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Beauty, Eh?
2008-04-01 22:32
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Joe Girardi got his first win as the manager of the Yankees last night as the Yanks beat the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 3-2 in front of a packed house in a beauty of a game in the final opener in the history of the original Yankee Stadium. Though it rained most of the day and again after the game, the weather for the rescheduled opener was gorgeous throughout, which was in part a tribute to the contest's swift pace.

As I'd hoped, starters Chien-Ming Wang and Roy Halladay were both on their game and produced a riveting duel through the first seven innings. The two starting pitchers got 28 of the game's first 41 outs on the ground, five more by strikeout, and one by caught stealing (Derek Jeter, who got a bad jump on Halladay and catcher Gregg Zaun). Wang got three more outs in the infield, two in the second via a humpback line drive to second baseman Robinson Cano, who doubled Alex Rios off first, and a rocket line drive by Marcos Scutaro in the seventh that Jason Giambi, playing in on the grass to guard against the bunt, snagged with a leap. That's 37 of 41 outs in the infield between the two pitchers. Of those remaining four outs, two came on tremendous fourth-inning catches by Yankee center fielder Melky Cabrera. The first was a drive to the 385-foot sign in the right-centerfield gap by Lyle Overbay that Cabrera caught moments before turning and slamming back-first into the wall. Two pitches later, Aaron Hill hit a sinking liner to the left-centerfield gap that Cabrera caught on a lunge, topping forward and sliding on his chest after making the catch.

As the stellar defensive play behind Wang indicates, Halladay was the sharper of the two pitchers, but also the less fortunate. The Yankees got out to an early lead in the bottom of the first on a two-out Bobby Abreu single and a double by Alex Rodriguez that scored Abreu from first, but the Jays tied it up right away in the top of the second on a pair of singles by Frank Thomas and Lyle Overbay (the latter of which was a hard grounder hit to Alex Rodriguez's right that ticked off the third baseman's glove as he dove) and a fielder's choice by Scutaro. The two aces each faced just one more than the minimum over the next four and a half innings until the Jays took the lead in the top of the fifth when Scutaro drew a lead-off walk, stole second (his second steal of the game), moved to third on a single by Zaun, and scored on a slow Shannon Stewart groundout to third.

Melky Cabrera led off the bottom of the sixth against Halladay with a ten-pitch at-bat that saw him battle back from 1-2 to a full count, fouling off four pitches along the way. On the tenth pitch, Cabrera lifted a pop fly down the right field line that just cleared the wall behind the "3" in the 314-foot sign for a game-tying home run. In the top of the seventh, Wang gave up a lead-off double to Hill, but Giambi's snag of Scutaro's line-drive held the runner. Hill then moved to third on the second out, a grounder of course, and Wang got David Eckstein to ground out to strand Hill.

The Yankees mounted their own threat in the bottom of the seventh following a flair single by Rodriguez over Hill's head at second base. That lead-off hit was followed by a walk to Giambi. Cano then hit a chopper that Eckstein fielded in front of second base. Eckstein's momentum carried him past the bag forcing him to attempt to make a tag on Giambi, but Giambi froze in the baseline and ducked Eckstein's tag, forcing the Toronto shortstop to fire to first base in the hope of turning a 6-3-4 double play, but Giambi beat the return throw from Overbay, sliding headfirst and safely into second. A replay shows that Hill could have fielded the ball on the bag and turned an easy DP had Eckstein not cut it off, but as much credit for the eventual result of the play is due to Giambi's savvy baserunning as to Eckstein's aggression. Giambi, incidentally, had a fine game despite going 0 for 3. In addition to that baserunning maneuver and his leaping catch of Scutaro's liner, Giambi made several nice scoops at first base and cut down a lead-runner at second in the second by ranging to his right for a hopper and making a nice shovel pass to Derek Jeter on the bag as his momentum carried him toward the keystone.

With Rodriguez on third and Giambi on second with one out, the Jays walked Jorge Posada to load the bases for Hideki Matsui, setting up the double play for groundballer Halladay against Groundzilla. Matsui, who went 0 for 3 with three groundouts in the game, hit a skipping grounder just to the right of second base, but the ball hit the heal of Hill's glove on his attempt at a back-handed stop, and the Jays were only able to get Posada at second as Rodriguez scored with the go-ahead and ultimately winning run.

