The last time the Yankees used an opener, it didn’t go well. Back on August 15th, Chad Green got the start, but he wouldn’t even last an inning in that role. The right-hander gave up five runs across the six batters he faced as part of that 19-5 loss to the Indians.
After CC Sabathia’s return, the Yankees didn’t need to use an opener. With the veteran southpaw back on the IL, however, the Bombers tasked Green with giving it another go. This time, it couldn’t have gone more smoothly.
Green and the rest of the Yankees’ staff allowed just one run on seven hits, with that run not scoring until the ninth. They combined for 13 strikeouts and just two walks. Pretty much everyone who pitched was, at the very least, solid.
As for the offense, homers from Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres gave the Yankees more than enough runs. It may have only been a three-run game, but it was a fairly easy 4-1 win for the Yankees, as they picked up the series win over the Rangers.
After a couple scoreless innings from both sides, the Yankees got on the board in the third. With one out and Brett Gardner on after a walk, Judge kicked off the scoring with a two-run home run into the seats in right. The next inning, Torres added a solo shot to further increase the lead.
Things quieted down for a while after that, but eventually the Yankees’ offense got going again. The insurance came in the sixth inning, after a Mike Tauchman walk set up an Austin Romine RBI double.
Luis Cessa replaced Green after the opener kept Texas off the board in the first two innings. Cessa threw three solid innings, allowing just two hits while striking out three. Then Aaron Boone got a few key bullpen pieces some work after a couple days off. Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, and Zack Britton all threw scoreless innings. Kanhle in particular impressed, striking out three.
The Rangers eventually got on the board, but it took until the ninth. With Cory Gearrin in the game, Rougned Odor homered off him. Aroldis Chapman was throwing in the bullpen after the homer, but it would only be a brief blip. Gearrin bounced back and struck out the next two hitters to end the game.
The Yankees themselves only managed six hits, but that ended up being more than enough with how well the pitching staff performed.
After a day off tomorrow, the Yankees will go to Boston for a set against the Red Sox. Things did not go well the last time they were up there, but the Yankees have more than made up for it since. Games against the Red Sox in the past couple years have rarely been easy. That said, if the Yankees can get some wins, they can truly bury their rivals in their hunt for a playoff bid, which would be fun.