Smell the grass! Feel the rain on your skin! Embrace the cold! It’s Opening Day at Yankee Stadium!
I can’t truly express how pleased I am to be writing about an actual game rather than off the field decisions and situations – it’s been a while!
Another season of New York Yankees baseball kicked off yesterday on an ugly day at the stadium as CC Sabathia faced former Yankees farm hand Austin Jackson, who was touted as a major prospect before being traded, along with Phil Coke, for my favorite newish Yankee, Curtis Granderson. Predictably, Jackson struck out to start things off – he lead the league in Ks last year and, not to be out done, he added 3 to his early season total yesterday, but also managed a hit. He’s a nice player, and maybe he’ll grow out of his K troubles one day, but for now, I don’t miss him.
Rather than grind you with the minutia of the entire game, lets just hit the highlights and notable players in yesterday’s contest.
CC Sabathia went 6 IP, gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, 7 Ks (thanks again, Jackson), and only 2 ER because of the error on Robinson Cano when he failed to catch a ball at first base that Mark Teixeira pretty much put in his glove for him. CC didn’t have his best stuff and Cano dropped a ball he should have had, but that’s life, I suppose; it was cold and raining, and I’m glad I wasn’t out there watching, neve mind playing. CC is a notoriously slow starter, so any time you win one of his starts in April, you have to be happy.
Granderson was everywhere, making diving or running catches in the outfield and hitting a no doubter off Phil Coke, which is particularly exciting given that Coke is left handed and Granderson’s lifetime numbers are not great off lefties. Coke, of course, is not exactly a great pitcher, but still, seeing the ball out of a lefty’s hand is an issue for Granderson, so any time he does it, I’m happy.
Jeers to Alex Rodriguez (note: I’m not an A-Rod hater, but we have to call him out here) for not running when he thought he hit a home run – he probably could have had a triple instead of settling for a double, but I’m not going to lose my mind over it – it’s the first game and the Yankees won, so I’ll let this pass.
Mark Teixeira hit that monster home run in the third inning; does anyone think for a second that this is the start of Teix actually getting off to a fast start? I do not, but time will tell. In any case, he certainly knocked the crap out of that one.
Cheers to the Yankee bullpen: the combination of Joba Chamberlain, Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera shut the Tigers down for three innings, and their dominance sure made yesterday’s contest look like a 6 inning affair. Obviously, we’re all hoping that Joba’s good 2010 peripheral stats can turn into more success in 2011 and Mo is obviously a god in this town and the Yankees snagged one of the great closers in the game to be the setup man, so you hope you can draw it up like this for a ton of Yankee wins. I think this three headed monster can power this team to a ton of late innings victories, so I think we have a lot more outings from this tandem to look forward to.
A quick word about Justin Verlander: this guy is good. His final line of 6 IP and 3 ERs might not look good, but the 8 Ks and the high velocity on opening day in cold weather was impressive. The one mistake to Teixeira with runners on and his high pitch count from the first inning led to his undoing, but don’t read anything into that. If the Yankees can avoid Verlander for the rest of the year, it’ll be a blessing.
No hits for Derek Jeter yesterday, so no 3000 hit chase update. (He did manage a walk and a run scored.)
BASEBALL IS BACK!