BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 04: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees takes a swing during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 4, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles won 9-4. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Today would have been Opening Day 2020 for the Yankees and the Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore. But, COVID-19 86’ed that during Spring Training. However, using the latest version of Out of the Park (OOTP 21), I’ve simulated this year’s Opening Day. We also have another simulation on today’s opener, which you can find here.
Opening Day Gleyber Dayja vu all over again
The 2020 regular season started much in the same way it played out last year, at least where the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles are concerned. Gleyber Torres smashed a 3-run first-inning home run and the Yankees hit three other home runs in a 9-3 victory. Gerritt Cole pitched six innings in his Yankees debut to earn the win.
Video went viral last season when Orioles’ announcer Gary Thorne was left virtually speechless after Torres hit a record-setting 13 home runs against the Orioles in 2019. It only took an inning for Thorne to feel that way again.
Orioles starter Alex Cobb, coming off of hip surgery, walked leadoff hitter Brett Gardner on four pitches and DJ LeMahieu followed with a single. After falling behind 2-1, Cobb hung and slider and Torres sent it over the wall in centerfield, some 428 feet away. It left the field of play with an exit velocity of 109.4 MPH.
Cole breezed through the first inning on a pair of ground outs to LeMahieu and picked up his first strikeout when he whiffed Anthony Santander swinging. The Yankees then quickly tacked on two more runs in the 2nd inning.
Gio Urshela got aboard with a single and Gardner followed with a 2-run home run to right field for a 5-0 New York lead. It was all part of a three-hit, three-RBI day for Gardner.
In the 5th inning, the Yankees once again flashed their power. Giancarlo Stanton, under much fan scrutiny after appearing in just 18 regular-season games last year and suffering a calf strain in Spring Training, took reliever Travis Lakins deep to start the frame.
Harvey Hunter replaced Lakins but met the same fate as his predecessor. Catcher Gary Sanchez followed Stanton’s blast with one of his own for a 7-0 Yankees’ advantage.
The Orioles finally got to Cole in the bottom of the 5th inning on a Chris Davis RBI single, but the Yankees’ free-agent prize retired Hanser Alberto with two on and two out.
Cole worked out of another jam an inning later, striking out Dwight Smith Jr. and Austin Hays with two runners in scoring position. With 82 pitches under Cole’s belt, manager Aaron Boone then went to the bullpen – Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman – for the final nine outs.
Cole was happy with his Yankees debut – 6 IP 1 ER 3 H 3 BB 7 K – though he wished he could have gone deeper into the game.
With Aaron Judge sidelined due to a rib fracture, Miguel Andujar was the DH. He doubled twice in five at-bats.
In his first appearance since surrendering Jose Altuve’s walk-off in the ALCS, Chapman struck out the side in the 9th inning.
After an off-day on Friday, the two teams meet again on Saturday. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka up against Jerry Means.