Apr
02

Opening Day: It’s live blog time

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The problem about Opening Day, as Steve illustrated earlier, is that most of us are at work and cannot view the proceedings. Thankfully for me, and now thankfully for you, I’ll be watching the game from the comfort of my living room couch.

Keep checking back for updates. I’ll try to be as detailed as possible.

Top of the 1st
Here comes the first pitch..juuuust a bit outside, ball one, and the season is underway. The rollcall is BOOMING from the right field bleachers, quite the warming sound. And there’s Crawford, slapping a single between Jeter and A-Rod to open the season with a hit.

Pavano opens with a strike this time to Zobrist. Four pitches, and they’ve all looked in or close to the zone. Ball one on another close pitch; Crawford was moving, but Jorge couldn’t make the transfer. Good 3-2 pitch by Pavano, in on the hands of Zobrist. He fouled it off to stay alive; the pitch, on the YES gun, was 92…STRIKE THREE SWINGING! Fastball tailing away, 91 on the inflated gun.

Another first pitch strike, this time to Rocco Baldelli, DHing today. Deeeeep fly on the second pitch. Matsui tracked it down on the warning track; Crawford advanced to third.

And the boo bird come out early. On the first pitch, Ty Wiggington popped one sky-high in foul territory by third base. Alex — with the socks hiked — misplayed it, so we’re at 0-1. Wiggington dinked one back to Pavano, over to Phelps and that ends the half-inning. One hit, one error, no runs.

Bottom of the 1st
First pitch strike from Kazmir to Damon. Damon answers Crawford by slapping one between Upton and Wiggington for a leadoff single.

Low and in to Jeter (looked like a slider), 1-0. Line drive foul (out of play) to the first base side. Jete inside outs one to right field; Delmon Young moves into the corner, makes the catch, one down.

Here’s Bobby Abreu, who takes the first pitch at the bottom of the zone for strike one. I’m pretty sure that he didn’t even think about swinging at that. Good heater on the low outside corner, moving the count to 0-2. Kazmir wastes one in the dirt, 1-2. Well outside, 2-2. Gotta love Abreu’s approach. Line drive to left, base hit for Abreu. Damon only moves to second.

And they’re going crazy for Alex Rodriguez! First and second, one out. A hit here will certainly leave a favorable impression. In the dirt for ball one, as the Yankee fans chant “Let’s Go A-Rod.” I’m loving this! Low in the zone for strike one. Way inside for ball two. I can’t say enough (and Mike agrees) how much I love the hiked socks. High strike that had Alex locked up a bit, 2-2. Inside, 3-2. Good at bat by A-Rod. He took every pitch so far, and the strikes were borderline. Ah, nuts. Strikeout on a low and away pitch. A little booing, but as I said, it was a good at bat. Double steal on the play, so we have second and third with two outs.

Giambi’s up, and quickly takes a strike, followed by two out of the zone. Way low and out, 3-1. So you either walk Giambi or give him something to crush. Liner to center! Two runs score! Yanks up 2-0!

Inside to Matsui, 1-0. In the dirt, 2-0. Girardi just suggested that Kazmir should have thrown a slider on 3-1 to try and get Giambi to swing and miss. Easy to say that in hindsight. Outside, 3-0. D’oh! Hideki pounds a probably ball four into the dirt foul, 3-1. Fastball on the low outside corner, 3-2. Heh, Giambi’s going with the pitch. Doesn’t he look like a cartoon when he runs? Fouled off to the left side. Low and inside, ball four to Matsui. First and second, two outs.

Jim Hickey, Devil Rays pitching coach, is out to the mound to counsel the troubled-looking Kazmir. Mike notes that he looks lost out there. Low, 1-0 to Posada. Swing and a miss by Jorge on a pitch outside, 1-1. Way outside, 2-1. Big swing and a miss on another pitch reasonably outside, 2-2. Popped up behind first, Upton has it, and we’re done with the first. 2-0 Yanks, baby!

Top of the 2nd
Rookie sensation Delmon Young pops to center on the first pitch (well, the first one they showed us), one down.

Low to Iwamura, 1-0. Fouled off to the seats on the left side, 1-1. Swing and a miss on the outside half, 1-2. Pavano is working quickly, MUCH quicker than Kazmir. Low with the sinker, 2-2. Little slapper to Jeter…and the throw gets away from him. In the dirt and past Phelps. The Captain gets an E to match Alex’s. Iwamura advances.

Up now is former Yankee farmhand (how many players can you say that about? A ton). Pavano opens up with two out of the zone. Strike one slightly above the belt on the outside edge. Called strike two on a pitch tailing back in over the inside corner. Sinker popped out of play, still 2-2. Off the outside edge, 3-2. Popped to short. Jeter takes a few steps back on the outfield grass and makes the catch. Two down.

