innings, as they struggle to find consistency with their starting lineup.
Brett Gardner recorded hits in all three of his at bats, but it was an otherwise discouraging day for an already concerning lineup. Derek Jeter is still hitting only .128 after a 1-for-3 day. Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann combined for an 0-for-7 evening, with the former striking out three times. Teixeira's return from his wrist injury continues to be slow, and he's batting .100 this spring.
Positives are awful hard to come by in the Yankees' lineup.
On the other side of the diamond, though, Philadelphia got some production from its aging sluggers. Ryan Howard and Marlon Byrd belted back-to-back home runs in the third inning to help the Phillies to a 3-0 lead early, and they would tack on two more in the sixth and another in the ninth.
Manship, a 29-year-old who has spent most of his career in the minors, scattered five hits over four innings of shutout work. He then gave the ball to five additional pitchers, who each tossed an inning of shutout ball against the hapless New York lineup.
Spring training records don't matter, but the habits teams develop in February and March do. Given the Yankees' recent struggles at the plate, the ongoing concern about whether they can produce enough to contend in the AL East may be legitimizing.
March 23: Yankees Struggle at Plate, Lose to Blue Jays, 3-1
Sunday saw another strong showing from Michael Pineda, but he was no match when asked to duel with Mark Buehrle.
Pineda lasted six innings on the mound, allowed six hits, three runs and struck out two, although some of the runs can be accredited to bad defense rather than anything he did wrong. He gave up an RBI single to Dioner Navarro in the second inning and Colby Rasmus was able to cross the plate in the fifth inning after the ball was thrown away. Brett Lawrie scored right after thanks to a wild pitch.
Not a horrible outing, but Pineda would have looked even better if the Yankees' bats had shown up. New York scored just one run one on eight hits, with Ichiro Suzuiki the only one to cross the plate after a double-play ball.
March 22: Yankees Squeak Past Twins, 5-4
Masahiro Tanaka was strong yet again for the Yankees, fanning six batters and allowing just three runs in 5.2 innings pitched. He walked one and allowed five hits on the way to earning his first win of the spring.
The bullpen was nearly flawless in relief of Tanaka. Lefty Fred Lewis got the lone out manager Joe Girardi needed him to, while David Herndon and Shane Greene each contributed perfect innings. Greene actually struck out the side in his lone inning.
Yoshinori Tateyama allowed one hit—a home run to Eduardo Escobar—in the ninth before shutting the door on Minnesota.
The bats got four runs off Twins starter Kevin Correia, with Scott Sizemore leading the charge with two RBI. Zoilo Almonte and Zelous Wheeler each smacked a double among two hits apiece.
With the spring coming to a close, the Yankees are in good position heading into the regular season.
March 21: Yankees Shut Out Pirates, 4-0
It was a great day for Yankees pitching as the entire staff shut down the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 4-0 win.
But the biggest performance of the day came from staff ace C.C. Sabathia. The lefthander navigated his way through seven perfect frames, striking out seven and giving up just four hits with no runs in the outing.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News notes that Sabathia's outing came after another strong one in his previous start:
Seven scoreless innings for Sabathia now, after his five no-hit innings last Sunday.— Andy Martino (@MartinoNYDN) March 22, 2014
With Sabathia dealing on the mound, his battery mate Brian McCann provided the punch at the plate. His RBI double in the first inning got the Yanks on the board as they would never relinquish the lead.
McCann's double would serve as his only hit of the day, but was also the only extra-base hit of the day for New York.
March 20: Yankees Take Down Red Sox, 3-2
David Phelps was solid in starting duty for the Yankees. He allowed two runs on four hits in his six innings of work. That was good enough to have him out pitch Boston's Clay Buchholz.
Bucholz has looked sharp this spring, but the Yankees got to him for five hits and three runs in his five innings of work.
Francisco Cervelli put the Yankees on the board in the second when he hit a solo homer off Buchholz. The 1-0 score held until the fifth inning when Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run, two-out single. That was Suzuki's lone hit in his four at bats. He is now hitting .206 for the spring.
The Red Sox then picked up their two runs in the sixth off of a two-run double by Dustin Pedroia.
That was all the scoring for the day, however, as Phelps picked up his first win of the spring.
