About Yesterday: Yanks Win!
By Tim Kabel
March 31, 2023
About Yesterday: The Yankees Shut Out the Giants 5-0 Well, the regular season is finally here. It seemed as if the off-season would never end but, of course it did. The Yankees could not have asked for a better result on Opening Day. Gerrit Cole was dominant, striking out 11 batters over 6 shutout innings. Aaron Judge hit a home run in his first at bat and later drove in another run with a single. Gleyber Torres added a two-run home run in the 4th inning. Anthony Volpe had a very nice debut, stealing a base and making some good plays at shortstop. It was an excellent way to start the season.
Gerrit Cole pitched the first shutout for the Yankees on Opening Day since 1988, when Rick Rhoden did it against the Twins.
Anthony Volpe is not the only Yankees' player to switch uniform numbers. During the pregame introductions, Clarke Schmidt was wearing number 36.
Gerrit Cole broke the team record for most strikeouts by a starting pitcher on Opening Day with 11.
The only two players in the starting lineup not to get a hit were Anthony Volpe and Oswaldo Cabrera. I'm sure there are people saying, “See, they are not ready. Send them back to the minors.”
Anthony Volpe called Brett Gardner to ask him if it was okay for him to wear # 11. That was a classy move by a 21-year-old.
Prior to the game, each member of the Yankees team found a blue box with two bottles of wine that was a gift from Anthony Rizzo. Most of the boxes had the player's name embossed in gold. For the players who were last minute additions to the roster, the boxes had the logo of the winery, which is in Italy. Rizzo visited the winery with his wife, parents, and in-laws in January and decided to give the wine as gifts to his teammates because he feels that Opening Day is special.
The Big Story:
The Yankees hope this will be a special season and that they will win the World Series. I know this was just one game but, there were some very good signs. Judge and Torres hitting home runs and Cole putting out a dominant performance were prime examples. This was an efficient win that was never in question. What the Yankees need to make this a special season is consistency. I know they are down some key players, especially from the starting rotation but they need to hold it together and put up wins. The Giants are a very beatable team so, it would be nice to see Clarke Schmidt and Jhony Brito pitch well and lead the team to victory on Saturday and Sunday.
Players of the Game:
Aaron Judge picked up where he left off last season, hitting a home run, getting two hits, and driving in two runs.
Gerritt Cole was not only dominant on the mound, but he did also not let things such as a blown call by the umpire rattle him, which he seemed to do very often last year. That is a very encouraging sign. His ability is not in question and if he remains unflappable, he could have a very good year.
Ron Marinaccio pitched two hitless innings with three strikeouts to close out the game. He could be a major contributor out of the bullpen this season.
Better to Forget:
Oswaldo Cabrera was 0-4 with four strikeouts. He seems like the type of player who can shake that off fairly easily.
This game seemed to have a different feel to it. I think it's because of the composition of the team and the lineup. They did not appear to be same old Yankees. Volpe starting at shortstop, was a big part of that. My stated choice throughout the offseason was for Volpe to be at second base and Oswald Peraza to be at shortstop. However, Volpe won the competition in spring training fair and square. I believe Peraza will be back in fairly short order but i just don't know where he will play.
In addition to Volpe playing shortstop, Oswaldo Cabrera was in left field. I was dreading the idea of Aaron Hicks playing there. I don't know who will play there on Saturday or beyond, but Cabrera had a tremendous Spring Training and played very well for the Yankees last year. He deserves to be playing regularly.
The enthusiasm and energy of this team was discernible. They seem to be positive, focused, and united. They are also fun to watch. This could be a very exciting season. We are always optimistic on Opening Day, especially if our team wins but, there seems to be something different this season.
I don't believe the Yankees roster is finalized. Going into yesterday, the Yankees carried 12 pitchers and 14 position players. They are reportedly negotiating with an unnamed free agent pitcher, who could be added to the team by Friday. There could also be a trade, especially considering that Bryan Reynolds and the Pirates did not reach a contract agreement by their agreed upon deadline of 4:10 PM on Opening Day. I do not imagine the Yankees will carry both Franchy Cordero and Estevan Florial for very long. One of them, most likely Florial, could be gone before tomorrow's game. There will still be moves, most likely in the next day or so.
I believe that is part of the process of making this a more competitive and enjoyable team. Seeing Volpe and Cabrera in the starting lineup was a very good start.
On Saturday, the Yankees resume their opening series against the San Francisco Giants at 4:05 PM at Yankee Stadium. Clarke Schmidt will face the Giants' Alex Cobb.