CC Sabathia dominated the Orioles over the first seven innings tonight, but the Orioles had their chance in the top of the eighth. They failed to deliver the knockout punch.
Matt Wieters led off the eighth with a single and Manny Machado drew a walk before Mark Reynolds struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. Lew Ford, yes that Lew Ford, then drove Wieters home with a single into left field past a diving Derek Jeter.
Things got really interesting after Robert Andino hit a tapper back to Sabathia. Eric Chavez wasn’t covering third base, so Sabathia decided to make a throw to second base. However, Lew Ford beat the throw, which set up a bases-loaded situation. Sabathia managed to escape the jam by striking out Nate McLouth and getting J.J. Hardy to ground out to shortstop.
The Yankees are currently up in the bottom of the eighth and hold a 3-1 lead.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.