— You know what, let’s lead this one off with J.P. Sears.
Not the words I was expecting to type when I started a *lengthy* day at the yard, but he deserves the ink today not only after a stellar performance that backed up an equally solid showing by starter Janson Junk, but for the attitude in which he’s used to navigate a tricky situation.
Sears, 25, has largely been a starter in his time in the Yankees organization — 16 of 24 outings were starts heading into this year — but has served as the piggyback pitcher for Junk, who is being brought along extremely slowly in regards to his pitch count this season.
The southpaw has settled into his role well, and it’s one he’s embraced early on.
“It’s been nice, I’m having a good time with it,” Sears said. “Janson does a good job, but I’m just getting settled into it. It’s nice to have a routine of knowing when I’m going to pitch…it’s nice to know when I’m going to throw bullpens, when I can lift and do certain things with my body, so that’s been good. I kind of treat them like starts as best I can, just preparing for it mentally like it’s a start, but get going kind of late. It’s been good so far.”
Each one of Sears’ outings this year has been a long relief-type showing after Junk has left the game, but this may have been his best yet; 4 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K.
That’ll play, and that run only came in his fifth inning of work, when he ran into a little trouble against a very talented middle of the order for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Austin Martin, Otto Lopez and Gabriel Moreno.
“I was so excited to get back out there for the ninth, I really wanted to finish it out,” said Sears, who used a fastball that sat around 93-94 miles per hour through the duration of his outing.
“The first two hitters (that inning) just put some good swings on the ball, especially Otto Lopez, he just hit a mistake across the middle of the plate…I’m just trying to go with the decisions the staff makes (to come out with one out left in the ninth) and obviously it was the right decision. (Greg) Weissert did a great job of coming in and finishing it up for me.”
— Janson Junk lowered his ERA tonight to 0.60. I’m not even sure I have to say more than that.
— Yankees VP of baseball ops Tim Naehring and farm director Kevin Reese were in attendance tonight. They did not see much in the way of offense, now did they?
However, the bats delivered when it mattered the most — Donny Sands and Dermis Garcia, hey we’ll get to more on them in a little bit — dropped back-to-back run-scoring singles in short right center field in the eighth inning off of Fisher Cats reliever James Dykstra, who pitched at TD Bank Ballpark as a visitor in the Atlantic League days, to give Somerset just enough to squeak out the win.
— Of the numerous storylines over the past few days were wondering just what happened with Donny Sands, who didn’t play on either Saturday or Sunday in Hartford, and Dermis Garcia, who was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning in Sunday’s game.
Patriots manager Julio Mosquera was asked about this after the game.
“Those guys have been playing a lot,” he said. “Dermis was playing every day, and Donny was playing a lot too. So, it was a couple off days, get them back. Sometimes, they need those days. Young guys, they didn’t play last year, so you try to get them a couple off days and see how it goes. Dermis started the game the other day, and obviously, you saw the score. It was a pretty good score, so we got him out of there to get him some rest.”