Opening week could have been better.
Apr 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees starting pitcherMasahiro Tanaka
(19) throws a ball during the first inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
April 1st- In painful fashion, the Yankees lost their debut game of their 2014 season to the miserable Houston Astros. In the first game on April 1st, C.C. Sabathia gave up six runs in the first two innings, including a pair of solo home runs to Jesus Guzman and L.J. Hoes. Sabathia did manage to settle down and pitch four scoreless innings, but his initial fifty pitches put a damper on the day. While the Astros’ bats showed up, the Yanks’ lumber slumbered, only managing 2 hits off of starter Scott Feldman. However, the team did score two runs in the eighth inning of a 6-2 losing effort.
April 2nd- Both teams scored exactly half of their runs the previous day (Yanks lose, 3-1). Yet, the Yankees’ pitching was pretty solid throughout the day, limiting the ‘Stros to four hits. Unfortunately, two of those hits were home runs by Dexter Fowler and Matt Dominguez. Hiroki Kuroda started the game, lasting six innings. David Phelps, Matt Thornton, and Shawn Kelley combined for two innings in relief. Even though the Yankees had seven hits, only one was an extra-base hit: a double by Carlos Beltran. Jarred Cosart pitched 5 innings for Houston.
April 3rd- Finally, the first win of the year! The Yankees avoid the sweep by beating the Astros 4-2. Ivan Nova pitched 5.2 innings, surrendering two runs on 88 pitches, and David Robertson eventually earned the first save of the post-Mo era. But the big story was Yangervis Solarte‘s outstanding first major league start. He went 3-3 with two singles and a double, while manning third base. Ichiro Suzuki also contributed with two hits. Brett Oberholtzer was saddled with the loss.
April 4th- Masahiro Tanaka finally made his long-awaited start in North America. He pitched seven strong innings in a 7-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, hopefully the first of many more. Tanaka also struck out eight. The Yankees had an offensive explosion, too, amassing sixteen hits. Jacoby Ellsbury and Ichiro both had 3 hits, while Solarte knocked in 3 RBI. Ellsbury also stole two bases.
April 5th- In Michael Pineda‘s Yankee debut, the big righty pitched well, going six strong innings, with five strikeouts, and only one earned run surrendered. The hitting struggled again, however, losing to knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and the rest of the Jays, 4-0. Ellsbury had another 3 hit night, Solarte had 2 hits, Francisco Cervelli had 2 hits at catcher, and that was the entirety of the offense generated. David Phelps had another rough outing, giving up two homers in two innings. His season ERA sits at a sky-high 10.80.
Just a thought- The defending champion Miami Heat played the hapless Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA season opener this season, and lost. A huge upset to say the least, but the contest made no difference on the rest of the year. The Heat are once again among the top of the Eastern Conference, while the 76ers earned a dubious distinction after tying the record for most consecutive losses. Things happen, but the first few games are by no means a harbinger for rough times. There are still more than 150 games to go, and the Yankees better get ready for them.