Welcome back Yankees baseball! We missed you, but not enough to want to see another performance like this. So get your stuff together.
After what may have seemed like an interminable wait, the New York Yankees played a baseball game with actual ramifications. The shiny and new 2014 squad kicked off the season in Houston against the Astros, who looked to give their fans a great Opening Day memory in what is likely to be a long and difficult season. CC Sabathia took the mound against Astros free agent acquisition Scott Feldman.
The first inning was a less than delightful start to the season. In a Yankees scoreless first, Derek Jeter got plunked on the arm by Feldman, but fortunately showed no ill effects. It was apparently a terrible omen. In the bottom of the frame, sloppy defense and poor pitching combined for quite the mess. After Dexter Fowler had advanced to third following his double, Joe Girardi opted to bring in the infield for some reason. Sure enough, Jose Altuve smacked a grounder under a drawn-in Derek Jeter's glove. A steal and wild pitch got Altuve to third, and then Mark Teixeira decided to throw home on a grounder from Jason Castro. Both runners would reach safely. Castro would subsequently score on a two-run bomb hit by Jesus Guzman. Two extra runners, two extra runs and the Astros were up 4-0.
About five seconds into the bottom of the second Sabathia allowed another rocket off the bat of L.J. Hoes to up the score to 5-0 in favor of the Astros. A second Fowler double in as many innings led to a sixth run. The Yankees, meanwhile, managed to be no-hit by Feldman through their first three innings. So yeah, it was an inauspicious beginning to 2014. CC was able to settle down after his odious start and make it through six innings, but the damage had already been done. The Yankees offense offered little resistance to Feldman, who worked all the way into the seventh without yielding a run and only two hits.
And that's just about it, ladies and gentlemen. The Yankees mounted a small rally against Chad Qualls in the eighth powered by opposite-field RBI singles from Brian McCann and Teixeira, who did not actually retire afterwards. If you want some positives in the pitching department, Dellin Betances and Vidal Nuno looked excellent in their inning of work each.
All in all, Sabathia looked pretty unchanged from the version we saw in 2013. His fastball was topping out around 90 MPH and he was highly susceptible to the home run. When it's game 1 of 162, there's usually little reason to panic too much. But CC has a year of unimpressive pitching under his belt and the Astros are not exactly world-beaters. Hopefully he'll figure things out, because he's going to get plenty of opportunities to. The offense could also do us all a favor and not do any more impressions of their 2013 predecessors.
The two teams meet again tomorrow at 8:10 PM EST. Hiroki Kuroda and Jarred Cosart are your probables.