Wednesday, April 3, 2013

So Much For 162-0, Yankees Look For First Win With Kuroda

I haven't had a chance to write about Monday's dismal opener, though you have listened to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman (as I regretfully did), you would have though the Yankees played better than they did.

I  would like to say things started out well, but former American Idol contestant turned Broadway/Off-Broadway actor/singer Constantine Maroulis absolutely butchered the National Anthem. The rest of the day was followed by short spurts of optimism followed by long stretches of garbage.

CC Sabathia breezed through the first inning and it looked like it was a great day. Then Sabathia got hammered in the second inning for four runs. He lost command of his fastball, which never got above 91 and was at 89 most of the day (per, and couldn't make the big pitch when he needed it. Rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. made his MLB debut and drew a walk in the Sabathia meltdown. He hadn't played above Double-A last year.

Hopefully this is just a matter of building arm strength since Sabathia is still recovering from off-season elbow surgery.  More optimism came in the 4th inning when Francisco Cervelli delivered a two-out, two-run single off starter Jon Lester to cut the lead in half. But the Yankees lineup failed in the clutch the rest of the day.

Down 5-2 in the 7th, Cervelli and Brett Gardner drew lead off walks, but Eduardo Nunez, Robinson Cano, and Kevin Youkilis all struck out. With the game still close in the 9th, Joe Girardi went to Joba Chamberlain to hold the deficit where it was. When Chamberlain caught the inning's lead-off hitter, Will Middlebrooks, looking at a called third strike, Sterling exclaimed "Joba's all the way back!"

Chamberlain then gave up a walk, a hit, issued another walk, a two-run single, and an RBI single. Sterling was right, Joba pretty much pitched like he aways does.

The final indignity was a look at the almost completely empty Yankee Stadium seats when the Yankees came to bat in the bottomof the 9th inning. Yes, it was freezing, the sun had been replaced by darkening clouds and light rain, but had this been a close game and the fans weren't already disappointed before the season started, the place would have still been at last half full.

So after a day off (one of the most ridiculous practices in all of baseball), the fans will freeze their butts off as the second game of the series is played tonight (Wednesday). Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees best starter in 2011, goes against Clay Buchholz, who is 2-5, 7.19 against the Yankees in his career.

Robinson Cano (12-25 1 HR 3 RBI), Lyle Overbay (6-22, 4 BB) have the best numbers, among those still standing, against Buchholz. Kuroda was 2-0, 3.60 in five starts against Boston last year. Both wins came at home when Kuroda limited the Red Sox to five earned runs in 23 innings pitched (1.96 ERA).

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