After months of waiting, Opening Day for the Yankees finally arrived. With a pitching match up of C.C. Sabathia vs James Shields, you knew it was going to be a great game. And it was, despite the fact that the Yankees lost in extra innings. It was actually the first time that the Yankees lost a Opening Day game in extra innings since 1980. So here is a look at some of the good things and the bad things.
1. Raul Ibanez
After a very slow Spring Training, Raul Ibanez showed some signs of life as he hit a 3 run HR off of Shields, to give the Yankees a 6 – 4 lead at the time.
2. Alex Rodriguez
After having another good Spring Training, Alex continued to hit the ball as he ended the day with a walk, a single and a double, while also scoring a couple of runs.
3. David Robertson
David Robertson came in to pitch the 8th inning, and made his Yankees 2012 debut with his famous “Houdini act”. After walking Sean Rodriguez and allowing a single to Carlos Pena, with no outs and 2 men on 1st and 3rd, Robertson struck out the next 3 batters to get out of the inning with the lead. Molina and Joe Maddon did help out David a bit as Molina attempted a suicide squeeze with 2 strikes but ended up fouling off the ball.
There was probably more bad then good in this game, and it is only the 1st game of the season but some of these things are something the Yankees need to watch out for.
1. C.C. Sabathia
Now C.C. did not pitch well today, and neither did James Shields so there is some consolation in that. But its not all bad because as C.C always does, he kept the Yankees in the game and gave them a chance to win. Yes aces should win games, not keep their team “in the game” but C.C. did not really have his fastball command today, he got hit hard. But he still found a way to give us 6 innings and maintain the Rays at 5 runs.
2. Curtis Granderson
Although the Rays had some sort of shift for a lot of the Yankee players, they had one for Curtis Granderson tonight, and it seemed to hurt him because Granderson went 0-5. Hopefully this shift won’t be something that all the teams start using, but if it is, Granderson needs to start working on beating it.
3. The offense with RISP
Once again, the Yankees had quite a few opportunities to get a bigger lead and actually win the game, but they didn’t. They had the bases loaded twice and really didn’t do anything. They ended up 2-11 with RISP and stranded 10 runners. They did this a lot last year, and already this year they are not getting off to a good start. Again, it is only the 1st game of the season, but this is the same problem the Yankees had last year, and they won’t win the WS if they keep leaving RISP.
4. Joe Girardi
Yeah Joe Girardi is in the bad today. Joe usually is a very good manager, but sometimes he over manages. Sometimes he relies too much on his little binder instead of going with his gut. In the 1st inning C.C. got into some trouble. After walking Desmond Jennings, allowing a single to Evan Longoria, with two outs and two on, Joe decides to tell C.C. to intentionally walk Sean Rodriguez to get to Carlos Pena. Why? Because Sean Rodriguez has a higher career avg against C.C. then Carlos. But Carlos is clearly the more dangerous hitter. But instead, Joe went with the numbers and he payed for it, because Carlos ended up hitting a Grand Slam which temporarily gave the Rays a 4-0 lead.
Then there was the 9th inning. Mariano came up and you would expect the Yankees to win the game. But with a 1 run lead anything can happen. And it did. Mariano did not have good command and so he struggled. After a single by Desmond Jennings and then a triple by Ben Zobrist which ended up tying the game, Joe decided to make things more complicated. With no outs, he tells Mo to intentionally walk Evan Longoria AND Luke Scott. So now the bases are loaded and there are no outs. It basically felt like Joe wanted to lose the game. He then decided to take Swisher out of the game and bring in Eduardo Nunez. So now with 5 infielders and 2 outfielders, Mo does manage to strike out Sean Rodriguez, but once again here comes Carlos, and you could just tell the game was over for the Yankees. How could it not be? And of course, Carlos Pena gets the game winning hit, and the Rays win.
5. Mariano Rivera
Yes MO is also in the bad because he blew the save. But it happens.
So there we have it, the good and the bad. The best thing about this game though was that it was a nail bitter from beginning to end. It almost felt like a playoff game, and its only the 1st game of the season. No matter whats happens, baseball is back and we need to enjoy each and every game:)