The New York Yankees opened their season today in Tropicana Field against the talented Tampa Bay Rays. Both teams brought their aces out for a classic Opening Day pitching matchup.Â James Shields and CC Sabathia both threw 230+ innings in 2011, with ERAâ€™s at 3.00 or below.Â Last season on July 1oth the two aces matched up in Yankee stadium, in what turned out to be an incredible game.Â That day, both pitched complete games with 10 batters reaching base and only one who crossed home plate. Â That run coming when Shields had Robinson Cano picked off easily at third base but launched the throw over Evan Longoria’s head.
Even though both teams came into Opening Day with potent lineups, many expected a classic pitching duel to go down in the Trop, much like that July classic. Â Too bad no one realized that what was about to occur Tampa: A Bizarro-world Opening Day game.
Shields: 5 IP 9 hits 6 ER 3 BBâ€™s 3 Kâ€™s 1 HR 10.80 ERA
Sabathia: 6 IP 8 hits 5 ER 3 BBâ€™s 7 Kâ€™s 2 HR 7.50 ERA
Not exactly an ace performance for either side.Â The matchup might as well have been Bronson Arroyo vs. James McDonald.Â Shields doesnâ€™t walk anyone.Â Over the course of his career on average Shields would walk about 1.26 walks over 5 IP, yet today he walked three batters and hit Teixeira.
Part of what has made Sabathia so great is his ability to suppress home runs.Â Last season in 33 starts he gave up just 17 home runs, today both Longoria and Carlos Pena took the big guy deep, with Penaâ€™s being of the grand variety.
Raul Ibanez was awful last season; making many question his signing with New York.Â In 2011, he was worth negative 1.3 wins above replacement, due to his awful fielding and .708 OPS.Â Yet in the bizzaro-world his Yankeesâ€™ career began with an RBI groundout; followed up by a massive three-run shot in his next at-bat.
And just when I thought this game couldnâ€™t get any weirder, the ninth inning happened and things truly got strange.Â Mariano Rivera, the sandman, baseballâ€™s greatest closer ever, the last #42 blew the save.Â Rivera gave up two runs and only retired one batter (Ben Zobrist is just too clutch).Â I know Rivera is getting old, but when he enters the game everyone knows that just means the Yankees win, theeeeeeeeeee Yankees win.Â But on Bizarro Opening Day, theeeee Yankees lost.
But you know what? If Opening Day was predictable it just wouldnâ€™t be as fun.
Note: There were two normal occurrences for the Bombers today.
-David Robertson made the eighth inning interesting.
-Joe Girardi is still an awful manager, as he intentionally walked the entire Raysâ€™ Lineup