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CC Sabathia is notorious for having rough starts to his seasons, but in the fifth inning of Sunday night’s Opening Night game against the Red Sox in Boston, he seemed to be putting that behind him. Sabathia faced just one more hitter than the minimum through 4 2/3 innings, allowing a lone run in the second when Kevin Youkilis doubled and came around to score on a pair of outs.

By then the Yankees had built up a 5-1 lead. In the second, Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson connected for back-to-back solo homers off Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, Posada’s clanking low off the Pesky Pole, Granderson’s going more than 100 feet further to right center. In the fourth, a two-out rally added three more runs when, wth Robinson Cano on third following a leadoff double and a productive out by Posada, Nick Swisher walked, Brett Gardner singled home Cano, and Derek Jeter singled home Swisher. Nick Johnson followed and, on Beckett’s 0-2 pitch, Jeter took off for second, then slammed on the breaks just shy of the bag with the intention of getting into a run-down to allow Gardner to scamper home from third. The plan worked even better than expected as Victor Martinez’s throw was so weak that not only did Gardner score, but Jeter was able to scamper safely into second without a throw, though that was moot as Johnson struck out on the next pitch.

The Yankees drove Beckett from the game in the fifth when, with two outs, Cano was held to a single on a ball off the right-field wall by a fine play by J.D. Drew and Posada walked. Both were advanced by a wild pitch by reliever Scott Schoeneweis, but the lefty recovered to strike out Granderson and end the threat.

Sabathia got the first two outs of the bottom of the fifth rather quickly, getting David Ortiz to pop up and striking out Adrian Beltre, but he then gave up three straight singles to Drew, Mike Cameron, and Marco Scutaro, resulting in the second Boston run. After striking out Jacoby Ellsbury to end that inning, Sabathia failed to retire the first three men he faced in the sixth, issuing a five-pitch leadoff walk to Dustin Pedroia, then giving up a double to Victor Martinez and a triple into the right field corner by Youkilis that plated both runners. Over 100 pitches and clearly fatigued, Sabathia hung around to retire fellow lefty David Ortiz, then left in favor of David Robertson, who gave up a first-pitch single to Adrian Beltre that tied the game, but then retired the next two men on five more pitches.

With that, a typical, high-scoring, see-saw Yankees/Red Sox game at Fenway emerged. The Yankees scored two runs off Ramon Ramirez in the top of the seventh on a Mark Teixeira walk, Alex Rodriguez double, surprising Robinson Cano RBI groundout (Cano hit a hard grounder right at Pedroia, but Pedroia hesitated to throw home, giving up the run), and a Posada RBI single, but the Red Sox got them right back plus one in the bottom of the inning.

Despite Robertson’s efficiency in the sixth, Joe Girardi replaced him with Chan Ho Park in the bottom of the seventh. Park surrendered the lead almost immediately, giving up a lead-off single to Scutaro and, after another Ellsbury strikeout, a home run just over the Green Monster down the left field line by Pedroia (Posada’s second-inning homer traveled roughly 350 feet, Pedroia’s Monster shot went roughly 340). After getting Martinez to ground out, Park was driven from the game by a Youkilis double. Girardi called on sore-shouldered Damaso Marte to face fellow-lefty David Ortiz, but Marte slung his first pitch, a slider, outside beyond Posada’s reach, moving Youkilis to third. Three pitches later, his 2-1 offering was a fastball that was supposed to be low but sailed shoulder-high where it clanked off Jorge Posada’s glove for a run-scoring passed ball.

Joba Chamberlain replaced Marte (who ultimately walked Ortiz) and got the elusive final out of the seventh, but in the eighth, Chamberlain got into his own bit of trouble, giving up a one-out single to Mike Cameron, walking Scutaro, and giving up  an RBI single to Pedroia. That handed a 9-7 lead to Jonathan Papelbon, who worked around a two-out Posada single to nail down the win.

And it only took three hours and 46 minutes!

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Recap

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1 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 5, 2010 1:44 am

Frankie Piliere of MLB FanHouse has a scouting report on the performances of both starters and the game in general here

2 Paul   ~  Apr 5, 2010 2:43 am

I hate Fenway. They need to tear that joke down and start over. Just an awful, awful ballpark and no where else in modern sports could such a monstrosity be allowed to stand.

3 RIYank   ~  Apr 5, 2010 6:52 am

Gosh, baseball is back. I really enjoyed (several innings of) that game!

Here's to better baseball coming soon.

4 RIYank   ~  Apr 5, 2010 6:56 am

Oh, and Paul, you'll be very pleased to hear about the massive antiquation project planned for Fenway!

5 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 5, 2010 8:26 am

I guess I hadn't seen much of Sabathia this spring, or maybe the navy blue shirts they were wearing hid it, but he looks to have gained at least 20 pounds in his mid-section. I thought he looked tired after about 75-80 pitches. I know he gets off to slow starts, but last night he also looked very overweight, even for his frame.