March 19: Yankees blank Braves, 7-0
Ivan Nova pitched 6.1 innings of shutout baseball and Carlos Beltran picked up three hits and two RBI to lead the Yankees to a 7-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Nova looked sharped. He allowed just two hits, no walks and struck out five on the afternoon. Nova was able to consistently keep the ball down in the zone. This is a promising sign for Nova's maturation.
Meanwhile, Beltran went 3-for-4 at the plate to raise his spring average to .222. Adonis Garcia continued his hot spring by going 1-for-3 at the plate and picking up two RBI. Garcia is now batting .423 for the spring.
March 18: Yankees beat Red Sox, 8-1
It may only be the spring, but trouncing a hated rival always feels good.
Behind another strong outing from starting pitcher Michael Pineda and a three-run homer from Alfonso Soriano, the Yanks rolled to an easy 8-1 victory over the Red Sox.
Pineda went 4.1 innings for the Bronx Bombers, giving up just four hits and striking out five while allowing no runs.
The Yankees started strong and never looked back, scoring three runs in the second and four runs in the fourth. Brett Gardner (three hits, two runs), Soriano (two hits, one run, four RBI) and Mark Teixeira (one hit, two walks, one run, two RBI) starred for the Yanks.
Felix Doubront had a rough outing for the Sox, giving up seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in just 3.2 innings of work.
March 17: Yankees vs. Pirates Cancelled Due to Inclement Weather
Unfortunately, the Yankees' matchup against the Pirates on Monday was cancelled due to rain. Next up on the slate is division rival Boston Red Sox, set for 1:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Today's #Yankees vs Pirates game has been cancelled due to rain.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 17, 2014
March 16: Yankees beat Marlins, 7-0
After the Marlins shut down the Yankees on Saturday, it was New York's that turned the tables on Sunday. Some big bats and stellar pitching allowed the Yankees to hold the Marlins to just one hit in the team's 7-0 victory.
Pitching was virtually flawless for New York. CC Sabathia looked sharp as ever, pitching five perfect innings, striking out five batters in the process.
All four Yankees relief pitchers looked great as well. They each pitched one full inning with Preston Claiborne giving up the only hit.
Offense was stellar as well.
Zelous Wheeler started things off in the first with an RBI ground-rule double. In the fifth, Carlos Beltran brought a run home with a single to center field. Francisco Cervelli and Yangervis Solarte combined for another three RBI's on their two singles.
Gary Sanchez had the lone deep ball of the game. He ripped a two-run jack to right field in the ninth to complete the Yankees onslaught of the Marlins.
This win is a great sign for the Yankees, as they bounced back on Sunday in grandiose fashion.
March 16: Yankees beat Braves, 7-4
The Yankees offense finally found its stroke again, putting up seven runs against the Braves on Sunday morning.
Ichiro Suzuki started the scoring run for New York, bringing in Ramon Flores on an RBI single in the second inning.
In the sixth, the Yankees offense caught fire.
Brian McCann started things off, bringing home two runners after lining a double to to right field. Flores singled after, bringing home another run. Later, a wild pitch by Anthony Varvaro allowed Kelly Johnson to cross home plate. Mason Williams scored Flores on a sacrifice fly to to left field, and the scoring was concluded after Peter O'Brien scored on a fielding error.
The Yankees were solid all day long, as nine different batters accounted for the team's 12 hits.
Matt Thornton got the win; however, he did not have a particularly good showing. He pitched just 0.2 innings, allowing two hits and one run for an 11.57 ERA.
Masahiro Tanaka was the stud of the game. Over 4.1 innings pitched, he allowed one run on three hits, walking two and striking out six for an ERA of 1.93.
The Yankees needed this all-around solid outing to gain some much-needed confidence.
March 15: Orioles beat Yankees, 2-1
The Yankees split on Saturday, with one half headed to Panama City to honor Mariano Rivera, while the other half took on Baltimore in Florida.
The squad that remained in Tampa saw a strong performance from starter Vidal Nuno, who tossed three hitless frames in pursuit of being named the team's fifth starter. He told reporters after the fact that much of his success was mental, via MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli:
"Everything was working today, just being confident," Nuno said. "It's just having the confidence in all my pitches working and just going out there to just have fun."
At the plate, a young lineup with less than half expected to be starters come opening day were held scoreless through five innings by Chris Tillman. Francisco Arcia finally broke New York's silence in the top of the sixth with a leadoff home run.
While technically a loss, the Yankees picked up another contender for the fifth starting spot on the mound on Saturday. In spring training, that's a win any day of the week.