Elijah Dukes up now, and boy does he look like a scary dude. Up and out, 1-0. And there’s a strike, 1-1. Ooh, inside pitch called a ball — but I disagree. Dukes fouls one off his instep, 2-2. Yankee Stadium is starting to get a bit loud. Pavano let that one slip WAY outside, 3-2. Missed inside again, and we’ve got first and second with two outs for B.J. Upton.

Ground ball under the glove of Jeter. Iwamura scores (unearned), Dukes to third, Upton ends up at first. 2-1 Yanks.

And Crawford pops to center on the first pitch to end the threat.

Bottom of the 2nd
Cano leads it off and takes strike one. He drives a high pitch out of play to the left side, and it’s quickly 0-2. Strike three called, outside corner a little lower than the waist.

Ball one to Phelps. He blows a chance at a 2-0 count by reaching for a pitch well outside, 1-1. Inside, 2-1. Kazmir continues to work slowly. Way outside, 3-1. Ball four driven foul to the right side. And he walks.

Low and out to Damon, 1-0. Biiiig hack, and it’s popped up right at the plate. Wiggington in, and that’ll be the second out.

Jeter hacks at the first pitch and pops it foul out of play to the right side, 0-1. Foul tip, 0-2. And Jeter gets hit in the foot and takes his base. Ouch…it was the heater right on the shin.

Outside corner to Abreu, 0-1. Way inside, 1-1. And Bobby bounces to third, the throw to first is in time, and we’re done with the second. Bobby Murcer set to join the Yankees booth for the third.

Top of the 3rd
Three straight balls to Zobrist, followed by a floater for strike one. He fouls off the next pitch to the seats on the left side, count full. Another foul. And he grounds to short, Jeter to first, and we have one out.

First pitch to Baldelli is high and tight, 1-0. High and outside strike, 1-1. Outside, 2-1. Baldelli pops up to first, Phelps tracks it down, and we have two down.

Wiggington late on a fastball, fouled to the right side, 0-1. And he grounds it to third. A-Rod flips to first, and Pavano works his first 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom of the 3rd
Two big swings and misses by Alex, and he’s down 0-2. He holds up on a pitch in the dirt, 1-2. Another check swing (a bit closer this time) on an inside pitch, 2-2. Alex looks kinda clueless up there. He rips one to Zobrist at short, and he’s down for out No. 1.

Called strike to Giambi, 0-1. Big swing on a pitch in the dirt and outside, 0-2. Giambi is one of the few guys I don’t mind having an 0-2 count. Oooh, just missed the outside edge, 1-2. Kazmir is working considerably quicker now. Called strike three at the knees, and there are a quick two outs.

Inside fastball to Matsui, 1-0. He hacks at the next pitch and dinks one to Wiggington at first, and Kazmir answers with his own 1-2-3 frame.

Top of the 4th
Pitch slightly outside to Delmon Young, 1-0. Strike that dips low in the zone, 1-1. Ha! Pavano had Young all sorts of fooled with an inside pitch, check swing, went around, 1-2. Grounder just barely foul down the third base line. High heat, and Delmon Young strikes out on a pitch at his shoulders, one down.

Two quick balls to Iwamura. High and outside for ball three. And that’s high for ball four.

First pitch, Navarro shatters his bat and bounces into a double play, 6-4-3.

Bottom of the 4th
Posada fans at a pitch out of the zone outside, 0-1. Another outside pitch, but Jorge drives it! High…deep…GONE! 3-1, Yanks!

Cano hacks at the first pitch and sends it to left. Crawford settles in just shy of the warning track and makes the catch, one down.

Phelps takes a big swing and fouls one back, 0-1. Inside, and Phelps works it to 1-1. A wild pitch low by Kazmir, 2-1. Phelps seems anxious to get a hit out there, but he’s definitely displaying some patience. Low and outside, 3-1. We’ll take those walks, Joshy. Biiiiig swing and a miss on a pitch off the plate outside, so once again he takes the potential ball four. Another ball four, but this time Phelps pops it out of play to the right side. Way outside, and Phelps walks again despite his attempts to make an out.

Kazmir is working much slower again. High to Damon, 1-0. There’s a strike. Fouled back by Damon, 1-2. Inside, 2-2. Kazmir looks to speed things up. No, he’s still taking his time. Low, 3-2. Doubt they’ll send Phelps. Just off the plate low and inside, and Damon works a walk.

Navarro sets up inside to Jeter, and the pitch grazes the outside edge, 0-1. Jeter fouls one off to the right side, 0-2. Oh, that was crap. Well low and outside pitch, and the ump delays in ringing up Jete. The replay shows it was clearly below his knees.

