The Yankees played their best game of the season Tuesday night, but more importantly, raise your hand if you thought Ronald Torreyes would hit the first Yankee home run of the year. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Following an Aaron Judge bloop single in the third, Torreyes took the first pitch from Jake Odorizzi into left field, giving the Yankees the lead and Yankee fans a soon-to-be iconic celebratory photo.
Five-foot-8 Ronald Torreyes drives in 6-foot-7 Aaron Judge with this to left field. pic.twitter.com/BxPSVolLo2— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) April 5, 2017
The Yankees did most of the damage in a wild third inning that saw the Toe home run and a very weird Matt Holliday double. With Brett Gardner on second, Holliday hit a high, HIGH fly ball to left that appeared to narrowly miss the roof of Tropicana Field itself. Left fielder Peter Bourjois appeared to lose the ball against the white ceiling and it dropped a few feet behind him, allowing Gardner to score. Live by the Trop, die by the Trop I guess.
CC Sabathia was effective in his five innings, although a pitch heavy fourth shortened his night. Fastball was a couple of ticks up over last year, hitting 93 mph multiple times throughout the evening, while his location was solid enough to elicit the soft contact we saw last year, and eight ground ball outs to boot. His final line: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 ER. Not bad for his first start, although I’d hope for more length and breaking ball command going forward.
Chase Headley homered in the sixth, taking Odorizzi’s 102nd pitch of the game to centerfield. He followed that up with a solid RBI single off right hander Austin Pruitt in the eighth. There’s been a little bit of noise around Headley following two good games at the plate and a sparkling grab at third. The caveat of this being the .01234567 mark of the season, Chase appears to be off to a much better start than last year.
It’s fortunate that Headley has been so productive, as the search for a Gary Sanchez hit has now reached its third day. Gary did have three good at-bats, one a ten-pitch strikeout and then a laser in the fifth that should have been a double, but Evan Longoria is still the Rays’ third baseman. A hard line drive to Daniel Robertson (that probably wasn’t an out, but whatever) in the ninth capped off a night that was both frustrating for Sanchez based off results, but encouraging based on process. The kid will get hits.
Bryan Mitchell and Tyler Clippard pitched uneventful innings in relief, save for a seventh inning near collision between Jacoby Ellsbury and Judge. The world’s physicists still wait to see the results of a human being running into an Aaron Judge.
Jonathan Holder appeared in his second straight game, recording an out in the eighth before giving up two hits and giving way to Dellin Betances. After walking Evan Longoria, Dellin did what he does, sitting down Rickie Weeks Jr and getting pinch hitter Logan Morrison to ground out weakly to avoid any trouble. Aroldis Chapman came in for the ninth and got three outs.
Unsurprisingly, Sabathia and Torreyes paced the team with their .243 and .172 WPA respectively (per FanGraphs).
Michael Pineda is set to make his first start of the season as the Yankees look to take the series against the Rays tomorrow night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm.