On Thursday, the Yankees lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-3, at George M. Steinbrenner Field, as fifth starter candidate Esmil Rogers made his third start and fifth overall appearance of spring training. He now how has a 2.89 ERA in 9.1 innings with 10 hits and nine strikeouts. He had a 0.00 ERA before last night’s game.
Rogers did not exactly help his cause as he allowed three runs on five hits, which included a homer Cody Asche, in 3.1 innings. He threw 44 out of his 64 pitches for strikes and had three strikeouts and one walk. Adam Warren and Rogers are likely about even right now since Warren has a 3.38 ERA in his three starts (8.0 innings), but Rogers’s next two starts will really determine if he is the fifth starter or not.
“All of my career I’m a starter, so I feel comfortable for a start,” Rogers said. “I just want to be here to be part of the team.”
As previously stated, Warren proved last season that he has a lot of value in the bullpen as a result of his 2.97 ERA in his 69 games as a relief pitcher during last year’s campaign. He threw 78.2 innings and had 76 strikeouts and only 24 walks.
However, Girardi has praised Warren for being a four pitch pitcher. Warren has a fastball, change up, curveball and slider in his arsenal and has been a somewhat rare reliever as he uses all of his pitches out of the bullpen instead of primarily throwing two like many relief pitchers.
Even though he throws four pitches and has the ability to start, he is still likely more valuable in the bullpen since the No. 3, 4 and 5 starters might not be able to go very deep into games and he will give the bullpen more depth and effectiveness. Girardi has said that nobody has been eliminated form the competition, which means that Bryan Mitchell, Scott Baker and Chase Whitley still have a chance, which means that these next two weeks will be important in deciding roles. Spring training stats usually don’t matter very much, but they do for the candidates competing to be the No. 5 starter.
Nick Goody, who pitched 15 games in the bullpen last year at Double-A Trenton, allowed a solo homer to Darin Ruf in the eighth. Chasen Shreve, who will either start the season at Triple-A or in the Bronx, allowed three runs (two earned) in the ninth on three hits. This was by far his worst appearance of spring training as the talented lefty had only allowed one run in his previous five games.
It was an offensive struggle for the Yankees as they only had four hits against five Phillies pitchers. Chase Headley continued his productive exhibition season with his second homer and Didi Gregorius hit a single and his average is now a solid .280. If Gregorius can hit .270-.280 with 10-15 homers and 10-15 steals it will be a productive season for him based on all the runs he will save defensively.
Alex Rodriguez went 0-3 and now only has one hit in has last 12 at-bats, which has lowered his average from .455 (5-11) to .261 (6-23). It’s too early to really evaluate him, and it was not realistic for A-Rod to hit at a .455 clip for the rest of spring training, but he needs to show some power and consistency. If he continues his slump it will make sense for him to platoon with Garrett Jones at DH.
On Friday at Joker Marchant Stadium, Warren will make his fourth start of spring training, and Alfredo Simon will get the start for the Detroit Tigers. These final 16 games of spring training will help determine who will be the No. 5 starter, who will be the backup catcher, what Rodriguez’s role will be and who will be the final two members of the bullpen.