With Wang having maxed out at 92 pitches in the seventh (Girardi made the only mound visit of the game with two outs and Hill on third in the seventh, likely to tell Wang to empty the tank), Girardi followed the formula by calling on Joba Chamberlain in the eighth and Mariano Rivera in the ninth. Chamberlain wasn't particularly sharp, but he still worked around a walk and struck out two for a scoreless frame. Curiously, he used his curveball more than his slider. He used the hook to get a 1-1 strike call against Alex Rios, but Rios successfully checked his swing on the slider twice, including on ball four of his ten-pitch walk. Joba's slider was irresistible to hitters last year, so either the pitch wasn't working last night, or the league is catching up. That will bear watching. Chamberlain got Wells looking on bit of a hanging curve that dropped into the top of the zone as Rios stole second, then made quick work of Thomas, blowing a high fastball by him for a three-pitch strikeout. Rivera needed just 12 pitches to pick up the save, striking out Overbay, getting Hill to lift an easy fly to center, and inducing a mild groundout from Scutaro to end the game. Rivera then collected the ball from Giambi and presented it to Girardi, who was clearly overjoyed by the entire experience. He couldn't have asked for a better game.

Comments (64)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-04-02 03:13:12
1.   Andre
great game
great recap
glad baseball is back!
2008-04-02 04:17:56
2.   williamnyy23
The most remarkable thing about yesterday's game was how well it was played by both teams. Usually, openers are a bit sloppy as teams transition from Spring Training to games that count, but last night's game could have been pulled out of June or July.

A few other notes:

1) Who would have thought that Jason Giambi would be a big contributor to the win, but not with his bat. Instead, he used his glove AND his baserunning. Not only did he make three very nice plays (a shovel throw, a scoop and a snare of a liner while playing in), but avoiding the double play in the 7th inning was crucial. If Giambi can be more of an all around player and stay healthy, he'll be a huge contributor.

2) After the game, Giambi attributed the team's good defense to being in better shape out of the box. As we all remember, the Yankees early season struggles over the past few seasons have involved shoddy defense. If Giambi is right and being in better shape will help avert that, then Girardi has already had a positive impact.

3) Although his velocity was down a little and he lacked complete command of the slider, Joba looked very comfortable back in the 8th inning role. I was interested to see if Girardi would bring him in a tie-game, but am glad I'll have to wait another day to find that. One thing, however, that I would like Joba to control a little is his inning ending celebration. As David Cone mentioned in the post game, he gets a pass for Opening Day, but as the season progresses, I think Joba needs to be more Mariano and less Papelbon/FRod.

4) According to Kay, Halladay barked something at Melky after his curtain call, but I haven't seen any comments from him. Either way, this is something the Yankees probably need to tone a little going forward.

5) Watching #42 over these past 14 seasons has been a pure joy. I am glad the Yankees gave him the contract and think he deserves every penny…regardless of how well he is pitching by age 40.

2008-04-02 04:58:00
3.   murphy
1) while i certainly can't complain about the outcome, i must admit that it seemed as though wang was wasting a lot of pitches and often pitching behind in the count - especially early on in the game.

2) while the stadium (and the bleachers in particular) were surprisingly subdued (especially for opening day), the crowd reaction to joba's entrance was nothing short of electric.

3) so stoked for melky. big night on both sides of the ball.

4) 1 , ditto on baseball being back. things are now right with the world.

LET'S GO YAN-KEES!!!

2008-04-02 05:04:15
4.   jedi
Does anyone have any updates on Bret Gardner since his foul ball off his mouth? Only reason I am asking is, seems like Melky is throwing his body out there more freely. I'm not against it, but definitely scary when he falls back on that wall like he did last night. Ouch.
2008-04-02 05:12:41
5.   OldYanksFan
Moose and company can been seen on ESPN2 tonight at 7PM. See ya all there.
2008-04-02 05:21:56
6.   Sliced Bread
4 Gardner played yesterday, and Melky's young enough to sustain the wall-banging grind. I'm more concerned how Air Giambi is feeling this morning after his Mary Lou Retton impersonation.

2 I hear ya, re: Joba's theatrics. He'll probably be advised at some point to curb his enthusiasm, but he might be able to mitigate any hard feelings against him if he explains that he's not trying to show up the hitters, just blowing off steam. Unlike Papelbon, Joba might be able to pull it off without looking like an a-hole.

2008-04-02 05:22:11
7.   Bagel Boy
Fantastic recap. You should be a beat writer.