Nice discipline on a check swing by Abreu, 1-0. And then he bounces to Wiggington on the next pitch to end the frame. 3-1, Yanks.

Top of the 5th
Ah, nuts. Elijah Dukes just took Pavano deep to center field. 3-2, Yanks.

Upton takes the first pitch up the middle for a single, and the bullpen becomes active.

Pitch taken outside to Crawford, 1-0. Upton swipes a bag (bad throw by Jorge, but he probably didn’t have a chance anyway) on a pitch low by Pavano, 2-0. Gator comes out for a visit, which lasts about three seconds. Crawford fouls one back, 2-1. Henn and Bruney are the ones throwing in the pen. Ground ball through the right side, base hit, scoring Upton, 3-3. DAMMIT! Phelps displays Giambi-esque throwing skills. They had Crawford stuck between first and second, and Phelps overthrew Jeter. No outs, man on second, tie game.

Zobrist bunts foul, 0-1. Low 1-1. Nice! The ball hit Zobrist in fair territory, and he’s called out. Yep, the replay shows it clearly. Oh, and he stepped on home plate. Nice job, Zobrist. And finally, there’s an out.

Ah, man! Pavano with a sloooow pickoff move to second, and it still almost nailed Crawford. Baldelli slaps one into left, and Crawford is just too fast. 4-3, D-Rays. Carl Pavano, please take a seat. He gets a lukewarm reception, which must be nice, all things considered.

We’ve lost sound on YES (probably a good thing), and here’ Brian Bruney. Wiggington with a BIG swing and miss following a first-pitch strike, and its’ 0-2. Another biiiig swing and miss, and Wiggington is out while Baldelli steals second.

And it pays off. First pitch single by Delmon Young, and Baldelli Scores. 5-3, D-Rays.

Freakin’ finally! Jorge throws out a stealing Young, and we’re done here in the top of the fifth.

Bottom of the 5th
Way high and out to Alex, 1-0. Kazmir looks to be tiring, as he’s missed a lot of spots. Ooh, Alex swings and misses on a fat pitch. He pops up the 1-1 pitch to right, and there’s one down.

Giambi fouls off the first pitch, 0-1. Fouled again off the fists, 0-2. And he bounces it back to Kazmir, two down. Very strange how Giambi swung at all three offerings.

Here’s Matsui. Waist high fastball in there for a strike, 0-1. Low and away for a ball, 1-1. Fouled away to the left side, 1-2. Ouch. Matsui whiffs on a pitch well below his knees. End of five frames, 5-3 Devil Rays.

Top of the 6th
Sean Henn in to start the inning, and Melky is in center. Uh, is there something wrong with Johnny? Henn starts off to Iwamura, low and away, 1-0. Fouled back, 1-1. Another foul back, and it’s 1-2. Away and in the dirt, but Iwamura held up, 2-2. He’s late on an outside offering, but manages to foul it off to keep the count at 2-2. And again. Low, and we’re full. He slaps one into left for a leadoff single.

Sorry, the site went down. But I kept the live blog going!
Strike pretty much down the middle to Navarro. Outside while Navarro faked a bunt, 1-1. He’s hitting 94 on the YES gun, just to give a comparison to Pavano. Low and away while Navarro shows bunt again, 2-1. He’s swinging on 2-1, and it’s another 6-4-3 double play.

Dukes is back at the plate. A ball and two strike, and Dukes whales one to deep right (warning track), but Abreu makes the catch, and we’re done here in the Devil Rays half of the sixth.

Bottom of the 6th
Sean Camp is warming in the bullpen, and the Yanks would sure like to see him. Wild high and out to Jorge, evening the count at 1-1. On the inside corner, 1-2. Low, 2-2. Pitch No. 98 is also high and out, 2-2.

Damon Update: hamstrings cramps. Hopefully that’s not code for something more serious.

Jorge fouls off a 3-2 pitch that would have been ball four, but he makes up for it by driving a single between Zobrist and Iwamura.

Kazmir goes 1-1 on Cano, and is over the 100 pitch mark. Low, ball two. Big swing and a tapper foul, 2-2. Cano sticks his bat out and fouls one off, still 2-2. Base hit to right! Posada stays at second. You have to think Kazmir will leave the game now…Yep. Here’s Joe Maddon. Good timing, too, as Phelps comes in. Does Joe pinch-hit Minky here? I sure hope not.

Okay, I like Minky just a little bit more; he just came up to “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica. And he bunts on the first pitch, moving runners to second and third with one out for Melky.

Melky gets plunked on the first pitch, and the bases are juiced for Captain Clutch. Incidentally, the sacrifice by Minky lowered the Yanks chances of winning the game by one percent. Just to put the sac bunt in perspective.

