The Yankees had their home opener this afternoon against Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles. It was notable because, not only was it a key divisional matchup of the young season, but it was also the last home opener that will ever be played by The Captain, Derek Jeter. Today’s game ended up being a good one, as the Yankees won 4-2 and moved back over .500 for the year at 4-3. Let’s get to the highlights.
As always, we’re going to start with the star of the day, the starting pitcher. Hiroki Kuroda, making his second start of the season, was just as good as he was the first time out. The elder statesman of this rotation used 92 pitches to go 6.1 innings, and only allowed 2 runs on 8 hits. He also struck out 4 Orioles while walking none. He got a couple of base runners on late and Joe Girardi had to go to the bullpen, but in all, everything worked out. That’s two outings in a row that Kuroda pitches at least 6 innings and allows just 2 runs. We’ll take that all year long, please and thank you.
The bullpen did a wonderful job today as well. When Kuroda got in trouble in the seventh, Girardi went to Matt Thornton to get out of a first and second and one out jam. Thornton got Ryan Flaherty to ground out and Girardi turned to David Phelps, who has been throwing batting practice out there so far this year, to get Jonathan Schoop to end the inning. Despite my personal reservations, Phelps got the job done on an easy grounder back to the mound, and the threat was over. Adam Warren pitched an impressive 8th inning, working around a walk and striking out Adam Jones and Chris Davis back to back. Sean Kelley, the team’s new closer (more on that shortly), pitched an easy, breezy 123 9th inning, and the Yankees had their win.
On offense, the Yankees didn’t exactly hit the lights out, but battled Ubaldo Jimenez all game long. Ubaldo needed 109 pitches to get through just 4.2 innings, and the Yankees worked 5 walks against the hard-throwing righty. The first run scored on a double play by Jeter. The second run scored on a Yangervis Solarte RBI single (after which John Sterling sang ‘Soooolaaaaarte Woooohoooo,’ to the tune of ‘Volare’). This kid just keeps contributing. Later in the game, he just missed a home run, which gave fans an even bigger thrill. A Jacoby Ellsbury single drove in the third run, and the fourth scored on a Kelly Johnson walk. That’s all the Yankees would end up needing. Jeter doubled later in the game to bring his career total to 3,321.
The Yankees got some bad news, however, when David Robertson was placed on the 15-day DL with a grade 1 groin strain. Robertson apparently felt something during Sunday’s game against Toronto, and it wasn’t any better today. Tests revealed the strain, and Robertson hit the list. It’s a shame because he was throwing the ball very well in his first year as Yankees closer, so hopefully he’ll heal quickly and return after just 15 days, or only a little more. One last tidbit from the day, the Yankees officially ended the Eduardo Nuñez era by trading him to the Minnesota Twins for a minor league reliever named Miguel Sulbaran. I wouldn’t have given up more than a back of used batting gloves, so it’s nice that the Yankees got someone for him.
That’s all for today. As always, let’s go Yankees.
Featured image courtesy of: Kathy Willens/AP
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