And yet, optimism is abound. The Yankees did upgrade their roster over the winter (at least when healthy), and they remain on the short list of the best teams in baseball. It feels like you can count on one hand the number of teams with a realistic chance to win the World Series in 2019. The Yankees are one of those teams. They hit dingers aplenty and the pitching staff is perpetually underrated.
“They’ve had a couple of really good teams here that have been close, and the disappointment of an ending when you feel like you have a team capable of greatness I think does add a log to the fire,” said second year manager Aaron Boone to Scott Orgera yesterday. “It does add a little extra kick to wanting this to get done, and I think that adds to everyone’s hunger a little bit.”
The Yankees snapped their six-year Opening Day losing streak last season. The next goal? Win back-to-back Opening Days. The Yankees haven’t done that since winning four straight season openers from 2005-08. They are 2-8 in their last ten Opening Days. Some notes about today:
- Masahiro Tanaka is making his fourth career Opening Day start, breaking a tie with Hideo Nomo for the most ever by a Japanese-born pitcher. That’s pretty cool.
- Five Yankees are on an Opening Day roster for the first time: Miguel Andujar, Domingo German, Gleyber Torres, Stephen Tarpley, and Luke Voit. That’s also pretty cool.
- This is the earliest regular season game in Yankees history. The previous record? Last year’s March 29th season opener. For what it’s worth, the Yankees are 5-2 all-time in March.
The various injured Yankees are in Tampa rehabbing and won’t take part in today’s pregame introductions, which is kinda lame. “Opening Day is not that special. I’d rather be there for the World Series,” said CC Sabathia to Mark Didtler. Shows what I know. I thought Sabathia wouldn’t want to miss his final Opening Day. Anyway, here are today’s starting lineups:
New York Yankees
1. CF Brett Gardner
2. RF Aaron Judge
3. LF Giancarlo Stanton
4. DH Luke Voit
5. 3B Miguel Andujar
6. C Gary Sanchez
7. 1B Greg Bird
8. 2B Gleyber Torres
9. SS Troy Tulowitzki
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
1. CF Cedric Mullins
2. LF Dwight Smith Jr.
3. 2B Jonathan Villar
4. DH Trey Mancini
5. 3B Rio Ruiz
6. RF Joey Rickard
7. 1B Chris Davis
8. C Jesus Sucre
9. SS Richie Martin
RHP Andrew Cashner
The good news: The home opener will not be rained/snowed out for the third time in the last four years. It is a glorious day in the Bronx. The bad news: It is pretty dang cold. Windy too. I hope you dressed warm if you’re at the ballpark. The baseline introductions will begin at approximately 12:44pm ET and they’ll probably be shown on the YES Network. Mariano Rivera is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, so that’s cool. Today’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and ESPN nationally. Enjoy the first game of the new season, folks.
Injury Updates: Luis Severino (shoulder) and Dellin Betances (shoulder) are both tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session this weekend … CC Sabathia (knee) threw three innings in a minor league game Tuesday and everything went well … Aaron Hicks (back) is running and doing core exercises. Still no baseball activities though.
Roster Notes: The Yankees officially announced the Opening Day roster and it is as expected. No surprises. Betances, Hicks, Severino, Didi Gregorius (elbow), Ben Heller (elbow), Jordan Montgomery (elbow) and Jacoby Ellsbury (hip) are all on the injured list. Sabathia is serving his five-game suspension, so the Yankees have a 24-man roster right now.
Uniform Notes: Domingo German has a new number. He was No. 65 last year, then switched to No. 63 in Spring Training in deference to James Paxton, and now he’s No. 55. Congrats to all you Hideki Matsui fans for coming into a free a Domingo German jersey. And last but not least, the Yankees have a black armband on their uniform today to honor Mel Stottlemyre. Stottlemyre passed away in January.