As for Joba, I think the team wants him working in his other pitches more often, and he might be a little too conscious of it. After all, if he throws just two pitches over the next three months, how can he transition to being a starter?

4 Gardner played in last night's minor AAA-AA exhibition.

2008-04-02 05:33:16
8.   JL25and3
6 He might not be trying to show up the hitters, but that might be the effect anyway. I thought his little celebration was too much; he should take some Jeter lessons.

Ditto for Melky's curtain call. It's one thing to go to the top step and tip your cap; it's another to do that Rocky thing.

3 If I had one word to describe last night's crowd, it would be "drunk." If I had three words, they'd be "really, really drunk."

2008-04-02 05:34:46
9.   ny2ca2dc
4 Thunder Thoughts reports that "Brett Gardner's lip wasn't as nasty as it once was. Was face to face with him, talking to him for something you'll see sometime this week, and he said it was feeling better…"
2008-04-02 05:35:46
10.   JL25and3
For the eleventy-seventh year in a row, I've been reading that this might be the year the Blue Jays make their move. What the hell team are those people looking at?
2008-04-02 05:44:45
11.   JL25and3
Finally, two articles from the Times.

First, a good Q&A with Bill James. (http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/) He certainly doesn't come across as a Yankee-basher. My favorite exchange:

"Q: How important are good-hitting pitchers to the success of an offense in the N.L.?

A: Exactly as important as good-fitting underwear on a long drive. "

Second, a remarkably brain-dead article, even for the Times sports section. Honestly, I don't understand the point of it at all. What's the article supposed to be about? http://tinyurl.com/345unu

2008-04-02 05:45:17
12.   Alex Belth
No offense to the many fine beat writers out there but what Cliff and I--or any other bloggers for that matter, can do in the confines of a blog is provide a far more detailed game re-caps than newspaper writers can. We don't have word counts, don't have to hype any particular parts of the games. We can do what we please. And fortunately, when in the hands of someone as talented as a veteran like Cliff, well, you know you are getting the goods.

Nice win. Two and a half hours? Nifty. How many times will that happen this year?

2008-04-02 05:54:33
13.   Bagel Boy
Will I be the only one watching Moose tonight through both hands?
2008-04-02 06:04:58
14.   Sliced Bread
12 true, the Yanks beat writers do very solid work, but we have to come here for headlines like "Beauty, eh?" (appropos of the game itself, and the Canadian opponent). And Cliff's single paragraph breaking down Joba's performance offered more than I found in some of the Joba pieces in the papers, which were mostly filled with quotes (that I heard during the postgame show), and hype.

re: the 2.5 hour thing. Wang's our best and perhaps only hope (among the starters) for a consistently early bedtime. Hughes will get there, but I figure Moose and Kennedy games will likely be 3 hour tours, and then some...

2008-04-02 06:11:10
15.   Sliced Bread
14 on the other hand, the Yankee conga line of hitters is also capable of dragging a game to the 3.5 hour mark, no matter who's on the hill for the Bombers.
2008-04-02 06:30:04
16.   RIYank
Speaking of early bedtimes:
I was listening to the Planet Mikey Show on WEEI on my drive home yesterday. (New Englanders will know this is going to end badly.) Mikey starts by saying something incoherent about A-Rod and lip gloss. Then he complains about the 8:30 start of the Celtics game. "What's wrong with Chicago, why can't they start the game at 7:30 like everyone else?" His producer points out that Chicago is in the central time zone.
But don't give the producer too much credit yet. The first caller opines that Japanese pitchers stink after the first year or two, once the league has become accustomed to them. Mikey can't think of any Japanese pitchers who pitched more than two years in MLB, except for Nomo. Hmmmm. Nope, can't think of any. Then it hits him: Chien-Ming Wang, of course. The producer corrects him: Wang is Korean.

WEEI must have a special stupidity screening for its on-air employees. Seriously, the whole crew (possibly excepting Dale Holly) makes Mike and Mad Dog sound like geniuses by comparison.

