Yankees flat in Opening Day loss to Red Sox


The Yankees had won eleven consecutive Opening Days at home dating back to 1986 — an MLB record, believe it or not — but that streak is over following the Red Sox’s dismantling of the Bombers on Monday. They out-hit, out-pitched, and out-defensed New York.



Sabathia Struggles On Opening Day
Outside of 2011 against the Tigers (two earned runs in six innings), CC Sabathia has struggled quite a bit on Opening Day as a Yankee. On Monday he allowed four second-inning runs to the Red Sox in his five-inning start, throwing 102 pitches and walking four. He walked four or more just twice last summer (consecutive starts in mid-May).

Outside of that four-run second inning — two walks, two infield singles, two ground balls singles through the hole — the most notable thing about Sabathia’s start was that his velocity was down from last year. PitchFX says he averaged 89.9 mph and topped out at 91.7, compared to 92.5 and 94.1 on Opening Day last year, respectively. It’s worth noting that was in a climate-controlled dome. I suppose this could be the result of his offseason elbow surgery and weirder than usual Spring Training, but it could also be a workload and age thing. Unsurprisingly, Sabathia is not concerned and said he just needs to pitch better going forward. Given his overall velocity drop last summer, it’s worth monitoring. CC is at that age.

Anyway, the good news is that Sabathia’s offspeed stuff, particularly his changeup against Boston’s parade of right-handed hitters, was pretty sharp. He threw 24 of his 33 changeups for strikes and got eleven swings and misses with the pitch, which is pretty awesome. Given his historical struggles on Opening Day and in April in general, I’m willing to write this one off as a mulligan for Sabathia. Obviously he’ll need to hit his midseason stride sooner rather than later this year.



Frankie And The No-Shows
We all know the Yankees’ offense isn’t what it once was, but I don’t think I was prepared for Frankie Cervelli to be the team’s most productive hitter on Opening Day. His two-out, two-strike, bases loaded single (that landed on the foul line) in the fourth was responsible for the team’s only runs on the afternoon. He drew a walk later on as well.

The rest of the lineup didn’t do much of anything. Kevin Youkilis hit a double to start that two-run rally and Vernon Wells was robbed of a double by the third base ump, who incorrectly ruled his hard-hit ground ball foul. Replays showed it hopped over the bag before heading into foul territory. Brett Gardner beat out an infield single for the team’s first hit of the year, Ichiro Suzuki and Travis Hafner slapped some dying quails into right, and Robinson Cano grounded a ball through the infield for a single.

The Yankees had their best chance to get back into the game in the seventh, when Andrew Miller charitably walked the first two batters he faced on eleven total pitches to bring the tying run to the plate. The next three hitters — the 2-3-4 hitters — all struck out to end the threat. That was more of a Red Sox bullpen thing than a bad hitting thing; Miller and Andrew Bailey were throwing some serious heat. Either way, it never felt like New York was on the verge of putting something together offensively.



Cano, the team’s most indispensable player, went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, including one during that ill-fated seventh inning rally. One game doesn’t tell us much, but Robbie saw a ton of breaking balls on the outside corner from the Red Sox. That’s how teams figure to approach him this year given the lack of thump around him.

David Phelps, who is scheduled to start Saturday, was the first reliever out of the bullpen and the first batter he faced hit a leadoff triple. He escaped the jam — Jayson Nix helped him out with a great snag at third to get the runner at home on the contact play — and created another one the next inning before  needing a hand from Boone Logan. Despite pitching an inning and a third, Phelps remains on schedule to start Saturday. No big deal.

Shawn Kelley, who made the roster over David Aardsma because of his ability to throw multiple innings, threw one perfect inning with a strikeout. Joba Chamberlain allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning and the staff as a whole walked eight batters against eight strikeouts. Considering the pitching is supposed to be the strength of the team, this was hardly one for the highlight reel.

On the bright side, the 49,514 fans in attendance set a new record for the largest Opening Day crowd in the relatively short history of the new Yankee Stadium. I guess that’s good news.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are off on Tuesday — the whole “in case Opening Day gets rained out” day off thing — but these same two teams resume the series on Wednesday night. Hiroki Kuroda and Clay Buchholz is your pitching matchup for game two of the season. If you want to attend, check out RAB Tickets.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. Will The Thrill says:

    It’s just one game but it’s hard to feel optimistic about this team even with Tex and Granderson. Coming back in a month If we were barely good enough with Swisher, Martin, Chavez and Ibanez; What does that make us this year?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      “If we were barely good enough with Swisher, Martin, Chavez and Ibanez; What does that make us this year?”

