The season has begun. The season has not begun.
On the other side of the world from where the A’s and Red Sox kicked off the 2008 season, the Yanks got to Paul Byrd, but a pair of three-run homers by the Indians were enough to beat the Yankees by a 7-5 score.
L – Johnny Damon (DH)
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Bobby Abreu (RF)
L – Jason Giambi (1B)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
L – Hideki Matsui (LF)
S – Wilson Betemit (3B)
R – Jose Molina (C)
S – Melky Cabrera (CF)
Pitchers: Ian Kennedy, Scott Patterson, Kyle Farnsworth, Darrell Rasner
Subs: Shelley Duncan (1B), Nick Green (2B), Chris Woodward (SS), Morgan Ensberg (3B), Greg Porter (C), Chad Moeller (RF), Brett Gardner (RF/CF), Bernie Castro (PR/LF), Jason Lane (DH)
Opposition: The Indians starters save for Casey Blake.
Big Hits: Doubles by Jose Molina (3 for 4), Jason Giambi (2 for 4), and Robinson Cano (3 for 4), the last of whom had two of them.
Who Pitched Well: Scott Patterson struck out the only man he faced to end the fifth inning for Ian Kennedy. Kyle Farnsworth pitched around a single for a scoreless sixth, two of his three outs coming on the ground.
Who Didn’t: Kennedy walked four and gave up a three-run homer to Ryan Garko with two outs in the first. All four runs Kennedy allowed in his 4 2/3 innings were unearned (due to an error by Melky Cabrera), but three of the five hits he allowed went for extra bases. He was also inefficient, needing 91 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings and throwing just 53 percent of those for strikes. Darrell Rasner may have handed the long-relief job to Kei Igawa by giving up a three-run home run to Andy Marte with two outs in the in the eighth with the Yankees holding a slim 5-4 lead. Rasner had worked a scoreless seventh, but allowed four baserunners in his two innings, Marte included.
Oopsies: Fielding errors by Cabrera in center and Chris Woodward (his third of the spring) at shortstop.
Ouchies: Andy Pettitte played catch (42 tosses) today and will throw a bullpen tomorrow. If all goes well, he’ll start a minor league game on Saturday and start the third game of the season, simply swapping spots with Mike Mussina, who will start the second game. Johnny Damon went 0 for 4 as the DH after missing Monday’s game due to the flu.
Roster News: Per Chad Jennings, Sean Henn will likely start the year on the DL with biceps tendonitis (which explains why he has barely pitched in camp). That also allows the Yanks to avoid having to pass Henn, who is out of options, through waivers. Instead they can hold on to him on the DL and get him back to the minors via an eventual rehab assignment. Nick Green can opt out of his Yankee contract tonight and likely will. He’s fourth in line for the Yankees’ utility spot at best.
Tokyo: It’s a shame it started at 6 a.m. EST (or 3 a.m. PCT), because the A’s and Sox played a gem of a game in Tokyo to start the 2008 season. The no-name A’s scored a pair against hometown hero Daisuke Matsuzaka in the first and just kept putting men on against him, drawing five walks off the Sox starter, but Matsuzaka battled and locked it down. A’s starter Joe Blanton then tired in the sixth and coughed up three runs to make it 3-2 Sox, but the A’s then jumped right back in in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run dinger by Jack Hannahan, who is filling in for the still-injured Eric Chavez, off Kyle Snyder. The A’s got the ball to closer Huston Street with a 4-3 lead in the top of the ninth, but Brandon Moss, who was literally a last-minute replacement for an achy J.D. Drew in right field, tied it up with a solo homer. The Sox added two more off Street in the tenth, but the A’s rallied in the bottom of the tenth against Jonathan Papelbon, only to be outdone by an Emil Brown baserunning mistake that turned a one-out/man-on-second situation into a two-out/none-on situation with the A’s having closed to within one run. The A’s sloppy play was their undoing throughout the game, while the play of the game was a leaping catch at the wall in dead center by Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury. Three hours and 39 minutes is too long, and the Red Sox did get the win, but otherwise, here’s hoping all the games are that good this year.