Well, you can’t plan it out much better than that. Today’s game is really how this team is built to win.
On the Mound
Okay, CC wasn’t fantastic. He rarely is in April. I’ve seen much worse Sabathia starts in April. Much worse. The big guy was at least pretty good over six frames, giving up two earned runs and a third due to Cano’s dropped ball at first base (weird error, huh?). Sabathia struck out seven and kept the ball pretty tame (a lot of groundballs and weak flyouts), so that was very good to see early on.
As for the bullpen, well, it did what we’ve all anticipated over the winter. Joba entered in the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning and picked up the win. Soriano made his Yankee debut in nice fashion, also hurling a perfect inning in the eighth, and Mo did what Mo does. Grandfather Time and Mother Nature are simply not in his family tree. I was impressed to see him sitting at 91 on the gun today with his cutter. For a cold day when the ball travels more slowly, and especially so early on in the season, that’s nice to see from the aging vet. Each Yankee reliever recorded a strikeout in his inning, which is largely what this bullpen is built on.
At the Plate
Teix and Granderson both hit homers, which is a good sign of things to come, Granderson’s because he hit it off a lefty with two hands on the bat (part of the adjustment he worked on with Kevin Long), and Teix’s because of his notorious April struggles. Of course, today was the last day of March, but the point remains the same for those of you out there ready to jump on mistakes. A-Rod missed a homer by a couple of feet and foolishly did his watch-me-look-into-the-Yankee-dugout thing before not really hustling and winding up with a double when the ball stayed in the park.
One guy I was really impressed with was Russell Martin. He ripped a two-strike hit into left, scored twice, and did very well on the bases. That swipe of third was his own decision to run, not the bench’s, because Jeter didn’t follow him from first base (little league mistake, by the way). He seems to be healthy and feeling great, and I really do think he could turn out to be the underrated move of the offseason by Cashman.
In the Field
How bout that Curtis Granderson, eh? Two sparklers on a day he might not have played. I was especially happy to see the second catch that he went back on, because YES showed a great shot of his reaction right off the bat. Grandy’s been criticized in the past for not taking the greatest routes to balls in the outfield, but he jumped in the right direction the second the ball left the bat to make that play. Even Mo showed some surprise on his face.
Silly error by Cano, but who really cares? Even the pros drop the ball sometimes.
All in all, an excellent first game. The Yanks will play again on Saturday when they send A.J. Burnett out to the bump. Hold onto your seats, ladies and gents. Thanks for tuning in today. More tomorrow.