I got so excited about Opening Day that I forgot how annoying baseball can be sometimes.
Anthony Volpe notched his first MLB hit and second stolen base, Aaron Judge looked completely locked in again, and the bullpen couldn’t keep men off the bases. Alas, Michael King and Clay Holmes combined to allow four runs and eight baserunners in 2.1 innings. That was the difference in today’s ballgame, as the Yankees lost 7-5 against the Giants to fall to 1-1.
Giancarlo Stanton was responsible for the first two runs that the Yankees pushed across today, benefitting from Alex Cobb’s throwing error on what should have been a double-play ball before lining a pitch into right field for his first home run of the season:
Clarke Schmidt continued to flash that strikeout potential we saw in spring training, striking out five Giants against just a single walk. That’s the good news! He was in and around the strike zone with both his main offerings, the sweeper and cutter making up 52 of his 76 pitches. He looked to be in pretty good shape in the first three innings, although his pitch count was a little high at 57 given he’s probably not completely built up yet.
Then Joc Pederson took him deep to open the fourth, and Mike Yastrzemski followed with a double down the right field line. Schmidt was able to get David Villar to line out, but he wasn’t missing many bats by this point — and then Brandon Crawford put the Giants ahead, 3-2, with a home run of his own.
Wandy Peralta’s work was terrific as he resumed his mission to pitch in every single 2023 contest. DJ LeMahieu got some help from the sun leading off the bottom of the fifth, spurring successive hits from Judge and Anthony Rizzo to knot the game at three.
Mother nature does DJ LeMahieu a solid and gifts him with a double! Judge follows up with a single and the Yankees have 2 men on with no outs #NYY pic.twitter.com/F05g9pyPor— Fireside Yankees (@FiresideYankees) April 1, 2023
Unfortunately, neither Giancarlo Stanton nor Josh Donaldson could get the Yankees the lead, although in fairness to Donaldson the bat was taken out of his hands.
Michael King struggled in his first outing of the day, loading the bases before the Giants brought in two runs without a ball leaving the infield. A swinging bunt, miscommunication between King and Jose Trevino, and a misplay from Volpe had the Giants up, 5-3.
The top of the Yankee order was smothered in the seventh, and although Josh Donaldson was able to add his first homer of the year in the eighth, the Yankee bullpen just kept yielding tack-on run after tack-on run. Holmes didn’t look comfortable in the ninth, surrendering three hits and a pair of runs.
That turned out huge for the Giants, as closer Camilo Doval struggled to get set in the bottom half, being charged with two pitch clock violations. Volpe singled, DJ walked, and Aaron Judge drove Volpe in to make it just a two-run game. Doval was frazzled, charged an automatic ball to start out 1-0 against Stanton...who bounced into a double play to end the game. The call at second was iffy, but it stood and that was that.
Baseball is like this sometimes. The Yankees showed some fight, Volpe looks extremely comfortable in the majors, and we just have to figure the bullpen will be more locked in the rest of the season. New York can win the opening series with a victory in the rubber match Sunday, with first pitch at 1:05pm and Jhony Brito on the hill for his MLB debut against Ross Stripling.