Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yanks' First Loss Is Disappointing, but There's Plenty of Baseball Left

If you would ask me to describe the Yankees' Opening Day loss in one word, I would say "disappointing."

CC Sabathia, the pitcher that cost the Yankees' front office $161 million, only retired 13 Orioles while allowing the same number to reach base safely. The former Brewer ace was pulled from the game during the fourth inning before he could even strike out a batter—the first time Sabathia failed to fan at least one opponent in a game since 2005.

Mark Teixeira, who was supposed to strengthen the A-Rod-less Yankee lineup, didn't get any good wood on his way to a hitless day.

The bullpen, which was strong last year and was expected to be reliable this season, surrendered four runs in just under four innings—every Yankee reliever allowed at least one hit.

Notice that I said I would describe the loss as "disappointing." I didn't say that I am concerned, not yet, at least—I only said I am disappointed.

It's always discouraging when a team that was hyped to be close to invincible shows it's just an ordinary team on Opening Day.

So, what? Is it really such a big deal that Sabathia did not live up to the standards that the media set for him? Does it really matter that Tex went 0-for-4? Do you think that Phil Coke is going to let his one mistake lead to a terrible season?

The answer to the previous three questions: Absolutely not.

That's the beauty of baseball. Barring injuries, Sabathia still has 30-plus starts, Tex has hundreds of upcoming at-bats, and the bullpen as a whole will have many more opportunities.

One game doesn't matter. If the problems persist, then the critics, who are claiming that the free agent signings were a waste and that the bullpen is not a stalwart, should be heard.

For now, let baseball's most expensive team play on.

Tomorrow is the second game of the season, and it will feature Chien-Ming Wang against the 34-year-old rookie from Japan, Koji Uehara.

Wang hates pitching versus Baltimore. The Orioles know his stuff very well, and they have been very successful against the 29-year-old Wang, hitting .319 against him. Despite allowing a high opponent's batting average and having an ERA of 5.13 against Baltimore, Wang has been picked up by the Yankees' offense during his tough starts—the Yanks' former ace posts a career 3-1 record against the O's.

Uehara is expected to be a tough opponent. Fortunately, for the Yankees, he is a righty.

Baltimore showed yesterday that its lineup is potent and shouldn't be overlooked by opposing teams. In order to win tomorrow, the Yankees will need to provide Wang with run support.

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