2008-04-02 06:31:06
17.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
God I hope this is the year Melky takes the next great step forward in his performance, on both O and D. I know we have quite a nice little logjam building with Gardner and AJax, but how amazing would it (will it!) be to see those 3 guys roaming the outfield in the new Yankees Stadium for the next 10 years?!? Talk about D!
2008-04-02 06:35:51
18.   JL25and3
The results were fine, but Wang still seemed to struggle with men on base.
2008-04-02 06:36:49
19.   mehmattski
I'm not sure that Halladay was necessarily the less fortunate of the two pitchers. Both of the Blue Jays runs came in innings when the ball barely left the infield:

Second inning:
Thomas singled to shallow left
Overbay infield single
Hill flied out to right, Thomas to third
Scutaro fielders choice, Thomas scores, Overbay out at second

Fifth inning:
Scutaro singled, stole second
Zaun singled to right, Scutaro to third
Eckstein grittily bounced a ball 60 feet down the first base line, hustled his way into getting tagged by Giambi, despite being just 4'2".
Stewart grounded out to third, Scutaro scored.

Sure, it wasn't Vintage Wang, but it wasn't hitting the tar out of the ball either.

2008-04-02 06:40:29
20.   Sliced Bread
18 which is odd because the only thing that seemed to be going right for Wang during ST was that he looked better from the stretch than the windup.

I'm not as critical of his performance last night. I thought he maintained his tradmark poise, and did a very good job. I never felt the game was going to get away from him. For me, confidence-wise, it was as if his postseason meltdown never happened.

2008-04-02 06:41:34
21.   murphy
f'ing scutaro!
2008-04-02 06:42:58
22.   williamnyy23
16 Mike and the Mad Dog geniuses? Impossible!
2008-04-02 06:46:31
23.   williamnyy23
18 Think so? I don't think Wang struggled much at all. There were a couple of ABs when he fell behind, but Wang looked pretty good yesterday. Because he doesn't strike out many people, he seldom looks spectacular, but he still gets the job done. Ironically, more of Wangs' outs were hit harder than the basehits. Also, keep in mind that both Blue Jay runs scored on weak ground balls.
2008-04-02 06:51:38
24.   williamnyy23
2 One more thing I meant to add:

6) Maybe it's wishful thinking, but Jeter looked strong on defense last night. In addition to one of his trademark charge plays, the Captain also ranged up the middle for Zaun's ball in the 2nd (the Giambi pick) and made a nice play in the hole to force Rios on Wells' ground ball in the third.

Could it be positioning? Better agility training? Small sample size? Who knows...but that's another storyline worth watching.

2008-04-02 06:51:44
25.   rbj
Great game, crisp (especially for Opening Day), well played.

Interesting comment on better defense due to being in better shape. I like Torre, but based on far too early a result, it seems like a change was necessary.

16 No, Wang is Viet Namese. Or Thai. Or Cambodian. Maybe Mongolian. Glad I don't have WEEI to listen to.

2008-04-02 07:43:36
26.   Zack
2 6 8 I'm with you on the Joba "theatrics," but I'm afraid that most fans eat it up and will only encourage it. The sooner Girardi or someone nips it in the bud the better.

And as I said yesterday, while it sure is nice to see Joba come out of the BP in the 8th, it does keep on worrying me that it will become to comfortable of a routine and either Girardi et al won't want to switch him, or Joba himself will not want to/be able to prepare himself as a starter anymore, whatever that means. As Posada said last night "You get seven from Wang and one from Joba and Mariano. That's what we need to do all year."

2008-04-02 07:54:09
27.   mehmattski
26 Well, maybe Posada meant it more generally... we'd like 7 strong from the "Starter", a scoreless 8th from the "Set Up Man" and a scoreless ninth from the "Closer."
2008-04-02 07:55:18
28.   buffalocharlie
16 ,25

Wang is Taiwanese, born in Tainan, Taiwan, according to baseball-reference.com

2008-04-02 07:58:03
29.   rbj
28 I know, my sarcasm just didn't come through. And from what I understand Chinese & Koreans aren't exactly best buddies, I don't know how Wang would take to being misidentified as Korean.
2008-04-02 08:01:27
30.   williamnyy23
29 Actually, Chinese and Taiwanese aren't best buddies. They have their own civil strife without involving the Koreans.*

*Meant in a political, not ethnic, context.

2008-04-02 08:11:07
31.   pistolpete
2 Re: #4 - I watched it 3 times - Halladay wasn't barking at Melky, he was yelling out (to no one in particular) "This F*CKING BALLPARK", meaning if it wasn't 314 down the line, the ball wouldn't have gotten out.

O'Neill in the booth caught it as soon as it happened - does Kay not listen to anything besides the sound of his own voice?

Anyway, I was extremely impressed with the Yankees last night per their fundamentals. Defense was crisp, guys had their heads in the game, everyone just looked 100% ready to play.

