Today was supposed to be Opening Day. It was supposed to be the day when we would see Gerrit Cole make his Yankees debut; the day when we would start our chase for a 28th championship. Alas, none of those things will be happening today. Not for a while. I’m sorry for the somber opening.
To get some semblance of baseball, I decided to simulate what would have happened had a game been played today. This was done using WhatIfSports. Since they didn’t have updated rosters for 2020 teams, I just took players from their 2019 seasons. I tried to mimic what would have been the Opening Day roster. I only did this for the Yankees as I did not have the strength or energy to figure out what the Orioles’ roster would have looked like. So I just used their 2019 team. This means that players such as Jonathan Villar are still in their lineup, but I just called it a wash.
The starting pitching matchup was Gerrit Cole going up against John Means. Here is a recap of some of the highlights:
Top of the 1st
Batting in the two-hole, Brett Gardner lined a solo home run down the right-field line to give the Yankees an early 1-0 lead.
Bottom of the 1st
Gerrit Cole has a 1-2-3 first inning in his Yankees debut, striking out Trey Mancini (who wouldn’t have been ready Opening Day) swinging.
Bottom of the 4th
Nothing of note happens again until the bottom of the 4th when Pedro Severino launches a solo shot the opposite way. Tied at 1.
Top of the 5th
The Yankees answer right back. Clint Frazier walks to lead off the inning and DJ LeMahieu follows with a single to left-center. Gardner smokes one but right at Chris Davis for the first out. Gleyber Torres flies out to center, but Gary Sanchez comes up with a clutch two-out hit to drive in Frazier. 2-1 Yankees.
Top of the 6th
Gio Urshela gets plunked in the arm by Mychal Givens but stays in the game. We got ice.
Bottom of the 6th
Cole gives up his second homer of the game, this one to Renato Nunez and also the other way. 2-2 ballgame.
Top of the 7th
Gleyber Torres gets plunked in the knee, also by Mychal Givens. Aaron Judge, who is unavailable but in the dugout, gives his classic stoic death stare out to the mound. Torres is alright and stays in. Perhaps it would be more realistic if he was taken out and it was later found that he broke his pinky nail and would miss nine months.
Bottom of the 7th
Cole is still in the game. Stevie Wilkerson hits a one-out double. Gary Sanchez then proceeds to throw the ball away on a pickoff attempt, moving Wilkerson up to third. But Cole manages to get out of the jam, getting Richie Martin to ground out to third and then striking out Hanser Alberto looking.
Bottom of the 8th
Cole is still in there. And he’s still got it. He throws another 1-2-3 inning to finish off his afternoon.
Final line on Cole: 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 11 K, 104 pitches.
Bottom of the 9th
Still tied at two, the Orioles are looking to walk it off against Adam Ottavino. With one out and nobody on, Frazier misplays a line drive off the bat of Dwight Smith Jr. leading to a two-base error. At least it’s realistic.
Ottavino ends up striking out the next two hitters to send the game into extras.
Top of the 11th
Mike Tauchman hits a one-out single to get aboard. Urshela follows with a bloop single to center, allowing Tauchman to get to third. Frazier redeems himself from his error by driving in Tauchman with a line-drive single to left. That’s all the Yankees would get, but they take the 3-2 lead.
Bottom of the 11th
On comes Aroldis Chapman to try to close things out. The Cuban Missile gets Villar looking at strike three, Severino flying out to center, and Smith Jr. going down swinging.