      I have no clue what that even means.

    • Laz says:

      Why do people keep trying to pretend Ibanez was better than he was in the regular season?

  2. forensic says:

    2-9 with RISP.
    2-16 with runners on base.
    Both hits in both situations came in the 4th inning, one of which didn’t score a runner from second, of course.

    Guess it doesn’t matter what kind of hitters they have, they have this type of stuff down to a science.

    • Evan3457 says:

      Except that four of the supposed biggest culprits on that score (A-Rod, Granderson, Tex, and Swisher) weren’t in the lineup. In fact, of the 9 guys in the lineup, only 3 of them were with the team for the majority of 2012.

      • forensic says:

        How is that ‘except’? That’s exactly the point. They have totally different hitters and types of hitters and yet still know how to get the same results.

        And yes, it’s a little exaggeration as all teams can do this, but boy are the Yankees good at it no matter who is there.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

      So .222 w/RISP.
      And .138 w/o RISP.

      This team is clutch!!!!!
      Last year’s team hit worse with RISP than overall.

      • forensic says:

        Well, really it’s .222 w/RISP and .167 w/o runners on (aka bases empty, 4-24). 0-7 with runners on but not in scoring position. 6-33 overall, which is .182.

        So yeah, they’re better with RISP than overall again.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

          Yeah, that last line should have been – Last year’s team hit worse with RISP than w/o RISP.

          It works either way though. I’m counting it as clutch progress.


    • Brian in MA says:

      are we already starting with RISPFAIL after one game? Even if a team wins 95 games, there will be at least 60 or so games there with a complete RISPFAIL.

      • dalelama says:

        The Dalelama Prophesy begins to unfold:

        Opening Day 1965 eerily similar to yesterday:

        04-21-1965 vs Minnesota Twins 2-7 Loss

        1965 here we come…Let’s just hope it doesn’t take 11 years to come back this time around.

  3. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Cano did get robbed by God of Outfield, Jackie Bradley, Jr. Anyone with mere mortal powers wouldn’t have gotten to that.

    I was impressed by Kelley. Hope we got something there.

  4. Michael says:

    minor league thread? I want some good news after today

  5. forensic says:

    Josh Reddick demonstrating very well why I like the Yankees facial hair policy.

  6. El Johnny D says:

    I’m already getting excited for the top 2014 pick.


  7. Yankee Underground says:

    Steinbrenner cursed The Yanks when he plundered and destroyed The House That Ruth Built. The team hasn’t won since it came down since his absurd profanity of a “plaque” went up. Time for The Yanks to make amends.

  8. Mike HC says:

    Poor pitching. Poor hitting. Poor managing. Not a great opening day. Good thing there are 161 more of these to straighten things out though.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      At least we didn’t walk Sean Rodriguez to load the bases.


      • forensic says:

        Walking Saltalamacchia and Bradley Jr. 6!!! times makes up for it.

        And add in 3 hits for Iglesias just to top it all off.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Well, what are you gonna do about those three Iglesias hits?

          That was some Ben Revere shit right there.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          NO! Nothing will be worse. Ever. That’s just shitty pitching. IBBing Sean Rodriguez is shitty living.

          • Dalek Jeter says:

            +1 IBBing Sean Rodriguez is the single reason we didn’t win the World Series last year. I’m not even being facetious, I truly believe this.

            • Cool Lester Smooth says:

              My little bro’s been watching a lot of Doctor Who, so I finally get the joke!

              Gotta ask, though. Eccleston, Smith or Tennant?

              • Dalek Jeter says:

                This is really tough for me, but it’s gotta be:
                1a. Eccleston
                1b. Tennant
                1c. Smith

                But the difference between the 3 is miniscule.

                • Cool Lester Smooth says:

                  I pretty much agree, I think Eccleston’s the best actor of the bunch, but from what I’ve seen of the old ones Tennant might be the most Doctor-y.

                  • Dalek Jeter says:

                    Yeah, old school Whovians seem to all think that Tennant was the most Doctory, also his story is just awesome. He grew up idolizing the 4th Doctor, which made him want to get into acting, and actually married 4′s daughter (I think it was 4′s) while 4 was working as an EP on the show while Tennant was the 10th Doctor.

  9. Now Batting says:

    Well that game sucked. Hopefully it’s not a harbinger. Yankees can’t afford to get off to a slow start this year.

