Tuesday, April 7, 2009

False start nothing to worry about

If I had 10 cents for every half-arsed column I read this morning under the premise "Yanks have no early returns on investments," I would be a rich man ... in 1904.

Okay, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were not very good in Monday's 10-5 season-opening loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards. To take it a step further, they were very not good. To go one beyond that, CC and Tex kind of, well, sucked in their Yankee debuts.

Sabathia was a mess, allowing six runs, eight hits and five walks over only 4 1/3 innings. The lefty struck out 251 batters in 2008, but couldn't manage a single punchout against the O's. Yikes. Teixeira, meanwhile, was the target of some serious cathartic booing by the Camden faithful, jeers that lasted through entire at-bats, not just introductions. The local boy went 0-for-4 with a walk, including meek forceout that ended the Yanks' final rally in the eighth.

It was clear from the outset that Sabathia wasn't comfortable. The mid-90s fastball that sets up his game was not his friend, and without it, the O's weren't biting on his breaking pitches. While it seems like an issue of simply overthrowing as opposed to any physical issue, you have to think the pressure will snowball into his next start at the Royals. It'll certainly be interesting to see how he rebounds.

We don't know if the boobirds were affecting Tex, but I was definitely surprised by how much animosity the fans had for the switch-hitter. It very well may have been just a situation where the jovial and amped up opening day crowd had an easy target on their hands. After all, could Orioles fans actually be upset by Teixeira's decision?

Scott Boras: Okay, Tex, here's your choice. You can take $180 million to play for a perennial contender in a new, perpetually sold out, state-of-the-art stadium orrrrr you can take $80 million less and play for your hometown team that hasn't had a winning record since 1997.

Tex: Um, are you serious, Scott?

Scott Boras: No, not really. (lights up cigar with $100 bill and cracks up)

Tex (in curious T-800 mode): Why do humans smile?

So, no, mark me as a sane and reasonable fan who won't get too worked up about opening day. It was still disappointing though. My biggest concern was actually Brian Bruney, who carried his dreadful spring training into Baltimore (1/3 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2BB). The Yanks' bullpen is a bit suspect and they're going to need the right-hander to perform. Monday was a bit distressing in that aspect.

Then again, he can throw a shutout inning tomorrow and all will be well. 'Tis the beauty of baseball.

Notes: Nick Swisher had a pinch-hit double in the eighth inning in his first Yankee plate appearance. I have a sneaking suspicion he'll be taking at-bats from Xavier Nady before long. ... Brett Gardner singled, scored a run and laid down two bunts on Monday. I think Girardi's going to have some fun with his No. 9 hitter. ... Vice President Joe Biden dropped by the ESPN booth and was oddly candid, he said "hell" a few times and generally acted like he was three scotches in. He may have tried to kiss Jon Miller, too. ... From the Joe Morgan Is A Towering Idiot file: The ESPN color man said that Melky Cabrera was too great a talent to be wasted on the bench. Funny. Morgan also opined that Marlins superstar Hanley Ramirez was the most underrated player in the game. To which I ask, by whom?

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