The Bronx Bombers were in full bloom on Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. With the constant pressure of competing to win their first World Series since 2009, the Yankees will need to have more days in the same vein as yesterday. Masahiro Tanaka got the nod for the Yankees as Luis Severino is still recovering from injury. The Yankees starting lineup was only missing Didi Gregorious and Aaron Hicks, but one could hardly notice their absence.
Tanaka pitched a strong outing allowing six hits, one earned run, and five strikeouts over the course of 5 2/3 innings. The Japanese staring pitcher looked remarkably comfortable for someone who had generally struggled in his previous Opening Day appearances. Obviously, having an offense that could put up record setting home run numbers, as they did last year, should help alleviate any nerves when facing a team that is currently in the process of a rebuild.
Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, said of Tanaka,
“He controlled the moment well. He fielded his position well. He gave us everything we needed at the start.”
The strong start should only serve to bolster Tanaka’s confidence. The Yankees’ ace will be hoping to build off of a rebound year in 2018 after posting a 4.74 ERA in 2017 through 28 starts. If the Yankees are to compete with the Red Sox not only for the AL East but also for a spot in the World Series, Tanaka will need to be an important component on days when the Yankee sluggers dip in form or suffer injury.
New York got off to a terrific start with a 3-run home run courtesy of Luke Voit, who batted in the cleanup spot behind Gardner, Judge, and Stanton. Luke Voit joined the Yankees from a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals just before the trade deadline last season. He quickly garnered favor with both the fans and clubhouse, and contributed 14 home runs and 33 RBIs in only 39 games. The fact that he is able to add such immense strength to a team that is already one of the biggest in the MLB only goes to show how good the Yankees are expected to be this season.
The only two players that found a difficult time against the Orioles were Brett Gardner and Gregg Bird. Gardner was unable to get a hit but managed to score off of a walk. Gregg Bird, on the other hand, hit a solo shot up the middle in the eighth inning all but finishing off the game. Yet, Bird struck out three times and looked as though he was searching for that home run ball throughout most of the game.
The New York Yankees never had to rely on the services of Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton, but both combined for four runs. With a lineup as talented as that of the Yankees, there is always a hitter waiting to step up. Nonetheless, Judge and Stanton are expected to put up record numbers this year in an effort to build on a historic 2018 for the Bronx Bombers as a whole.
Andrew Casnher took the mound for Baltimore but never looked comfortable in his four innings. He allowed four walks and gave up six hits leading to six earned runs. He was immediately on the back foot after giving up the 3-run home run to Voit in the 1st inning.
Baltimore were able to muster eight hits against the Yankees’ pitchers and Trey Mancini and Rio Ruiz provided one RBI each. The team finished with a respectable 2-for-4 with runners in scoring positions, but the remainder of their hits were of little significance.
The Orioles are a team in transition. In 2018 with Buck Showalter at the helm, the club lost 115 games, which was the worst record by any team this decade. Showalter is now gone and first time manager, Brandon Hyde, is tasked the monumental challenge of trying to remain competitive this season. Adam Jones, who had been with the Baltimore since 2008 is now a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. While he was a player on the wrong side of thirty, he was an influential leader in the locker room and maintained his effectiveness at the plate up to his departure.
The Yankees will look to win the three game series tomorrow at 1:05 PM. James Paxton, who was one of the highlight signings of the offseason, will be taking the mound in his first regular season start with his new club. The Bronx Bombers will need to stay healthy throughout the season in order to have a shot at the AL East Division. They’re fight, strong mentality, and pure quality will go a long way in making their goal a reality.
Photo Credit- Unsplash: Dan Gold