  10. Eddard says:

    This was one game of 162. The only reason it’s getting blown up is because it’s the first game. If it were June 1st and the team was flat nobody would care. The Astros looked like world beaters in their opener. It doesn’t mean anything.

    If you include A-Rod, the lineup is without its 1,4,5,6 hitters so we need to be patient with this club. Let’s maybe give them more than one game before we declare them dead.

    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      You’re the best, Eddard.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      There’s times I actually do want to hug you. This is one of them.

    • @NotJackCurry says:

      Nice looking at the glass half full.

      But the fans leaving the game early know that this is a .500 team at best, even with the missing players.

      Team getting old and no prospects to bring up.

      Back to the 80′s, and time for the “Yankees fan” to jump ship!

      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Have fun!

      • Snappy Handle says:

        Just one “Yankee fan” jumping ship? I can deal with that. And what are the 80′s you refer to? You wouldn’t be talking about the decade of the ’80s, would you? You’re obviously not Jack Curry. He, at least, has some familiarity with the English language.

        • @NotJackCurry says:

          As early as the seventh inning, with the Yankees being thrashed and a cold wind spitting rain in the faces of shivering fans, there was no hesitation to bolt for the exits.

          As Vernon Wells eloquently said (although he ain’t no Jack Curry):
          “At the end, it was ugly out, on the field and off,” he said. “I don’t blame them for heading home a little early.”

      • Rob G says:

        @NotJackCurry is trolling again- making that statement after one game is crazy! Granderson and Tex are certainly better than Francisco and Nix/Overbay. @NotJackCurry making JBJ an all star after one game – too funny

        • @NotJackCurry says:

          Jealous that NYY does not have a prospect like JBJ?

          Good luck…..you will never see Mason or Healthcock!

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            The Red Sox finished in last place last season and hot-shotted a guy from AA to the majors to start the season.

            By the time 2014 rolls around, the Yanks would probably be able to do just that, should they want to, and without the “benefit” of finishing last the previous season.

            Go pahk your cah at Harvahd Yahd.

            • @NotJackCurry says:

              Who does NYY have to bring up in 2014?

              There are people posting here to pick up cuts from other teams!

              As Axisa tweeted today……there re no young NYY that they should lock up long term (one of the rare tweets from him that makes sense).

          • Cool Lester Smooth says:


            Bullpen Banter and Fangraphs both have Sanchez and Williams above JBJ.

            BA has Williams one spot below JBJ.

            Sickels has Sanchez one spot below JBJ.

            JBJ is what Tyler Austin will hopefully be next year, a safe solid prospect who will be a good major league player. But no one outside of Boston thinks he’ll ever be a star.

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              Williams, Sanchez, or Heathcott….hell, we’ll throw in Flores. Any one of them could have a hot spring next year and, if the team decided to (and I’m guessing they don’t), they could do what Boston is doing with Bradley right now.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Usually, when I’m at games, what the fans leaving the game early know is that waiting too long makes getting on a D train back into the city a real fucking bitch.

        Feel free to jump off a ship, a bridge, train, etc.

        • @NotJackCurry says:

          Just like the fans will be jumping off the NYY bandwagon.

          • Cool Lester Smooth says:

            So, which branch of the Green Line are you on?

          • Mike Axisa says:

            Who cares? Let them. Says more about them as fans than it does about the team.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            You underestimate Yankee fans. Immensely.

            • I'm not the droids you're looking for.... says:

              I sort of disagree, having sat through lots of 17000 (paid!) attendance games in my life back when you were allowed to wander around and sit just about anywhere as long as there wasn’t already a body in the seat (and even then…)

              I remember one game when I sat in each of the 4 corner seats of the upper deck, and another where I sat in every seat in the last row of the upper deck, because I could, and, the games were…less than enthralling. Sort of like yesterday.

              Look, time will tell, but many people have been very spoiled by this team for a very long time. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me in the least if we see a material drop in attendance if this team is hovering around .500 at the ASB. There’s obviously a built in cushion owed to all the season ticket sales, so it will take time to trickle down into a big drop in paid attendance. At the very least the butts in seats I think are likely to noticeably decline if this team just limps along.

      • trr says:

        Let ‘em go!

  11. JMK says:

    This might be crazy, but hear me out. The Marlins DFA’d 2010 first round draft pick Zack Cox yesterday. His prospect shine is long gone, but perhaps the third baseman might be worth a look. On the plus side, Cox close to the majors and is (was?) said to have a plus-hit tool. In 2011, he put up respectable numbers in AA (.293/.355/.432). He’s been a BA Top 100 prospect for the last few years.

