sabathia ellsbury

Opening Day win for the Red Sox in the Bronx

AL BEast Notebook – April 1

It’s a great start to the season if you are a Red Sox fan. Not so much for their proud counterparts in the Big Apple.

CC Sabathia gave up four runs in the second inning on walks and singles and that was all Boston needed as they beat the Yankees 8-2 on a day that started out warm and sunny and ended cold, rainy and windy, with empty bleachers and trash blowing all over the field.

The Yankees certainly didn’t exactly resemble your traditional Bronx Bombers. Confused New Yorkers were cheering for “Yooouuk.” Injured A-Rod and Jeter were replaced by Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez, who combed for 0-6 with five strikeouts. Ben Francisco, playing for his sixth team in the last 16 months, was the designated hitter. They needed some terrific pitching from their ace, and they didn’t get it: CC gave up eight hits, walked four batters and got pulled after the fifth inning. Joba Chamberlain, looking like a caterpillar is taking up residence under his nose, pitched a terrible ninth allowing three to score that only about 68 fans left in the stands witnessed. It was an uninspiring performance by the Yankees, who allowed four infield hits and walked eight Boston batters.

Sabathia’s career ERA in April is 7.24 and despite starting five times he is still winless on Opening Day with the Yanks. In his last seven games against the rival Red Sox he is 2-4 with a 6.70 ERA.

The Red Sox lineup wasn’t much more intimidating, but the first three batters had seven hits while Jarrod Saltalamacchia and rookie Jackie Bradley combined for six walks and four runs. Bradley had a big impact in his major league debut, also beating out a throw at second base that opened the floodgates in the second inning, then made a run-saving catch in left field in the third.

The lone bright spot in the game for New York was Francisco Cervelli, who coaxed Yankee fans one step back from the ledge when it looked like it would be the same old story. Cervelli got a two out hit, the Yankees’ first in two years, with the bases loaded to send two runners across home. Then in the sixth he made a great tag to stop Ellsbury at the plate and keep the Sox’ lead at just two.

But the day belonged to the Red Sox and the Yankee lineup made Boston’s pitchers look nearly perfect. Lester had just one bad inning while striking out seven in five innings, while five relievers yielded one hit across the last four frames. New Sox reliever Koji Uehara needed just five pitches to get through the sixth. New closer Joel Hanrahan also threw a 1-2-3 inning in his his first appearance for the club.

If the game wasn’t bad enough, Alex Rodriguez made an appearance for the media beforehand, answering more questions about PEDs and stating that the Yankees being projected to finish in last place is “pretty crazy.”

Both teams get a day off tomorrow. Then the Yankees will shake up the lineup with righty Clay Buchholz taking the hill, although that really only means Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner get the start and Ichiro bats second.

Certainly, Girardi declares afterward that it’s just one game out of 162, but the lackluster yet predictably bad performance will probably not be a rare occurrence this month.

From around the league, the Daily Top Five:

- Bryce Harper homers twice, Strasburg throws seven shutout innings, Nationals win 2-0
- Clayton Kershaw pitches a complete game shutout and breaks a scoreless tie himself with a home run in the eighth, Dodgers beat the Giants
- Angels and Reds combined for 30 strikeouts and 4 errors in a 4:45 long 13 inning game in Interleague action on Opening Day. Reds batters not named Shin-Soo Choo went 1-37 (.027). Angels win
- Felix Hernandez and Chris Sale each threw 7.2 shutout innings for the Mariners and White Sox, Jeff Samardzija throws 8 scoreless for the Cubs
- Meanwhile, the Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles and Indians are saying “don’t forget about us!”