Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New York Yankees: Brightside of ugly

The New York Yankees opened the season with a large thud in a degrading 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park Tuesday night. Much of the defeat can be attributed to the total ineffectiveness of CC Sabathia and some sloppy play in the first inning. The Yankees have now lost five of their last six openers, all started by Sabathia.

While Sabathia labored through the first two innings, helping the Astros jump to a six-run lead, there were some positive developments along the way.

First, both Derek Jeter and Brian McCann had injury scares early on. In Jeter’s first at-bat he was drilled by a Scott Feldman fastball on the top of the left forearm. He stayed in the game and ended up contributing a base hit, putting him two short of tying Paul Molitor on the all-time hit list. McCann took a hard foul ball to his exposed right hand early on. He too stayed in the game and delivered a RBI single in the Yankees’ half of the eighth.

Last season, it seemed the Yankees found many ways to get injured. Any time there was a hit by pitch or a freak occurrence it turned into a DL stint. Fortunately both Jeter and McCann stated they would be fine after the game. According to Chad Jennings of The Journal News, neither player will undergo tests.

After Sabathia calmed down the Yankees were able to get two of their younger relievers some time on the mound. Dellin Betances, who had a marvelous spring came on in the seventh inning and struck out two batters in a scoreless frame. Right after him, lefty Vidal Nuno struck out the side in the eighth, allowing one hit along the way.

Another positive occurrence was watching Mark Teixeira at the plate. He swung the bat as well as we’ve seen since spring training, rapping out two hits and working a walk in four plate appearances.

So in a night where Sabathia continued to stink during an Opening Day start, the Yankees walked away with a feeling that things could have been worse. Jeter summed it up as well as anyone could.

“Well we’re not going to go undefeated,” Jeter said via the New York Daily News. “It’s only one game. The good thing is we come back tomorrow.”

We’ll see if Hiroki Kuroda can right the ship and the Yankees offense can get something started against Houston’s Jarred Cosart in Wednesday’s 8:10 p.m. EST start.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.