Monday, April 7, 2014

Yankees win clouded by David Robertson injury

The New York Yankees won their home opener Monday afternoon 4-2 over the Baltimore Orioles in front of a sellout crowd. The celebration was short lived as Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced after the game that closer David Robertson will be placed on the disabled list due to a strained groin suffered in Sunday’s victory.

When Adam Warren came on to preserve a two-run lead in the eighth inning instead of Shawn Kelley, speculation was that Robertson was not going to be used because he had pitched in three of the last four days. Unfortunately that was not the case.

The bullpen has been a strong suit for the Yankees thus far on the young season despite being regarded as a weakness by many. Now, there will be even more questions with Robertson gone for at least a couple of weeks.

Kelley notched his first career save Monday setting down the Orioles 1-2-3. He’ll head what Girardi called a committee according to a tweet from the YES Network's Meredith Marokovits.

All was well in Yankeeland until the game actually ended. Hiroki Kuroda had pitched nicely (6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB and 4 K) and the Yankees knocked Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez from the game in the fifth inning. The bullpen once again put up zeros on the way to the Yankees victory.

The offensive highlight came in the fifth when Derek Jeter, in his last home opener, drilled a line drive to left field that appeared to have enough distance for a home run, but it hit the wall. Jeter had admired the shot, but then turned on the speed to get to second for a double. Jacoby Ellsbury followed with a single which ended up being the deciding run in the game.

The Yankees, who had more than their share of injuries in 2013, have now lost Mark Teixeira and Robertson to the disabled list within the first week of 2014. It is obviously not what the team hoped for out of the gates and will put added pressure on players who are generally not accustomed to it.

Kelley pitched well for the Yankees in 2013 earning important seventh inning appearances for the club and has yet to allow a run in four appearances (3.1 IP). Warren, who has looked very good (0 BB, 0 H and 0 R in 3.1 IP) and Matt Thornton, who has some closing experience, could also get some chances to close out games.

It’s an early test for the Yankees and a very important one. So far, the bullpen has been up to the task, dispelling the notion that their inexperience was going to be an issue. Can it step it up even further?

  • Alfonso Soriano had two hits and a walk putting his 0-for-17 start in the rear-view mirror
  • Ellsbury had two more hits and is batting .360
  • The Yankees have won 20 of their last 23 home openers
  • Yankees starters have not allowed a walk in the last four games
Tuesday’s Game:

The Yankees trot Ivan Nova (1-0, 3.18 ERA) to the hill to face Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen (0-1, 6.35 ERA). Despite Nova’s win in his initial start of the season, he’ll work on limiting walks in his one after handing out five free passes in Houston.

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