Prime time Spring Training exhibition found the Phillies playing one of the sloppiest games I've seen form a defense that already has it's fair share of question marks. They managed to commit five errors as a whole, two in the same at bat. Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, and the Yankees pen kept the Phillies crossing home plate to a minimum.
Cliff Lee got smacked around pretty good in this one. He was the victim of some sloppy play but he himself had a throwing error. Only two of the five runs he allowed in the 2.2 innings he pitched were earned. The first pair coming from the bat of former Phillie, Ben Francisco in his debut for New York. Though Lee would continue to struggle with command and a lot of his strikes got hit. Typical spring training stinker.
Andy Pettitte threw three innings of one run ball. Him and Mariano Rivera seem like two guys who could pitch forever if they wanted to. Especially Rivera who threw a perfect 5th inning in what will be his final Spring. It's quite a renaissance team the Yankees are rolling out there in 2013 between those two, Jeter, Youkilis, and Suzuki. I don't think it's the incoming disaster that many think it will be but I wouldn't pencil them in for the AL East either.
The Phillies were hitting pretty light today. Lots of scattered singles, including one which drove in an early run from Domonic Brown. Darin Ruf would homer in the 6th off David Aardsma but it was a quiet day offensively for the club. John Mayberry had the only multi-hit game with a pair of singles.
The highlight of the game for me was Michael Stutes who threw two shut out innings, allowing a walk, a hit, and striking out two. He looked more in control than I'd seen from him in a while. Health concerns and limited openings mean he really has to earn a spot in the Opening Day bullpen. He made a nice case tonight, as did Justin De Fratus who threw a perfect 7th. Chad Durbin pitched a clean 8th.
Aside from some good relief work, not much positive to report from this one. I found myself getting more of a kick watching some of the grizzled veterans on the Yankees. Five years ago, this team would be a World Series lock with some of the names on it but I wouldn't count them out yet. The same can be said for the Phillies who are back in Clearwater tomorrow for a 1:05 start against Pittsburgh. Sinkerballer Aaron Cook is on the mound vs. Kyle McPherson, a nice middle of the rotation arm for Pittsburgh.