March 15: Marlins beat Yankees, 8-0
It was an ugly outing for the Yankees' bats against Miami on Saturday. New York was held scoreless thanks to a solid outing by Marlins pitcher Brad Hand. He pitched five flawless innings, striking out six batters over the span.
Yankees pitchers did not fare quite as well.
Adam Warren received the loss, pitching 4.1 innings, allowing two hits, one run and striking out six. He had the best performance of any New York pitcher on the evening.
The same could not be said for Robert Coello, who only pitched 0.1 innings, giving up one hit, but allowing three runs while striking out one batter and walking two for a 33.00 ERA.
The Yankees' bats were ice cold, as the entire team failed to record a single hit over the span of the game. This no-hitter by the Marlins' rotation against the Yankees is not a good sign going forward.
March 14: Twins beat Yankees, 7-3
Manny Banuelos would like to forget about Friday.
The Yankees' pitcher came into the game in the top of the sixth with the game tied at three apiece. Four runs, two hits, two walks and just one out later, he left the game having dug the Yankees a hole they couldn't climb out of, as the Twins topped them, 7-3.
The Yankees certainly started strong. After starting pitcher David Phelps gave up a run in the top of the first, the Yankees answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame, as Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian Roberts hit back-to-back doubles before Mark Teixeira singled home Roberts. Teixeira would later score on Eduardo Nunez's fielder's choice.
But it all went wrong in the sixth.
Banuelos quickly loaded the bases before striking out Aaron Hicks, but that only delayed the inevitable. An Eric Farris double would score two runs and chase Banuelos from the game, before Fred Lewis entered and allowed the next two runs to score on a fielder's choice and an RBI single (both runners belonged to Banuelos).
Not only did the Yankees fail to mount a comeback after that, they didn't so much as get a hit against Minnesota pitching in the last five innings. So all in all, a performance the entire squad would likely prefer to forget.
March 13: Yankees beat Orioles 6-0, lose to Phillies 6-2
It was split-squad action on Thursday to very different results for the Yankees.
Against the Baltimore Orioles, Michael Pineda was the star of the show as he continued to make his case for the fifth spot in the rotation. He allowed three hits and a walk while striking out five on 48 pitches.
Bleacher Report's Joe Giglio hit the nail on the head in regards to Pineda's recent performances:
Brett Gardner hit an RBI off Bud Norris, who struggled to contain the New York offense.drove in Brian McCann in the fifth inning to make it 4-0 before Adonis Garcia got an RBI of his own to put away the Orioles.
It was the opposite story for New York against the Phillies. Roberto Hernandez silenced the Yankees' bats with a perfect game into the infancy of the sixth inning. Meanwhile, Ivan Nova gave up nine hits and three runs through five innings.
The saving grace for New York was Jacoby Ellsbury and his homer, but the team overall managed just four hits.also continued his impressive spring with a fifth RBI. The two runs in the seventh closed the gap, but the Phillies responded in the eighth with three more. All New York pitchers combined allowed 13 hits overall.
March 12: Yankees tie Tigers, 7-7
The Yankees didn't get a lot of support from their first team against Detroit on Wednesday, but rallied late to force a tie behind Zoilo Almonte's game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.
One notable performance was Francisco Cervelli, who figures to be New York's backup catcher behind Brian McCann. He went 2-for-2 with two home runs, providing the only offense the Yankees would get until the eighth inning.
As for notable performances, Hiroki Kuroda got knocked around to the tune of 10 hits and six runs (all earned) in 3.2 innings. Derek Jeter, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Brian Roberts combined to go 1-for-12 with four strikeouts.
March 11: Yankees lose to Nationals, 3-2
On Tuesday, the Yankees' lineup never had an answer for Nationals' starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. But even if they had, their own starter, CC Sabathia, didn't do them any favors.
Zimmermann was perfect through four innings with four strikeouts, stifling a New York lineup that included Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann. From the Washington Nationals on Twitter:
Now that Twitter is back, we can tell you that Jordan Zimmermann turned in four perfect innings of work, and the #Nats lead 3-1 in the sixth— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 11, 2014
While Zimmermann dominated, Sabathia struggled, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks in three innings.
The Yanks were certainly glad to see Zimmermann go. They scored immediately in the fifth—Dean Anna's single plated Eduardo Nunez—and sixth—Brett Gardner knocked in Zoilo Almonte on a sacrifice fly—but it wasn't enough to catch the Nationals, who were led by third baseman Anthony Rendon (one hit, one run, two RBI).
