On Saturday afternoon, the Yankees beat the Astros, 3-2, at George M. Steinbrenner Field in a Grapefruit League game. They now have a 12-7 record in spring training.
Michael Pineda got his third spring training start and even though he allowed his first two runs of the exhibition season his strikeout to walk ratio was outstanding. This was his final line against the Astros: 3.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 0 BB and 6 Ks. He threw 42 out of his 56 pitches for strikes.
Chris Carter hit a two-run homer in the first inning after George Springer tripled in what would turn out to be the only runs that Houston scored. After allowing those two hits in the first inning, six of Pineda’s next 11 outs came via the strikeout. He now has 12 strikeouts and only one walk in his 8.2 innings pitched in spring training.
Spring training is for getting players ready for the regular season and Pineda has proven that he definitely appears ready to continue where he left off last year. In 2014, Pineda made 13 starts and had a 1.89 ERA, 0.825 WHIP, 59 strikeouts, 0.8 walks walks per 9 innings and only seven walks in 76.1 innings. He will form what will be the best No. 1 and No. 2 starter combo in the AL East with Masahiro Tanaka.
Five other Yankees pitchers combined to allow only one hit to the Astros. Justin Wilson, Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey and Nick Rumbelow combined to pitch 4.1 innings while holding the opposition hitless and recording seven strikeouts. The emerging relief pitcher Jacob Lindgren pitched the ninth inning, allowed one hit and a strikeout, and got the win as a result of the walk-off by Jake Cave.
Cave hit a sac fly in the ninth inning to score Slade Heathcott as he dove into home plate for the winning won. Nick Noonan and Aaron Judge scored the other two runs in the ninth. Reggie Jackson has compared Judge to Dave Winfield, and Cave, who will likely play at Double-A and Triple-A this season, is hitting .417 with five RBIs after hitting .294 in High-A and Double-A last season.
Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Didi Gregorius were the only players who will make the 25-man roster who had a hit. Teixeira had two, Beltran had one and Gregorius also had one.
The Yankees will play the Mets in Port St. Lucie on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. The game, which will be on YES and SNY, will be watched by many in the Tri-State area. CC Sabathia will make his second exhibition start for the Yankees after having an injury-filled 2014, and Matt Harvey will make his third start of spring training after missing last year due to Tommy John surgery.