April Record: 12-10
Hitting Stars (OPS): Nick Swisher (1.121), Robinson Cano (.981), Melky Cabrera (.971)
Pitching Stars (ERA)(>6 IP): Mo Rivera (2.79), A. Pettitte (2.96), J. Chamberlain (3.13), Brian Bruney (3.38)
The season began with a fizzle, as the Yankees dropped two of three to the Baltimore Orioles. On Opening Day CC Sabathia was a disappointment, allowing 13 baserunners and 6 runs in 4.1 innings. Once the Yankees cut the lead to one run, the bullpen promptly handed 4 runs to the O’s, with Cesar Izturis providing a two run homer off Phil Coke for the big hit. The next game was no better, with Chien-Ming Wang providing a precursor to his awful season, allowing 7 runs in 3.2 innings. The Yankees notched their first win the following day, with AJ Burnett turning in a solid 2 run outing, and Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira launching their first home runs in pinstripes. (Click on the links for highlights).
The Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Royals in the next series, winning the first two games behind stellar games from Andy Pettitte and Sabathia, as well as the hot hitting of Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher. However, the single loss brought the first managerial controversy of the season. The Yankees led 4-3 in the 8th inning, and Damaso Marte got the first two outs. Joe Girardi pulled Marte for Jose Veras, who walked Billy Butler, the only guy he faced. Girardi then went to Phil Coke, who blew the game amid cries of “overmanaging” from the Yankee faithful. Looking back, I think we can all agree that pulling Veras is never, ever overmanaging.
The Yankees won the next series as well, but this one was memorable due to a loss as well. The Yankees were dropped 15-5 in the first game as CM Wang fell again. Not wanting to burn his bullpen to start a series, Joe Girardi turned to Nick Swisher to pitch an inning, and Nick came through with a perfect 8th, striking out Gabe Kapler in the process. The Yankees took the next two games by scoring in the late innings, taking the first behind AJ Burnett, Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner. However, this game proved costly, as Xavier Nady left with an elbow injury and was lost for the season. In the final game of the series, the Yankees trailed 3-2 going into the 8th, but scored once in the 8th to tie the game and then got a Cody Ransom double (!) and Derek Jeter RBI single to give them the 4-3 victory.
The Yankees finally reached home on April 16th, and dropped the first game at the New Yankee Stadium to Cliff Lee and the Indians. CC Sabathia pitched well but did not escape the 6th inning, allowing Damaso Marte and Jose Veras to give up 9 runs in the 7th inning to turn a 1-1 tie into a 10-2 drubbing. The lone bright spot was Jorge Posada’s 5th inning homer, the first in the history of the new Stadium. The game featured 3 home runs, setting the stage for a series loaded with longballs. The Yankees trailed the following game 5-3 headed into the 6th inning due to Joba Chamberlain’s rough outing, but scored single runs in the 6th and 7th and took the lead in the 8th on Derek Jeter’s solo homer, the Yankees 5th solo homer of the day. The Yankees had their worst loss of the year the following day, losing 22-4 behind a 1.1 IP 8 ER outing from CM Wang and a 1.2 IP 8 ER relief appearance from Anthony Claggett. Another 8 homers left the park that day. In the series finale, Carl Pavano shut the Yankees down over 6 innings, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk. However, the Yankees scored 3 runs in the 7th to take a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish, with Jorge Posada launching a 2 run homer that was reviewed and upheld in the first video review of the new season and new Stadium.
The Yankees then swept a rain shortened two game series with Oakland. In the first game, Andy Pettitte turned in another strong outing, and Brett Gardner added a two run single and a spectacular catch. The following game saw the first of the Yankees 15 regular season walk-offs. CC Sabathia had another worrying outing that pushed his ERA up to 4.81, and the Yankees entered extra innings tied at 7. 3.1 stellar relief innings from Jose Veras allowed the game to reach the 14th, where Melky Cabrera sent everyone home with a two run shot off former Yankee Dan Giese.
The Yankees were 9-6 and primed for a battle with the Boston Red Sox. What followed was an awful sweep, with each game providing at least one excruciating moment. In the first, Joba Chamberlain pitched well into the 6th, and the Yankees carried a 4-2 lead into the 9th. However, Jayson Bay nailed a two run shot with two outs off of Mariano, and Kevin Youkilis walked off in the 11th. In the next game, the Yankees scored 6 runs off Josh Beckett in the first 3 innings, but AJ Burnett flopped and allowed 8 runs over the next two innings, with a Varitek grand slam changing the game. The Yankees came back to take a 10-9 lead in the 7th, but Jon Albaladejo allowed a 3 run homer to Mike Lowell in the bottom of the inning and the Yankees lost 16-11. The Yankees lost the Sunday night contest 4-1, with Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden, and Hunter Jones combining to shut down the embarrassed Yankees. The memeorable play in this one was a steal of home by Jacoby Ellsbury, as he caught Posada and Pettitte napping. Mark Melancon did make his debut for the Yankees, and worked 2 shut out innings.
The losing streak stretched to 4 in the first game against the Tigers, as CC Sabathia pitched a complete game while allowing 4 runs, while Justin Verlander pitched 7 shutout frames. The Yankees scored 2 in the 9th off Rodney, but a Jorge Posada double play killed the rally. The Yankees won 11-0 the next day, with Phil Hughes handing in a dazzling first start of the year. He went 6 innings and allowed no runs on 2 hits and 2 walks. The Yankees scored 10 runs in the 7th, with the big blow coming on Jose Molina’s Grand Slam. The Yankees took the series when Joba followed Hughes great outing with one of his own, pitching 7 innings of one run ball. The final score was 8-6 due to Jon Albaladejo imploding in the 9th inning. The Yankees scored 6 runs off Rick Porcello, with Nick Swisher being the hitting star of the game with 2 home runs. This game was also delayed for a bit due to the emergency alarm system at Comerica going off.
The final game of the month was a victory against the Angels. The Yankees entered the 8th inning tied at 4, but got an RBI single from Melky Cabrera and a two run double for Ramiro Pena to win 7-4. The RBI’s were the first two of Pena’s career.
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TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees