Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wang, Joba, Mo and Head Home

Opening Night . . .

First and foremost, Tuesday's opening night was a tremendous baseball game. The fact that the Yankees won the game is secondary. There's no doubt who the player of the game was, as Melky Cabrera made two solid catches [one good, one great] along with a 315 foot homerun which landed approximately six inches over the 314 foot sign.

In second place would be Chien Ming-Wang who battled through seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. He was nowhere near his sharpest and yet when the box-score is printed tomorrow morning it shows he fought, got the ball to Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera and earned himself the win.

It was slightly strange yet interesting to see Joe Girardi jog out to the mound in the seventh inning to chat with Wang [before the pitcher induced a crucial groundout to keep the score tied at 2]. Rivera handed Girardi the ball from the final out, and during his postgame interview the new skipper was noticeably emotional before composing himself.

So as to avoid wasting your time, here are some aspects which stood out during tonight's ballgame:
  • Jason Giambi looked cat-like in the field, snatching a screaming line drive with the infield in, and avoiding a tag on an important baserunning play in the seventh.
  • Bobby Abreu smoked two balls into rightfield and obviously is planning to start a bit hotter than his dreary 2007 opening.
  • Alex Rodriguez - 2 for 3 on the night - picked up where he left off gobbling up his first RBI opportunity in the first inning with an opposite field double.
  • Joba Chamberlain is not yet in midseason form - as many last remember him in the Bronx - but he was still able to strike out two and post a zero before passing the baton to Mariano Rivera. Mo, did look like he was pitching in June, pitching a perfect inning and striking out one to earn the first save of 2008. Last season Mariano earned his first save of the season on April 28.
  • Roy Halladay caught the short end of the stick after dominating the Yankees for the majority of the game. The "Doc" absolutely dominated through the first five innings, throwing less than 10 pitches per inning through those five frames.

    He was throwing his two-seam and four-seam fastballs on either side of the plate. His cutter or slider and spike curveball were also working. That meant Yankees hitters were digging in and had no clue what Halladay would throw next. He is truly a rare breed, the #1 starter in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, his x-rated reaction to Leche's homerun is nowhere near top-notch.

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