Months after we expected to have it, the first game of the 2020 season is in the books. The Yankees battled the defending World Series champions and the weather in their first game back, winning a marquee pitching matchup and walking away with a 4-1 victory. We didn’t get a full nine innings, thanks to an uncooperative weather forecast, but enough innings were finished to give the Yankees the win on Opening Day.
Winner of the Game
We waited so long for it, and we finally got to see Gerrit Cole debut as a Yankee. Cole wasn’t hitting all of his spots, falling behind on plenty of first pitches, but he was effective enough to keep the Nationals off the basebaths. The only hit that Cole surrendered in five innings of work was the solo home run he allowed to Adam Eaton in the first inning. He certainly out-dueled his counterpart Max Scherzer, who had one dominant stretch where he struck out four straight Yankees but otherwise struggled to put away batters. Just look at how much of the zone he can command when he’s settled in:
Gerrit Cole, 97mph Fastball (swing/miss) and 88mph Breaking Ball (sword K), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/VtRRiHIbzS— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 24, 2020
The Yankees offense did it’s part in backing up Cole, led by Giancarlo Stanton setting the tone in the first inning. Stanton took Scherzer deep to left-center, tagging the ball 459 feet. The slugger added another RBI hit in the fifth, lining a single over to right field with the bases loaded. The ball was so hard hit it actually prevented another run from coming home, but the loud contact is very encouraging.
Loser of the Game
Brett Gardner started in his 1,500th game as a Yankee, but unfortunately there wasn’t much for him to remember about the night. Gardner couldn’t get anything off of Scherzer, striking out in all three at-bats he had against the three-time Cy Young Award winner. His last strikeout stranded three runners, missing out on an opportunity to really put the game away. The rainout prevented that from mattering too much though.