March 9: Yankees tie Rays, 3-3
By the standards of spring training, the Rays-Yankees contest had all the excitement and drama you could expect. The Yankees were down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth inning before a wild pitch from Tampa Bay's Braulio Lara led to the tying run scoring.
That would be how things would end up, as both teams went down quickly in the 10th inning. Most of New York's regulars were in the starting lineup, including Jacoby Ellsbury, Derek Jeter, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann.
Despite their presence, that group didn't make much of a dent in today's game. Ellsbury doubled and McCann had a single, but that was it. No runs were scored or driven in by those four.
The pitching was outstanding, with David Phelps starting and throwing five shutout innings. Dellin Betances continued his quest to get a bullpen job out of camp with another scoreless inning. He hasn't allowed a run in 5.1 innings this spring.
March 8: Yankees beat Astros, 9-6
In a back-and-forth contest between the Yankees and Astros on Saturday, it was the Bronx Bombers that came away with the win, 9-6.
Kelly Johnson (two-run homer in the third), Mark Teixeira (one hit, one walk, one run), Austin Romine (two hits, one run), Scott Sizemore (two runs) and Mason Williams (one hit, one walk, two RBI) led the way for New York, who dinged Astros pitching for two runs in the second, third and seventh innings and knocked in three in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Ivan Nova had an up-and-down start, allowing three runs on eight hits in four innings, though he did strike out five. Nova has nasty off-speed stuff but often battles with his fastball, and it wasn't a winning battle on Saturday, as Tristan H. Cockcroft of ESPN tweeted:
This does not look like one of Ivan Nova's better fastball days...— Tristan H. Cockcroft (@SultanofStat) March 8, 2014
Jose Altuve (two hits, two runs) and Chris Carter (a three-run homer in the fifth) were the bright spots for the Astros.
March 7: Yankees beat Tigers, 3-2
A wacky walk-off finish saw Detroit pitcher Luis Marte balk home the winning run, allowing the Bronx Bombers to escape with a 3-2 victory—their second in a row to continue a strong bounce-back from a two-game losing streak.
Hiroki Kuroda paced New York early with a stellar start on the mound, tossing 2.2 innings of one-hit ball with five strikeouts. Carlos Beltran was filling the designated hitter's role and gave the Yankees the initial edge with a two-run homer in the third inning off Anibal Sanchez.
But the Tigers had some rally-cap magic in them, fighting back with two stolen bases off New York's southpaw reliever Matt Thornton. Detroit's Austin Jackson socked an RBI triple and was plated on a base knock by Steve Lombardozzi, knotting the score at two in the top of the seventh.
That set the stage for the strange conclusion in which Jose Gil was at the plate and Marte made the erroneous move. Chris Iott of MLive.com explained why Marte was in the wrong:
Third baseman was not on the bag when Luis Marte threw over. Balk called. Game over.— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) March 8, 2014
Michael Pineda is a 25-year-old hurler attempting to lock down the No. 5 spot in the Yankees rotation in 2014, and he pitched two scoreless innings with four strikeouts before Thornton came in. MLB.com's Bryan Hoch weighed in on the strong outing:
Four strikeouts in 2 scoreless IP around a single for Michael Pineda as he enters 5th starter comp. Yankees should be encouraged.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 8, 2014
Now the Yankees can move forward with some momentum as they look to Saturday's game against the lowly Houston Astros. There's a good chance New York will be able to rattle off a third straight win, but the offense could stand to pick up the slack, having scored just 3.4 runs per game in the past five contests.
March 6: Yankees beat Phillies, 4-3
Derek Jeter collected two hits, Masahiro Tanaka once again looked solid and the Yankees picked up a win on Thursday, getting by the Phillies, 4-3.
The Yankees scored two runs in the eighth to get the win, as a Jose Pirela double scored Gary Sanchez and a Ramon Flores sacrifice fly knocked in Pirela. Jeter's two hits were a solid sign, as he's struggled this spring, while Kelly Johnson also collected two hits.
Tanaka pitched well, giving up one earned run and adding a strikeout in 3.0 innings pitched.
The Phillies were paced by home runs by Freddy Galvis, Carlos Ruiz and John Mayberry.
