It wasn’t pretty, or especially impressive, but it was a win. The Yankee offense hasn’t started rolling yet, though Jason Giambi is looking a heck of a lot better than he did at this time last year. Kevin Brown was excellent again, and has been as good as Mike Mussina has been bad. Mariano Rivera allowed three hits and a run in the ninth, but escaped disaster when Brook Fordyce bounced into a double play to end the game. Previously, Alex Rodriguez allowed Eduardo Perez’s shot down the third base line to skip under his glove. According to the Times:
Rodriguez dived to his right but could not stop the ball. “That’s a play I need to make, and I’m not making it,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez did turn the game-ended double play however. Gary Sheffield and Say Hey! Bernie “Snow Cone” Williams made nice plays in the outfield during the sixth inning.
The Yankees will play their home opener this afternoon against the White Sox. Magglio Ordonez and Frank “17-pitch at-bat” Thomas bring the lumber into the Bronx for a four-game series. (Thanks to “Clutch Hits” for the Thomas link.)
Meanwhile, Roger Clemens pitched well in his first start as an Astro. After intentionally walking Barry Bonds, Clemens struck out the greatest player on earth in the next two at bats. Bonds was called out both times, and both calls—particularly the first one—were questionable.
I actually enjoyed watching Clemens pitch. It’s nice being able to see him without being invested in the outcome. Of course, before he came to the Yankees, I loathed the guy. But now, I don’t have any hard feelings toward him. Curiously, I’ll root for the Rocket more this year than I will for Pettitte. Those who read Bronx Banter throughout the 2003 season know that Pettitte was one of the few Yankees than I liked less and less as time passed. Early in his career, Pettitte was a favorite. He was a home-grown player and his game 5 performance in the 1996 World Serious went a long way, right? But all of that good faith had dried up by last season. He was a good pitcher, but not the ace I had expected him to be. Perhaps that is unfair of me, but for all his success, Pettitte was maddeningly inconsistent, and I just never liked watching him pitch.
Furthermore, I’m still put off by the fact that he chose the Astros over the Yankees, no matter how valid his reasons were. Look, if he does well, that’s great, but I won’t be shedding any tears if he has a terrible season. And to be honest, I’m rooting for him to be mediocre. I may change my mind, but for now, that’s how I feel.
The Red Sox rolled over the O’s, and the Mets couldn’t hold a big lead, and got bombed by the Braves. At least Mike Piazza is blazing hot, going 5-5, with two homers. The second shot was the longest in the history of Turner Field.