BRONX, N.Y. — The New York Yankees finally donned the pinstripes in a game that counted at Yankee Stadium in 2020. Facing the rival Boston Red Sox (or at least a bunch of guys wearing the laundry), the Bronx Bombers feasted on that home cooking. It all added up to a three-game sweep and six straight wins for the Yankees.
Tonight, along with @nyphospital and Union 1199SEIU, we honored 11 front line healthcare heroes with an incredibly special lineup. Their sacrifice to our community and this country is an inspiration to us all. From everyone here at the New York Yankees, we say “THANK YOU!” pic.twitter.com/FfHV6CsyHI
Other than the obvious awkwardness of an empty Yankee Stadium, the organization put on a solid production for the home opener. The Yankees honored front line, healthcare heroes. Suzyn Waldman knocked it out of the park with her rendition of the National Anthem. CC Sabathia threw out the first pitch. Haley Swindal, the oldest granddaughter of George and Joan Steinbrenner, sang God Bless America. On the field, it was as impressive with a 5-1 Yankee victory.
Tonight's National Anthem was performed by Suzyn Waldman. Suzyn was the very first voice ever heard on WFAN radio. She has been a beat reporter, TV analyst, play by play broadcaster, and is the first and only woman ever to have a full-time analyst job with a Major League team. pic.twitter.com/9IEmHzzv6D
Against a Red Sox pitching staff that was pulled out of a hat, the Bronx Bombers took advantage of what was in front of them. Trailing 1-0 in the third inning, the Yankee lineup clapped back at Ryan Weber.
Aaron Judge continued his tear, clubbing the first-pitch curveball into the leftfield seats for a two-run tater. During the fourth frame, Gio Urshela deposited a 2-1 Weber changeup into the right-field stands for a solo shot.
He usually likes to aim for the Lay’s sign but this time for good measure Brett Gardner crushed a two-run bomb above the Hairclub sign in right, off a 3-1 curveball from Colten Brewer, to cap off the scoring.
I didn’t see Katie Sharp tweet about it but I’m assuming this is a first. Jordan Montgomery wasn’t on the season-opening roster but got the nod in the home opener. You don’t see that happen too often, if ever. As he showed in the exhibition season, Montgomery deserved the ball in this spot.
Aside from a hiccup solo home run to Michael Chavis in the third inning, “Gumby” stretched out some much-needed innings with a thin starting staff. The young southpaw tossed 5.2 frames, scattering five hits, walking one, fanning four and yielding one run.
Chad Green’s four-seam fastball had some wicked movement and it was on full display, dotting the corners. Lots of movement for Greenie and his four K’s in two frames.
Offensively, it was the same formula for the Bronx Bombers. The 5-2 victory was not as close as it looked, or at least it never felt threatened. Even though it was essentially a bullpen game (stealing outs with “true closer” David Hale and his three K’s in two innings) after Masahiro Tanaka’s short stint, the Yankees stole some more outs and maybe discovered a new weapon.
Once again, home runs were the order of the night. Judge posted the pinstripes on the board with a solo swat to left, off a 2-2 knuckle curve from Zack Godley in the first frame. It was the fourth consecutive contest with a homer for the Yankee right-fielder.
It must’ve been un-Godley to watch for Bosox fans in the second stanza.
Urshela connected for his first career grand slam, smashing a first-pitch changeup to dead center for a 5-0 advantage. Urshela became the first Yankee third baseman to hit a grand slam against the Sawx since Graig Nettles in 1976. He’s also the first Yankee to hit a grand slam and steal a base in the same game against the Red Sox.
Tanaka is clearly still building back and didn’t last more than 2.2 frames. The longest-tenured Yankee starter struck out three but allowed a two-run double to Xander Bogaerts in the third inning prior to exiting. Luis Avilan kept Boston from adding more and went 1.1 scoreless innings with two K’s.
NICK AT NITE
After rising through the system last year, Nick Nelson appeared to be on the come this March. If he didn’t make it out of camp, he was going to be a factor down the road at some point. In three scoreless frames without allowing a hit, Nelson fanned four and walked two in his debut. His four-seam fastball was touching 98 mph and his final strikeout on an 86 mph changeup to Tzu-Wei Lin in the seventh inning was dirty.
The Yankees are just toying with folks at this point. It was far from a pitching clinic but the Bronx Bombers made the big hits and homers when they needed them. All of it added up to a 9-7 victory.
Alright, I’ll get the bad stuff out of the way first. James Paxton was flat once again. The Big Maple was apparently not amped up by the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs and was hit early. Bogaerts, who, along with Rafael Devers, was doing most of the damage for the Boston bats Sunday night, took Paxton yard in the first frame for a two-run tater to right.
Between Aaron Hicks and Miguel Andujar, his defense didn’t help his cause in the second and third. Yet, run-scoring singles by Devers, Bogaerts and Christian Vazquez, in the second stanza, made for a brutal evening that lasted a mere three innings.
JUDGE IT GOODBYE
While Paxton’s woes are troublesome in the long-term, short-term, you knew the Yankee bats were rolling and the Red Sox pitching staff had a bunch of Pawtucket Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs. Facing thee Matt Hall, Judge smashed a three-run shot to left in the second stanza to erase an early 2-0 deficit.
Michael King rebounded nicely from his outing in Washington. The only real hiccups, unfortunately, came against the only players really doing anything for the Bosox, yielding solo home runs to Bogaerts and Devers in the fifth and seventh innings respectively. King notched four K’s in 3.2 frames of work.
Sandwiched between the two aforementioned home runs in this seesaw affair was a laser liner homer to left by Luke Voit. Voit rocked the solo shot off Heath Hembree during the fifth frame.
Facing Matthew Barnes in the eighth, the diverse Yankee lineup was on full display. Mike Tauchman coaxed a big two-out walk and stole second. That set up an equally huge RBI-single up the box by LeMahieu to square the contest at seven.
The ensuing batter Judge untied it with a mammoth two-run thrash to left for a 9-7 advantage. All of Judge’s home runs this season have either tied the game or given the Yankees a lead. Judge’s six home runs tied Alex Rodriguez (2007) for the most in the club’s first eight games.