March 5: Rays beat Yankees, 5-4
Tampa Bay scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and held on for a 5-4 win over the Yankees on Wednesday.
New York scored twice in each of the first and fourth innings. A two-RBI single by Brett Gardner being the most notable hit of the group, driving in both fourth-inning runs. But the Rays answered back with a four-run outburst highlighted by a three-run homer by Desmond Jennings and never looked back.
Robert Coello was responsible for all four runs in the fifth and took the loss. Dellin Betances was the most impressive Yankees pitching, going 1.2 innings of scoreless relief with two strikeouts.
March 4: Orioles beat Yankees, 3-2
The Orioles scored two runs in the seventh inning and Derek Jeter's miserable start to spring training continued, as Baltimore held on to a close 3-2 win over the Yankees on Tuesday.
Chase Whitley recorded his second loss of the spring already, coughing up a 2-1 lead in the seventh. Jemile Weeks, Julio Borbon and Quintin Berry each drove in a run for Baltimore, which moved to 3-2 thus far. The teams overall suffered through a rocky day of offensive baseball, with only three extra-base hits as the pitching for both sides looked solid.
Starter Wei-Yin Chen was the only Orioles pitcher to give up a run, allowing two over five hits in two innings of work. Francisco Cervelli hit his first home run of the spring with a solo shot in the second, and then Yangervis Solarte added an RBI single later in the frame to give New York a 2-0 lead early.
Presumptive Yankees fifth starter David Phelps went through two scoreless innings before falling apart a bit in the third. He gave up a run on five hits in 2.2 frames of work.
The big story, though, remains Jeter. The retiring Yankees captain went 0-for-2 playing out of the designated hitter role on Tuesday, dropping him to 0-for-9 thus far. Jeter has looked nothing like himself at the plate, grounding into double plays and barely getting good wood on the ball. Most expected the first couple games to be rough, but you can tell the spotlight is already starting to get to him.
As Andrew Marchand of ESPN pointed out, Jeter hasn't even taken a ball beyond the infield dirt:
Jeter is 0-for-9 this spring. I don't believe he has hit a ball out of the infield yet.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) March 5, 2014
It's certainly a long spring and Jeter will eventually figure it out to a certain extent. But anyone expecting a storybook end similar to the way Mariano Rivera went out at the top of his game last season may sorely be disappointed if this keeps up.
March 3: Yankees beat Nationals, 4-2
Behind RBI from Kelly Johnson, Ichiro Suzuki and Corban Johnson and three scoreless innings from starting pitcher Ivan Nova, the Yankees defeated the Nationals on Monday, 4-2.
Nova was perfect while he was on the mound, striking out four batters along the way. David Robertson also made an appearance, appearing for one inning without allowing a hit or walk.
The Yankees did all of their damage in a four-run second inning, bolstered by a throwing error from shortstop Zach Walters that allowed Ichiro to reach base and scored Francisco Cervelli.
March 2: Yankees beat Blue Jays, 8-2
Jose Bautista's solo home run put the Yankees into an early 1-0 deficit through one inning, but New York bounced back by tying it in the top of the second. Then, the Bronx Bombers broke out with a three-run third inning en route to an easy victory over the AL East rival Blue Jays on Sunday.
Back-to-back jacks in the third by Eduardo Nunez, who hit a two-run shot, and Carlos Beltran busted the game open early, and the Yankees' bullpen held its own throughout the rest of the ballgame.
After striking out in batting for Beltran in the sixth, JR Murphy made the most of his second at-bat in the designated hitter's slot, cranking a three-run homer off Neil Wagner in the eighth inning to add even more insurance.
Three dingers on the day is a strong effort, and manager Joe Girardi has to be pleased with his lineup's production as New York won its third game in a row.
March 1: Yankees beat Phillies, 4-0
On a day when Brian McCann reached base three times and drove in two runs with a double, all the focus for the Yankees was on Masahiro Tanaka.
The 25-year-old Japanese star who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract made his debut in pinstripes on Saturday. He didn't disappoint, throwing two shutout innings with three strikeouts, including one on a splitter to Ben Revere that makes grown men cry.
In addition to Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda combined to throw four shutout innings with three strikeouts to set the tone.
Feb. 28: Yankees beat Tigers, 7-4
Led by homers from Brian McCann, Gary Sanchez and Jose Pirela, the Yankees knocked off the Tigers, 7-4.