6 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 5, 2010 8:32 am

[5] I didn't see that. Can you really see an extra 20 pounds on a 300-pound man in a baggy uniform?

7 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 5, 2010 8:52 am

[6] yeah, my wife noted his weight gain immediatley, and it was the first thing I noticed when they showed him warming up. But to your point about it being difficult to notice an extra 20 pounds on a 300 pound man, it might be more like 30. I thought he looked MUCH thicker through the midsection.

8 Paul   ~  Apr 5, 2010 8:54 am

I hate MLB too. No game today is bullshit.

9 flycaster   ~  Apr 5, 2010 8:57 am

[5,6] No question CC has put on stomach weight. I was going to guess more like 30 lbs. Hopefully he works it off over the next couple months. I guess not many of us know what it's like to be that big. Anyway, we fell victim to the pitch-count thing again. Why does he have to throw 100 pitches on April 3??? He was clearly gassed, as Sliced said, after the 5th. I was hoping that would be it, but Chang Ho Park was bound to get in there and foul it up no matter what. Am I the only one here who has a real bad feeling about how he's going to perform as a Yankee?

10 bp1   ~  Apr 5, 2010 9:01 am

Typical Yankee/RedSox roller coaster ballgame. These teams chew up bullpens, don't they? I was hoping Joba would have a strong first appearance, but - well - yeah. And CHP - let's hope that was Opening Day nerves.

It's a tough opening couple weeks for the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Angels. 5-4 after nine games would be great, esp after losing the first.

11 The Hawk   ~  Apr 5, 2010 9:25 am

In retrospect there was a lot of bad to take from that game and not much good. I won't include Park because I haven't watched him extensively, and wildness from Marte at this juncture doesn't immediately concern me. Joba's pitching though, and maybe Posada's handling of him, is a bad sign. As some wise individual pointed out, he was pitching like his starter self, in the worst ways: nibbling, etc. Also, and I know I joke often about disliking Girardi - because I do - but I thought he did a poor job last night as well. I don't know what he was thinking with Sabathia, and obviously Winn's appearance raises some familiar red flags.

Again, it goes without saying it's only one game, but when I see things that can be interpreted as part of an already-established, negative pattern, it gets the wheels turning.

Oh and I noticed CC's gut too but didn't really see it as much bigger. I'll take everyone's word for it though. If he gets too fat to pitch maybe he can be the DH when Johnson finally succeeds in breaking his foot with one of those foul balls. Mazel tov, Nick!

12 rbj   ~  Apr 5, 2010 9:30 am

[11] Good to see the pessimism starting early.

Grumble grumble grumble. Yankees gave away a win.

13 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 5, 2010 9:48 am

A loss is a loss. I'm not worried about Sabathia, the Yankees have killed any interest I had in Chamberlain, and its too early to judge the bullpen one way or another anyway.

But the pinch stand there returned. Nothing is sure to send me into a blind rage quicker than Joe Girardi sending in a pinch runner and then never using him. He loves to do it, and I've never heard a decent explanation for that. Is Randy Winn just that much better and standing around than Nick Johnson?

My theory still stands. The manager of the New York Yankees periodically gets bored and decides to make a move, any move at all, to entertain himself.

14 The Hawk   ~  Apr 5, 2010 9:52 am

[12] Give me a break.

15 monkeypants   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:02 am

[13] You missed my corollary theory from last night:

He (Winn) doesn’t have a role, obviously. At least not one that will be apparent until (if, when?) Gardy stinks so bad that starting Winn seems like the better deal. Until then, he get the odd start and the occasional PH (for Gardy v. LHP?) or PR (like tonight) to justify his existence. Whether he actually hits as a PH or runs as a PR is really a secondary concern to keeping up appearances.

16 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:15 am

Is anyone else annoyed that an athlete making $23 million per year would appear to be comparatively overweight early in the season, ESPECIALLY since the athlete himself must be aware of his recent history of slow starts.

17 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:15 am

[15] If that was limited to Winn, I'd accept it. (No, I wouldn't) I'm sure Thames and Pena and Gardner will all have their fair share of pinch stand there duties this year as well.

18 Jon DeRosa   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:19 am

[17] Should a PR attempt a steal 100% of the time? Do you think it's ever appropriate to send in a PR for added speed on the bases?

I think PRs "stand there" more often than they attempt to steal. With Teix up, I don't want Winn making the 3rd out on the bases.

19 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:21 am

[18] Forget it Jon, it's Bantertown ...

20 Jon DeRosa   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:27 am

[19] I am also curious about Girardi's seeming desire to burn players (he managed the ALCS as if he was unfamiliar w/ extra innings at times). And probably would not have pinch ran there.