Except the new stadium announcer and some of the YES camera guys, however. Did I hear it wrong or was the new pitching coach annouced as "Dave Ireland"...? That and he absolutely butchered the new trainers' last names.

He also tried a little too hard to sound like Shep - especially when announcing "#2, Shortstop, Derek Jeet-uh". I actually cringed a little.

0 Re: Joba - he gets a pass for last night, but if it's June and he's still fist pumping on a weak ground ball to second, Girardi needs to school him.

I also don't know necessarily that the league is catching up to the slider - Rios was the only one who walked, and he's a pretty good hitter. ;-) IMO, you can't ask for much more than to get Wells looking and then Thomas swinging.

Great win, can't believe how short the game was. I had manually set my DVR for something like 4.5 hours to accomodate for the postgame as well. I wound up getting "The Captain's Corner" in its entireity as well.

2008-04-02 08:13:38
32.   OldYanksFan
Gawd.... I really miss this guy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6Tjps_-JnQ

I agree, Jeter looked very comfy in the field.
Wang was not dominant, but still very good. He could have had better luck.
It may not last even until tonight, but as a big Giambi fan, I was just jazzed by his play last night. Can it be for real?
It's taken 4 years, but I believe ARod is now accepted as a 'real Yankee', and I expect a great deal of pleasure watching him over the upcoming years.
I was relieved to see JD get that triple. Our team is just so much more dangerous when he hits well. I am afraid he will have a poor year.
That man-on-3rd, no-out situation REALLY bothered me. We must find a way (even a bunt?) to NOT let that ever happen again.

I have realistic expectations from our Trip Aces, but it's hard to believe that the 3 of them together won't be at least league average.. which should account for .550 ball or better. I see no reason why we don't win 95 games (barring ijury problems),

2008-04-02 08:21:41
33.   RIYank
31 That wasn't him trying to sound like Sheppard when he introduced Jeter!
Check it out:

http://tinyurl.com/28lucm

Cool, huh?

2008-04-02 08:33:10
34.   pistolpete
33 I dunno, it was a little off if that was actually Sheppard. That link says it would be for plate appearances, I was referring to the introductions.
2008-04-02 08:35:03
35.   JL25and3
23 It seemed like there were a lot of longer at-bats with men on base. I could be wrong.

What did the replays on the stolen bases look like? The fans were outraged, of course, that the Jays were called safe but Jeter was out. It looked to me like the umps got the calls right, but that's always tough to tell from the stands.

2008-04-02 08:35:22
36.   williamnyy23
31 Kay said he did it after the curtain call. The incident you referred to took place while Melky rounded the bases. They didn't show Halladay on screen immediately after Melky's bow, so I see no reason to doubt Kay.

31 Jim Hall is hardly "new". He has been Sheppard's back up for about 40 years!! Having said that, he did seem to slip up on a few names, especially the Cucuzza brothers, who managed the Stadium clubhouses.

2008-04-02 08:36:16
37.   williamnyy23
35 All of the calls were correct.
2008-04-02 08:36:17
38.   Cliff Corcoran
31 Though I saw neither, there were two separate Halladay outbursts. 1) the complaint about the ballpark as Melky was rounding the bases and 2) the barking at Melky, who obliviously took his curtain call as Halladay was delivering a pitch (which, really, should result in an automatic strike to the batter).

33 I think the Sheppard tape was used for Jeter's at-bats ("now batting . . ."), but not for the pre-game introductions, which is what 31 is referring to, though I could be wrong about that.

2008-04-02 08:37:10
39.   Cliff Corcoran
35 I concur with 37 , the umps got all three right.
2008-04-02 08:39:33
40.   mehmattski
35 I agree with William, Jeter was out, and both Scutaro was safe. Bang bang calls, both of them, though.
2008-04-02 08:45:24
41.   pistolpete
36 Do I really have to explain what I meant by "new"...?

38 I think everyone just got caught up in the moment last night (Joba included) - Halladay needs to relax. Of course, Toronto hates our guts dating back to the "HA" play, so I can understand the frustration.

2008-04-02 08:53:14
42.   williamnyy23
41 If by new you didn't mean "of recent origin, production, purchase, etc.; having but lately come or been brought into being", then yes.

By an definition, Jim Hall is not "new". Not only has he been backing up Sheppard for decades, but he did a good deal (if not most) of the games last year. Also, I don't think you meant "new trainers" names, but then again, I don't know your definition of new.

