Yankees baseball is back, but we weren’t greeted with the game we’ve spent the past six months dreaming about. It was clear from the start that Masahiro Tanaka just didn’t have his best stuff today. Meanwhile, the lineup couldn’t get much going against Chris Archer. The last time the Yankees won an Opening Day game was in 2011 against the Tigers. Don’t worry, there is still every possibility that they will go on to win 110 games.
The Rays wasted no time getting to Tanaka. Corey Dickerson started things off with a single up the middle, and Kevin Kiermaier followed with a double to left. Evan Longoria’s sac fly put the Rays on the board first. With one out, Brad Miller hit a grounder over to Greg Bird and reached after Bird lost the ball. Steven Souza Jr. walked to load the bases, and Logan Morrison gave the Rays a 3-0 lead with an RBI back up the middle.
Tampa Bay tacked on two more runs in the second inning after Kiermaier walked and Longoria hit a two-run home run to left. In the third inning, Morrison added another run with a solo shot to center. Tim Beckham followed with a double. Next, Mallex Smith laid down a bunt. Sanchez was charged with an error after he threw the ball away down the first base line, and Beckham scored on the play to give the Rays their seventh and final run of the game. With two outs, Tanaka was lifted from the game in favor of Tommy Layne. Tanaka’s outing was the shortest Opening Day outing for a Yankee since 1983.
The good news is that the bullpen was able to shut down the Rays. Layne, Adam Warren, and Jonathan Holder combined to pitch four and one-third scoreless innings with six strikeouts. Chasen Shreve came on in the eighth inning and worked his way into a bases-loaded jam, but was able to strike out Miller to end the inning.
It wasn’t a fantastic game for the Yankees offensively. However, there were a few bright spots. Starlin Castro and Chase Headley both went 3-for-4 today. In fact, the Yankees got on the board in the second inning after Castro and Headley hit back-to-back singles, and Aaron Judge hit an RBI double to left. Ronald Torreyes was able to drive Headley in with an RBI groundout.
In typical Yankees fashion, the offense attempted to rally in the ninth inning. Headley singled, Judge reached on an error by Longoria, and Aaron Hicks singled on a ball that grazed the top of Beckham’s glove. With zero outs, Chris Carter hit a sac fly to give the Yankees their third and final run of the day. Gary Sanchez struck out swinging, and Bird flew out to end the game.
The Yankees won’t be playing baseball tomorrow because of weird Opening Day schedule stuff, but check back on Tuesday to see if the Yankees plan to go winless all season. CC Sabathia will start Tuesday’s game opposite of Jake Odorizzi at 7:10 EST.