But once he sends the runner in there, I think the purpose is to score on an extra base hit, not to swipe a bag.

21 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:32 am


Girardi:Extra innings -> McNabb:Overtime rules

(and look what just happened to McNabb) :-)

22 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:33 am

[18] I think taking out a better bat for a far inferior bat and doing nothing with it is completely pointless. So yeah, if you're going to make the lineup worse, I'd like to see some kind of play in conjunction with it. Steal, hit and run. And I don't guy "score from first on a gapper." I've seen Jason Giambi score from first on a gapper with two outs. You don't need WHEELS to score on a ball that rolls to the wall if you're running on contact.

Note I would not like to see the pinch runner/sac bunt combo which Girardi busted out a few times last year. That was stupid.

23 Jon DeRosa   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:38 am

[22] yeah, that's my objection too. isn't more likely that the game will go to extras than it is for teix to hit one perfectly placed where winn could score but johnson couldn't?

but once they are pinch running, i'm not itching for them to put on a play. w/ a big bopper up there, i don't want the bat taken out of their hands.

24 The Hawk   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:39 am

Gardner was a bright spot for sure last night. In general, the bats looked good. Granderson's debut AB was of course phenomenal. We just had some crappy pitching. Either that or MLP was using his rainbow powers again *sigh*

25 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:40 am

[16] I think CC's been this overweight before (he looked huge when he was with the Brewers), but I don't think we've seen him this out of shape. Maybe when he was a little younger, he could carry the extra pounds. Last night, he looked winded early. I thought he didn't look good even as he was warming up. Still, I'm not too worried. We have no reason to think his endurance won't improve, but it might take longer than he and his coaches anticipated.

26 ms october   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:45 am

[24] so have you settled on mlp?

my biggest "concern" if you will, is that the bullpen get matched up with the leverage of the situation.
i don't think chp should be in high leverage situations.

most everything else should fall into place well.

i also hope the yanks learn to pitch mlp low and be moret careful with ugly as he is by far the most dangerous hitter in that lineup.

27 rbj   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:49 am

[14] Why. It's one game. The offense showed up, the only truly bad pitching was from Park. CC was gassed early, but for the first few starts I don't expect starters to go long. Don't read too much into one game.

28 The Hawk   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:51 am

[26] I'm pleased to use My Little Pony, Pony or MLP. The more the better I think.

29 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:51 am


and speaking of "one game" ... that's the subject of the next "Bantermetrics" coming up real soon

30 The Hawk   ~  Apr 5, 2010 10:58 am

[27] "It's one game", eh?

(scratches chin)

Sounds familiar ...

31 rbj   ~  Apr 5, 2010 11:07 am

[30] What was the Yankees' record after the first 3 games in 1998?

32 The Hawk   ~  Apr 5, 2010 11:11 am

[31] I don't think you're following me, old chap. A good clue: “It’s one game” sounds familiar because it was what I said in my first, "pessimistic" post. Second clue is the quotes around pessimistic.

33 rbj   ~  Apr 5, 2010 11:20 am

[32] You also said there was a lot of bad, & not much good to take from the game -- but I think the offense did just fine, A-Rod looked sharp at third, the double steal was great.

"but when I see things that can be interpreted as part of an already-established, negative pattern, it gets the wheels turning. " says to me that you are already thinking in bigger terms and not just "one game"

Don't want to beat this to death, but I just can't get too worked up over one loss, especially early in the season. Now, if it were game 163, then I'd be irate.

34 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 5, 2010 12:29 pm

[19] cult of baseball wins this thread

35 The Hawk   ~  Apr 5, 2010 12:31 pm

[33] Yes, a lot of bad and not much good - still, from one game. I was talking about that one, solitary game. I'm not in the least "worked up" and anything I've said has nothing directly to do with the Yankees losing the game. I didn't say "this means the team is doomed" or anything like that. Criticizing specific things in a game that reflect certain individuals' larger trends is not pessimism. I don't feel pessimistic at all - that would be ridiculous.

So, I found the mischaracterization of something I wrote to be annoying especially given the sarcastic and cavalier tone.

36 llbubba   ~  Apr 5, 2010 2:12 pm

I agree about CC looking like he had gained a lot of weight. My husband and I noticed immediately. As far as the loss goes, look at the bright side, we lost our first 8 to the Sox last year and look where the Yanks ended up! Then again, Chan Ho Park was not in our bullpen last year. He is just terrible. I don't see the merit in signing him at all.

37 The Hawk   ~  Apr 5, 2010 3:20 pm

[36] "we lost our first 8 to the Sox last year and look where the Yanks ended up!"

This and the fact that the Yanks won the Series - for the first time in forever it seemed - have me feeling very relaxed this season. It's one of the reasons I endorsed putting Joba and Hughes in the starting rotations: I just have a house money vibe (for now anyway).

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