2008-04-02 08:54:41
43.   Bama Yankee
32 "That man-on-3rd, no-out situation REALLY bothered me. We must find a way (even a bunt?) to NOT let that ever happen again."

I'm with you, OYF. A squeeze bunt by Jeter (or even Abreu since he was facing a lefty) would have been nice in that situation. It was a shame to waste that leadoff triple.

BTW, it's nice to see someone else advocating the bunt... Weeping and I welcome you to the "Dark Side" that is sometimes called "small ball"...
;-)

2008-04-02 09:02:24
44.   williamnyy23
43 The only problem with a squeeze play there is the infield is already playing in. The thing that surprised me most about the situation was Jeter and Abreu both swung at the first pitch.
2008-04-02 09:07:55
45.   mehmattski
43 My presence on the Dark Side is very limited. In the case of a runner at third with no outs:
1) It has to be late in a close game- down by one, tied, or up one.
2) The hitter has to be a proficient bunter.
3) A groundball pitcher is on the mound.

All three of those conditions were satisfied with Damon on third and Jeter at the plate. Downs has a career G/F ratio of 1.84, but in the last few seasons it's closer to 3.0, which indicates that it's difficult to get the ball in the air off him.

With one out, and Abreu at the plate, I'm not sure I would support the squeeze. While the difference between zero and one outs is negligible in this case, the difference between one and two is very significant. I would expect Abreu to be working the count and looking for a pitch to hit in the air. He didn't, and that's probably what was most frustrating about that inning. But to instruct Abreu to squeeze there is asking for trouble, IMO.

2008-04-02 09:08:42
46.   JL25and3
I wouldn't have bunted with Damon on third, especially not with Jeter and Abreu coming up. They're supposed to be able to get him in without the bunt - and I'll bet their success rate is generally at least as good as a squeeze play.

I thought about the bunt in the seventh, with two men on and none out. Thanks to Giambi's heads-up baserunning, Cano's grounder turned out to be a sacrifice (in effect) rather than a double play.

2008-04-02 09:15:49
47.   mehmattski
46 Ah, the other situation where I am sometimes convinced to come to the Dark Side: runners on first and second, no outs. It's the one situation that the Run Expectancy Matrix isn't so harsh about giving up the out.

1st/2nd 0 out: 1.573 runs/inning
2nd/3rd 1 out: 1.467 runs/inning

Of course, you have to factor in the chance that a slow runner at first gets forced out:

1st/3rd, 1 out: 1.243 runs/inning

or a double play:

3rd, 2 out: 0.347 runs/inning

and then also factor in the bunting ability of the guy at the plate. I'm not sure what the consensus is on Cano's bunting, but there's a good chance that Cano hits one for extra bases and the Yankees won't have to play for one run.

2008-04-02 09:20:02
48.   tommyl
Honestly, I think the Yankees were swinging early in the count because Halladay was pitching. The man is a strike machine, its very hard to work the count off him. I've seen them take that approach before, and while I'm not saying I agree with it, I think that's what was going on.

I was very impressed with Melky last night. Not only the HR, but the AB before that he worked Halladay to a full count before grounding out. If he continues to play like that all year he could have a breakout.

The team looked very, very crisp last night. Excellent fundamentals, good energy. I'm sure some of that is a byproduct of opening day, but they just looked quicker and more agile as a whole. I'm willing to attribute that to Girardi. Impressively, he seems to have gotten them all running and in great shape without pissing off the veterans (well Moose and his ice cream outburst notwithstanding). I'm impressed so far.

2008-04-02 09:39:04
49.   OldYanksFan
I am not only disappointed that Jetes swung on the first pitch, but also one that he pounded into the ground. Was he anxious? Why not be selective and wait until he has 2 strikes?

And if not the suicide squeeze, maybe a bunt and run play, giving JD the option of running depending on how the ball is put into play.

Bobby hit the ball decently, but it was a poor AB from Jetes.

