Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes their team to get off to an 0-2 start. That being said, however, I’m not quite ready to pack in the season just yet. Yes, the Yankees lost 3-1 to the Astros in game two, and are now 0-2 against the worst team in the league, but it’s not all bad!
If I’m taking one huge positive from last night’s game, it’s the performance of Hiroki Kuroda. It took him one batter to put the Yankees in a 1-0 deficit (a home run by that pesky Dexter Fowler), but Kuroda settled in nicely after that, throwing 91 pitches over six innings and only allowing two runs on three hits. Oddly enough, those three hits were Fowler’s home run, and triples by Fowler and Robbie Grossman. In a normal stadium, those triples are probably doubles, and that second run by Fowler might not have scored, so I was encouraged by this early performance. I also liked that the Yankees took him out of the game after six innings and those 91 pitches. Sure, he probably could have pitched another inning, and gotten up to 100 or 105 pitches, but he has tired late in the last two seasons. Pulling him and going to the bullpen in the seventh was the right move and, moving forward, the best way to keep Kuroda fresher for longer (like those Vacu-Seal bags!).
The Yankees are not hitting, which I find to be a much better problem to have than if they weren’t pitching well. That being said, this lineup is full of quality hitters, so I know they’re going to hit. It’s more important to get the pitching going. If they do that, those Ls will soon turn to Ws. I’m fairly confident about that. There are a couple of guys that do look good at the plate, and I’ll single out Carlos Beltran and Brian Roberts here. Roberts had three singles last night (one from the right side, one from the left) and Beltran had an opposite field double. He’s swinging the bat well, even if he hasn’t had the best results.
There are lots of negatives to the Yankees 0-2 start…obviously. The big problem last night was that the Yankees went 0-10 with runners in scoring position, blowing several opportunities to tie the game and even take the lead. Jacoby Ellsbury, who missed most of the spring battling a tight calf, has not looked good, but I guess I didn’t really expect him to have his legs under him just yet. Mark Teixeira failed with runners on base multiple times last night, leaving four men on base and striking out three times, so he should probably work on that for next game. The worst part about him so far has been his defense, though. He threw a ball away in game one and booted a hard grounder (a play he should make) for a run scoring error in the third inning of this game. Soriano has looked terrible, but he battled the flu and a bum shoulder in spring too. Joe Girardi has also made some questionable early decisions, like pinch hitting Yangervis Solarte with first and third and nobody out in the seventh. I know you don’t want to lose the backup catcher, but I’d much rather have had Cervelli in there, and not Solarte in his first big league plate appearance. Solarte’s double play scored a run, but also killed the rally.
Anyway, I did read an interesting fact yesterday; The Yankees haven’t been held to two runs or less in the first two games of the season since 1998.a They started 0-3 that year, and then won 114 games. All the same, I’d still rather see a win today. Let’s go!
Featured image courtesy of: Pat Sullivan/AP
- http://www.riveraveblues.com/2014/04/two-games-two-losses-yanks-fall-3-1-to-astros-101258/ (back)
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