What To Take From Opening DayPosted: April 1, 2011
After an off-season of uncertainty, I was just as happy as everyone else when I saw the Yankees beat the Tigers yesterday in a very fundamental win. They got six innings of solid pitching from CC and with the great bullpen, the game was over once they got the lead. However, there is being cautiously optimistic about the team and then there is being an idiot.
Opening Day just like any other game, is just one game and what happens in it doesn’t necessarily determine what will happen over the course of the regular season. Many think that the first game of the season is a tone setter and that it will foreshadow what a team will do, but that is ridiculous. The Yankees lost the first game of the season in both 2009 and 2010, but still went on to post 101 and 95 win seasons, respectively.
So let’s take a look at yesterday’s game specifically. Curtis Granderson homered off of lefty Phil Coke in the seventh inning to give the Yankees a lead they would never relinquish. Does this mean that he will kill lefties for the rest of the season? Not necessarily, but I think with the changes Kevin Long made to his swing last August will help.
Mark Teixeira added a homer of his own yesterday which gave him the first bomb and RBI’s of the young season. Now as we all know, Teixeira is notorious for his awful starts to seasons, and this homer doesn’t mean that he will break out. There is still a full month of April left.
Russell Martin quietly also had a great day. He scored two runs, stole a base, and called a very good game behind the plate. This was the easy task though. With AJ Burnett on the mound tomorrow, who knows what will happen. However, I’m sure the fact that he is not Jorge Posada will help him. I think Martin will make his offensive contributions, but don’t let yesterday fool you because he is still coming off of an injury-plagued season.
The bullpen is an interesting case because it got so much stronger over the winter. They were lights out yesterday as three pitchers combined for three perfect innings. It may not be like this all year, but you can expect that they will be very good and they will shorten games. If the Yankees have a lead through six or seven innings, don’t expect them to give it up.
Just to be clear, I am not saying that none of the good things that happened yesterday will carry over through the rest fo the season. I think some of them will, but don’t get too excited because there are 161 games left to be played.