Seven Yankees' hurlers combined to toss eight scoreless innings, though Brian Gordon was roughed around in the seventh, giving up four runs on six hits. That followed a five-run top of the seventh for the Yankees, who knocked around Luis Marte (four earned runs on three hits).
John Murrian led the way for Detroit with two RBI.
Feb. 27: Pirates beat Yankees, 8-2
The Yankees fell to the Pirates yet again on Thursday, however, the big story related to the spring debut of captain Derek Jeter. The Yankee legend missed the bulk of the 2013 season, but he appears poised to close out his career on a high note.
Per ESPN New York, Jeter went hitless in two at-bats in what turned out to be a fairly uneventful day for him:
Derek Jeter of New York Yankees 0-for-2 in anticlimactic spring debut http://t.co/YpUwAlBGqe— ESPN New York (@ESPNNewYork) February 27, 2014
In addition to Jeter, outfielder Brett Gardner started and led off, going 1-for-1 in limited action.
Also, starting pitcher David Phelps had his first audition for the No. 5 spot in the Yankees' rotation. Aside from allowing a first-inning home run, Phelps acquitted himself well with four strikeouts in two innings.
Phelps is in direct competition with Michael Pineda and Adam Warren for the fifth slot, although Phelps will almost certainly make the roster regardless since he can serve as a long reliever.
The game was close until the latter stages when the Pirates broke a 2-2 contest open with five runs in the eighth inning and one in the ninth.
New York is obviously still trying to gain its footing, but it was good to get a couple starters involved as they attempt to get back in the swing of things.
Feb. 26: Pirates beat Yankees, 6-5
Despite stars like Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann making their spring debuts, the Yankees fell to the Pirates, 6-5.
Ellsbury reached base three times, scoring twice, while while McCann finished with a hit and an RBI. Ivan Nova got the start for the Yankees, giving up two hits, two walks and two earned runs while striking out one.
The Pirates exploded for four runs in the seventh. Tony Sanchez hit a three-run homer, tying the game at five runs apiece, before Chris McGuiness singled, scoring Chris Dickerson.
Feb. 25: Yankees beat Florida State, 8-3
Led by Ramon Flores (2-for-2, one home run, one RBI, two runs) and Dean Anna (reached base three times, scored two runs), the Yankees opened spring training by defeating the Florida State baseball team, 8-3.
Vidal Nuno, Brian Gordon and Bryan Mitchell each pitched two scoreless innings for the Yankees, while John Sansone's bases-loaded double in the sixth inning accounted for all three of Florida State's runs.
Of course, all of the talk in this game was Florida State Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston facing the Bronx Bombers, not that he fared particularly well, via Bleacher Report:
After, Winston joked that the Yankees still might want his signature, via Michele Steele of ESPN:
I asked Jameis Winston if any Yankees asked for autographs : "I probably have to go sign some right now" #Seminoles— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) February 25, 2014
Brett Gardner, Francisco Cervelli, Kelly Johnson and Brendan Ryan were the biggest names to make an appearance for the Yankees, so Winston was the game's main attraction.
Pre-Spring Training Prediction for 2014 Season
If the Yankees can stay healthy, they should have a pretty nasty lineup. A core group of Ellsbury, Derek Jeter, McCann, Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano should provide plenty of pop, and the Yankees could conceivably be among the leaders in runs scored and home runs this year.
That's if they stay healthy, however, which is a pretty huge "if" considering this team is pretty darn old. They are only a few injuries away from sinking down the standings again.
The pitching staff will be reliant on two unknowns: Can CC Sabathia turn things around after a disappointing 2013 season, and can Tanaka take the American League by storm?
If the answer to both of those questions is "yes," the Yankees will have a nasty one-two combination atop the rotation, bolstered by Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova and potentially the return of Michael Pineda, who once looked so promising but has missed the past two seasons to injury.
David Robertson will be tasked with replacing Rivera, impossible shoes to fill though Robertson should do just fine in the role. The rest of the bullpen is shakier, however, and could become an issue for the team.
Finally, there is the little matter of the brutal American League East, a division that could see any of its five teams reach the postseason. Yes, even last year's biggest busts, the Toronto Blue Jays, have to be considered contenders given the talent they have and the multitude of injuries they suffered last year.
The Yankees should be improved this year. But in a tough AL East, their improvement will probably be minimal. They'll finish third in the AL East and miss the postseason for a second straight year.