The Tampa Yankees were coming off of a four-game win streak before returning home to face the Daytona Tortugas. Tyler Austin was supposed to play his first of three rehab games for High-A Tampa, but due to poor weather he was sent up north to join Double-A Trenton. The Yankees were still able to get one player back from injury, Albert Abreu, as he was coming back from elbow inflammation. He got the start in game one for Tampa, and Erik Swanson would take the mound in Game two.
Abreu’s return was short and sweet, three innings, three strikeouts, two earned runs, 44 pitches and 31 for strikes. Abreu’s injury was to be handled very cautiously and his workload coming back will be handled the same way, it seems. Abreu will be a vital part of this Tampa Yankees’ rotation that already has Josh Rogers and Erik Swanson (despite Swanson not looking like himself in Game two). The Yankees’ offense was shut down in the shortened game, as Tortugas pitching held Tampa to five hits and one run, coming from a solo home-run off the bat of Chris Gittens.
As for Game two, it wouldn’t go any better than game one, in fact, it’d be much worse. Erik Swanson came into the game carrying a .75 ERA and not allowing a run over his last three appearances. He didn’t have control or command at any point in the game, he managed to get through the first inning without giving up a run, but the second inning he started leaving more and more pitches upstairs and Daytona took full advantage of it. A seven-hit, five-run, third inning would be the narrative for the game and Swanson’s stat line. With just a seven inning game, and the Yankees already using three pitchers in the first game, Swanson stayed out after the third to try and correct whatever he was doing, but it wouldn’t work out so well for him. He’d finish with 21 hits, eight earned runs, and three strikeouts. The start would shoot his ERA up for 3.14 and give him his first loss with Tampa on the season.
There was good news as James Reeves made his first appearance of the season after his injury in Spring Training. Reeves struggled, but the point was clear in shaking the rust off. He’d give up five runs in his single inning pitched, but it was apparent he was working on getting his secondary pitches, throwing nearly all of his pitches 88 mph and below. As expected, Reeves will most likely be pitching down in Tampa until he returns to full-confidence in his command, when he does he’ll surely be sent back to Double-A Trenton to continue his success dating back to last season.
The Yankees would lose the second game 13-2, while giving up 20 hits in the process. Their two runs came from a much-needed solid game by Gosuke Katoh, as he went 2-3 with two RBI singles. As the game went on the clouds got darker and a drizzle became harder, as did the runs by Daytona. Tampa, just reaching a single game from .500, dropped back down to 20-23 on the season. There is much to look forward to with this team, as it’s clearly built to be a second-half success. The Yankees try to avoid being swept on Sunday in the third game of their series against Daytona, after they’ll head back on the road for seven games (again) hitting Jupiter and then meeting up with the Tortugas soon enough in Daytona.