I’m not sure about much of anything when it comes to the 2020 Major League Baseball season. But my hope is that when the season begins for real, they play the games under some semblance of normal rules. Because Monday’s exhibition game between the Phillies and Yankees was strange. There were ten batters in the starting lineups, and one of the Yankees runs came after three outs were recorded in an inning. I don’t think even Angel Hernandez would allow that to happen in a regular season game.
The Phillies had Vince Velasquez start the game, and the first inning went the way so many Velasquez-pitched innings go: Long. Velasquez loaded the bases, and although he was able to escape the jam unharmed, it took him 25 pitches to complete the frame.
Velasquez actually looked solid after that, but let’s slow the bandwagon down just a touch. I’m not going to go into it too much - I’ve got a lengthy column coming tomorrow on this subject - but come on, people: It’s Vince Velasquez. Temper your expectations!
You see a 25-pitch first inning from Vince Velasquez. It drives you nuts.— Bob Wankel (@BobWankelCB) July 20, 2020
But you also see this. It’s hard to shake what could be. pic.twitter.com/N1ErKsxTS3
J.T. Realmuto got the Phillies on the board in the first inning with an RBI double, and Roman Quinn added an RBI single in the second.
Roman Quinn with a nice swing on a hanging curveball to score Nick Williams. Somebody get that man in a bubble, we need to protect him! pic.twitter.com/bTxgtUkiNK— Shaun Nestor (@shaun_nestor) July 20, 2020
Of course, this being Roman Quinn, he suffered an injury scare when he was hit by an errant pickoff throw at first base. That was just a fraction of the destruction that Yankees pitcher Deivi Garcia seemed determine to inflict on the Phillies.
This pitcher on the Yankees, in a span of 5 minutes, almost hit Nick Williams on a pickoff attempt, DID hit Roman Quinn on a pickoff attempt, and then hit Jean Segura on the hand with a pitch.— Colin Frattura (@FrancoRuttali) July 20, 2020
Glad the Yankees took this bozo out before he gave someone a concussion.#Phillies
The Yankees got a run back in the fifth. Despite having recorded the third out, Joe Girardi had Velasquez remain in the game to face Aaron Judge. Velasquez struck out Judge in his previous two at bats, but this one went a little differently.
Baseball in 2020: Because the Phillies wanted Velasquez to reach a certain pitch count, the #Yankees got an extra at-bat during the fifth inning. And during that at-bat, Judge hit a homer to right. pic.twitter.com/wC6h4EF2UY— Tom Hanslin (@TomHanslin) July 20, 2020
In the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies had Mauricio Llovero on the mound attempting to nail down the one-run lead. It’s doubtful we’ll see Llovero in many save situations this season (although you never know!), which is good, because Yankees pinch hitter Mike Ford hit one of his pitches a very long way.
Mike Ford hits a game-tying homer in the bottom of the 9th!— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) July 21, 2020
The Yankees refuse to lose even in exhibition games! pic.twitter.com/ubRNnHIZH9
After the final out of the inning was recorded, the announcers weren’t sure if the game would continue. When neither team re-emerged from the dugout, they concluded that the game had ended in a tie.
And with that, we creep slightly closer to the regular season which will feature real games, and presumably real rules.