    There are obvious warts, namely that his defense is average at best and his power profile is low for a corner infielder. A lot of talent evaluators are down on him. Plus, he has a major league contract. Oh, and he just got DFA’d from the Marlins after shitting the bed in AAA last year (254/.294/.421). Even the Marlins are down on him.

    But then again, the Yankees recently DFA’d David Adams and re-signed him. I always thought of the DFA as a “warning, do not purchase if seal is broken” label, but who knows anymore.

    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Sounds like someone the Astros might want.

    • Bob Buttons says:

      DFA merely means they think higher of the players they would be acquiring.

    • Nice Guy Eddie says:

      If they’re going to go after scrubs, I’d like to think that they’d at least try to identify guys that have done something(i guess at this point, anything) in the big leagues rather than retread, flame-out prospects who have been DFA’d by the Marlins, whose 3b is Placido Polanco.

  12. Anthony says:

    Bad playing aside, boy did I miss these game recaps. Sounds corny but I always save reading them until after classwork and what not. Good way to end the night.

  13. i like bacon says:

    they looked dead, no energy, bring up the kids, the red sox did…………………………………

    • Pat D says:

      Yea, that whole one.

      • FIPster Doofus says:

        The underdog Red Sox are undefeated because Napoli, Victorino, Gomes, Dempster and Hanrahan are just kids who don’t know any better.

      • i like bacon says:

        yes one this year, middlebrooks hasnt palyed a full year yet.
        there going to suck with this group. so you might as well bring them up. ben francisco?????????really…..hafner cant even play the field hes a waste of a roster spot. mason williams instead of wells, heathcott instead of boech. the game is for the young
        its time.

        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          You do realize that the players you’re listing have never played above A-ball, right? Middlebrooks was tearing up AAA when he was called up and JBJ played the entire second half of last season in AA.

          The kids will play when they’re better options than the stop gaps. Right now they aren’t, so they won’t and they shouldn’t.

        • Now Batting says:

          Ya the Yankees need to bring up 20 year old players like the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez. That’s the franchise the Yankees should be emulating.

          • i like bacon says:

            yoall be crying by june. the stopgaps aint stopping anything. dont want to be so argumentive but as they are today cant be no worse then giving some of the kids a chance to step up. just my opinion and i hope things get better.

            • WhittakerWalt says:

              You ACTUALLY think “bring up the kids” is a winning strategy? Or is this meta-trolling?

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              Are you willing to have the type of season the Red Sox had last season? Answer that.

              • WhittakerWalt says:

                It’s so easy to say that from an objective, detached perspective. Then the 10-game losing streaks start adding up, the fans don’t come, the games become unwatchable, and you end the year at 60-102. No sale.

  14. i like bacon says:

    hey joe, ichiro batting 7th??????????????????????????????

  15. rogue says:

    This is the worst Yankees team I’ve seen since the early 1990s.

    That lineup card was absolute garbage – has-beens and journeymen.

    All this for $230 mil!

  16. DealBreaker says:

    Uhh I was at Opening Day 2009 and the Yankees got murdered by the Indians.

  17. dc1874 says:

    1998…. 1-4 to start season…enough said….

    • I'm not the droids you're looking for.... says:

      1998: a way better team, deeper roster, and productive farm

      I agree that 0-1 is nothing to get excited about but pointing to the slow start by the 1998 team isn’t what I’d call a fair comp :)

  18. Captain says:

    Axisa, your stat to start the post is wrong. they lost in 2009 in the first game at YS3.

    • forensic says:

      That was the home opener, but not overall opening day at home. That’s the stat Mike’s referring to, which is pretty limited but it is what it is.

  19. Jim Cavanaugh says:

    I may not agree with Bacon’s method of delivery, but some of the context is fair; Once Granderson went down there really should have been a short trial period for either Slade, Austin or Williams to get a shot up here. I understand their lack of experience in the minors is a legit point but what’s the difference it’s not as if the team’s minor league success in the past 10 years is so sterling it’s not worth looking into. These guys are 21 or 22 it may do them some good to get a taste of the game up here.

    One thing for sure, it def. makes more sense than throwing a bunch of money at Vernon Wells. Once the team drew the line in the sand about not going after FA’s this year they should have stuck to it, or at least not broken their word to spend it on that guy. I know it’s just one game, but there is def. a cloud hanging over this team and u can see it. I am hoping for the best, but it’s hard to see this going in a positive direction as the season gets going.

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