Strike one to Jeter. Low and away, 1-1. Well outside, 2-1. The 2-1 is low and inside (borderline call, but I like it), 3-1. Up the middle! Tie game! De-rek Je-ter! (Clap, clap, clap clap clap)

Big looping curveball by Stokes taken inside and low by Abreu, 1-0. Fouled back, 1-1. Abreu hit one deep, but in the park. Melky stumbles! And he can’t get back in time, double play, inning over. But we tied it up, baby!

Top of the 7th
“Where Players Become Legends” is a MUCH better slogan than “Looking Back, Looking Forward,” so a thumbs up to the YES crew for that. Luis Vizcaino in now for the Yanks. The Yankees are very grateful for the day off tomorrow…

Outside to Upton, who showed bunt, 1-0. Upton lifts a high and outside pitch to center, one out. Still mad at Melky.

Crawford sticks his bat out on the first pitch and pops out to Matsui, two down.

Strike one to Zobrist. It’s really a wonder why he’s batting second. And he pops to center, and we’re done on five pitches.

Bottom of the 7th
Let’s see what Alex can do here. Wild inside and high, 1-0. Another wild high pitch, 2-0. That’s a SHOT off the glove of Zobrist. I’d give him a base hit. Great looking swing there; he didn’t roll over his ankle like he did so many times last year.

Giambi fouls off the first pitch, 0-1. On a ball low and in, Alex got a good jump and swiped second. 1-1 count. Base hit to right by Giambi, and Alex scores! 6-5, Yanks.

And there’s one out of the zone to Matsui, 1-0. Bah. He got under one and popped it right to Crawford in left.

Nice curve to Posada, 0-1. Stokes leaves on high, and it’s 1-1. Fouled back by Posada, 1-2. Line drive by Jorge, but Young tracks it down, and even nearly doubled Giambi off first.

I guess that pitch was outside to Cano (looked good), 1-0. Another nice hook, 1-1. And he pops one up off the hands. Upton glides back and makes the catch, and we’re finished with the 7th. 6-5, Yanks.

Top of the 8th
Farnsworth in, even though Vizcaino threw just five pitches in the seventh. Did he hike up his socks last year? Anyway, it’s 1-1 to Baldelli, and Farnsworth delivers a pitch low in the zone to go ahead, 1-2. Dammit, that’s a slider, 2-2. Suh-wing and a miss, one down. That one had some downward motion.

Strrrike one on the outside edge to Wiggington. Ball one outside. Another slider outside, 2-1. Popped out of play to the right side, 2-2. I’m calling for the high heat. But he throws off-speed, and Wiggington singles up the middle.

Delmon Young pops up to Cano on the first pitch, two down.

Iwamura up, and he takes two quick balls, 2-0. And he dinks it to Cano, to Minky and we’re headed for Mo!

Bottom of the 8th
Minky with a slow roller to second, and he’s safe at first for his first hit of the season.

Low and in to Melky, 1-0. And he sacrifices Minky to second. WPA before the play: .907. WPA afterwards: .901. We break for a pitching change.

Jete fouls off the first pitch back and to the right, 0-1. Juan Salas is pitching. Low, 1-1. In the dirt and almost away from Navarro; Minky stays put, 2-1. He grounds to third, and is thrown out by a half-step at first. Two down.

Fastball tails back across the plate, and it’s 0-1 to Abreu. Up and away, 1-1. Inside pitch sliced foul, 1-2. Low, 2-2. There’s a liner to left! Crawford fumbles with it for a second as Minky rounds third. The throw…the play at the plate…Juuuuuust safe! The bobble and a very high throw let Minky score, and we’re up 7-5.

Next pitch, Alex goes YARD, and it’s 9-5. Say what you will about him, and how he hit that with a lead, but dammit, that just sealed the deal.

In my frantic IMing, texting, and updating following the homer, I’ve missed Giambi at bat. It’s 2-2. And Giambi pops to center. Dukes makes the catch, and we’re to the ninth.

Top of the 9th
Regardless of the score, here comes Mo. Oh, how I wish I was at the Stadium today, screaming my lungs out for Mariano.

1-0 to Navarro. He whiffs on a pitch at his shoulders, 1-1. Grounder foul to the first base side, 1-2. Suh-wing and a miss, one down.

Steeee-rike one to Dukes. Swing and a miss, and he’s down 0-2. He barely holds up on a pitch by his eyes, 1-2. Welcome to the big leagues, Elijah! Swing and a miss, and there’s two down.

First pitched fouled off by another rook, B.J. Upton. He takes the next two inside, 2-1. Called strike two on the outside edge, and the Stadium is going nuts. Called strike three! The Yankees Win!

Categories : Game Stories