All the homers, switch-pitchers and everything else from the first day of Spring Training games
All you need to know from the 1st day of Spring games
It's here, it's happening and it's oh-so-real. On Tuesday, 10 Major League teams squared off against each other for the first time since the World Series ended. While the starters didn't go very deep, plenty of players did. In the five games, there were 65 runs and 12 home runs.
But assuming you weren't glued to your MLB.TV machines, using a Clockwork Orange-like eye device to make sure you didn't miss a single second of spring action, here's what you may have missed:
Yankees 5, Phillies 5 (F/9 IP)
That's right. That's a tie game you're seeing. But what can you do -- pitchers arms aren't warmed up yet. And the two teams used 13 different pitchers to get through this one.
But there was plenty of action. We got our first balk of the year as Diego Moreno flinched on the mound, allowing Cameron Rupp to score. Nothing is more exciting than the first balk of the year.
We also got the first taste of what the pitch clock is going to look like when Moreno came in from the bullpen. Feels like we should have Marv Albert announcing these buzzer beaters.
With the Phillies up, 5-1, going into the top of the ninth, the Yankees scratched one back on an infield single from Jake Cave. 2013 first round pick Aaron Judge tied it up with this shot on a 3-2, two-on, two-out offering. It's something Yankees fans may want to prepare for in the future. The right fielder hit 17 home runs in his Minor League debut last season between two levels of Class A ball.
Special mention must also be made of Mario Hollands' beautiful stirrup socks.
Four home runs were hit in this one with Pedro Alvarez looking particularly dangerous. Looking to come back from a disappointing 2014 season that saw the slugger's home run total cut in half, the now-first baseman blasted this first-inning dinger, while also adding a double later in the game:
And in the third inning, Korean slugger Jung Ho Kang, coming off a 40-home run season in the KBO, blasted his first in a Pirates uniform.
Not that the Blue Jays wouldn't battle back. The Blue Jays kept the deficit close thanks to some impressive displays of defense from pitcher Aaron Sanchez on this comebacker:
And new acquisition and former Pirate Russell Martin showed off some of those defensive chops:
The Jays would show off some of their homer prowess, too. Kevin Pillar (shockingly, not Kevin Millar in a lazily-constructed alter ego) blasted this one into the wild forest located just beyond the fence:
Perhaps best of all was 2012 first-round pick Mitch Nay coming in and driving in a run in his lone at-bat. Mostly because I want broadcasters to yell, "And the Nays have it!" in future situations.
It's dangerous and downright foolish to extrapolate much information from a single Spring Training game, but the Tigers have to be happy with what they saw today. Ian Kinsler and Yoenis Cespedes combined for two home runs and seven RBI including this Cespedes grand slam blast:
Oddly enough, Cespedes has never hit a grand slam in 1,759 regular-season plate appearances.
In the battle of Ohio, the Queen City thoroughly dominated. Seven Reds pitchers combined to allow only four hits and strike out nine batters. Jason Marquis, who didn't pitch in the big leagues last year and is looking to join his ninth Major League squad, started the day off with two shutout innings and three K's.
While the Indians may not have done much during their debut at the plate, Destin Hood did this to Devin Mesoraco's otherwise-extra-base-hit:
I guess you could call that his Destin-y. Get it? I'll give you a minute.
And in the battle of the Bay, the AL side came out on top thanks in large part to Marcus Semien's big day. Acquired by the A's in the Jeff Samardzija deal, Semien went 3-for-3 with two home runs and four RBIs.
Of course, he was also caught stealing, so, you win some, you lose some.
The Giants knocked out one of their own thanks to 26-year-old Adam Duvall:
But the best part of the day was everyone's favorite Spring Training storyline, Pat Venditte coming on. The switch-pitcher retired two batters -- one from the left, one from the right -- in a perfect summation of the day: it was weird, it was fun and oh my god, baseball's back.