2008-04-02 09:39:45
50.   JL25and3
48 I thought the biggest factor in the increased quickness and agility was Giambi. He was like a different person out there.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-04-02 09:39:49
51.   Just fair
I just saw that Oakland's 1-3 hitters were struck out 8 times last night. That's rather pathetic. As per Jaba, his fist pumping and screaming is borderline annoying. But that Guy up in Boston is completely insufferable. Switch uni's on the two, and I am going to switch my reactions. Such is life.
2008-04-02 09:45:53
52.   Bama Yankee
44 Even though the infield was in and the squeeze play would not have taken them by surprise, the Blue Jays would still have to make two clean plays to get the out. With a fast runner on third and a good bunter at the plate, I like my chances with the squeeze. At least you can control the situation and you put the pressure on the defense. But hey, I'm a from the "Dark Side" what do I know... ;-)
2008-04-02 09:46:43
53.   Shaun P
16 RI, XM is worth every penny, and not just for the Yankee games. Even the inane cliches of Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy trump the garbage that passes for content on WEEI (except for Dale and Holley, who I find to be refreshing, on those rare days I'm in the car between 10 and 2).

24 I thought the same thing about Jeter's play up the middle; not what I expected. I hope it continues, though we may have a hard timing figuring out why if it does.

2008-04-02 09:55:45
54.   Bama Yankee
45 & 47 Good points. For the record, those situations you mentioned are exactly when I also like to see the bunt. You and I are on the same page (welcome to the "Dark Side", my friend). You're probably right about Abreu squeezing, but he does know how to lay down a bunt and with his speed (plus facing the tough lefty), I might have taken a shot at it (I really wanted that run).
2008-04-02 10:04:02
55.   williamnyy23
52 It's not the worst play, but I think with the IF in and the element of surprise diminished, the chances of a positive outcome would be lessened. Also, I don't think you try it with Jeter because with no outs you still should play for the big inning. Once Jeter made out and Abreu was facing the lefty, then I could see giving it a shot.
2008-04-02 10:21:58
56.   liam
19 agreed, i feel like wang was the unlucky one. i think 5 hits left the infield, and 2 were caught by melky on one catch that looked good, and on a catch that looked like he took the wrong route to the ball.

i also think the melky curtain call was a bit absurd, and i wouldnt blame halladay for calling him out on it. he hit the ball 314.2 feet.

finally i think im going to try to pull some dark side of the moon type of thing and try to get the radio in synch with the television so i never have to listen to michael kay again. anyone else laugh when he said "past a diving arod"

2008-04-02 10:31:29
57.   Yankee Fan In Boston
56 "past a diving arod"

i giggled. i also thought it was funny to hear that damon was "firing" the ball into 3B on a short toss.

2008-04-02 10:32:37
58.   yankster
12 You might have more liberty here to write what you want than beat writers do, but that's why I come here first for the best recap. Newspapers have huge problems generally and not giving the dedicated reader what they want is part of the problem.

Thanks so much for being here and writing this in this way. This community is a big part of baseball for me.

2008-04-02 10:46:59
59.   OldYanksFan
"Brian McNamee is selling between 50 and 60 pieces of signed Roger Clemens memorabilia through a Boston-area dealer. Items signed by Jose Canseco, Andy Pettitte and Jason Grimsley are also part of the sale."

It's a fuckin' crazy world.

2008-04-02 11:37:30
60.   weeping for brunnhilde
12 Hear, hear, Alex. Cliff most certainly does deliver the goods.

So much so that it's easy to take him for granted.

Hats off, Cliff!

As to Joba, he seems to make an effort to turn away from the hitter when he does that cha-cha thing of his, so I'm inclined to think he's not trying to show anyone up.

Francisco Rodriguez, on the other hand...

2008-04-02 11:41:05
61.   weeping for brunnhilde
43 Heh heh heh.

I was indeed grieved to see Damon stranded like that.

I don't know if I'd have bunted there (probably not), but the job has to get done.

Derek's "ab" (if you can call it that) killed us there.

2008-04-02 11:55:36
62.   pistolpete
>> By an definition, Jim Hall is not "new" >>

By definition, he's "new" at announcing the Opening Day lineup.

Kthxbai ;-)

2008-04-02 11:57:18
63.   OldYanksFan
55 JD represents a 2 run lead with Joba and Mo set to come in... and you think we need to go for the 'big inning'?

We can go for a big inning every inning... but when you have man-on-3rd and no out, you HAVE to get that man in. Leaving him stranded gives the entire opposing team a shot of steroids in the ass.

2008-04-02 12:07:04
64.   pistolpete
63 Agreed. That late in the game, even the one additional run is pretty big. But Joba had actually already pitched, so even more reason why you're right.

Jeter did no one any good by grounding the first pitch right to Downs.

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