It’s fair to say Opening Day didn’t go exactly as planned for the Yankees.
After looking nearly untouchable during the entire month of March, Masahiro Tanaka couldn’t make it out of the third inning having given up seven earned runs against the Rays. Tanaka’s Opening Day start can actually be considered as the worst in team history.
Tanaka became the first Yankees Opening Day starter to allow seven or more runs and give up two or more home runs in the last 100 seasons. As Joe Girardi would say, “It’s not what you want.”
On top of that, the 2, 3, 4 and 5 hitters, in this case Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Matt Holliday and Jacoby Ellsbury went a combined 0-17 and left eight runners on-base.
It doesn’t take an expert to realize you’re not going to win many games with your starting pitcher failing to pitch past the third inning and the heart of your order contributing absolutely nothing.
To put things in perspective, Opening Day hasn’t been very kind to the Yankees of late. Sunday’s loss to the Rays was the Bombers’ sixth straight loss in the opener and Tanaka has never looked good in any of his three opening day starts since coming to the states from Japan. It’s pretty safe to assume Tanaka won’t look that bad again.
Even though Sanchez, Bird, Holliday and Ellsbury all had brutal days, it’s not like the offense was completely shut down. The Yankees had several golden scoring opportunities but just didn’t come up with the breakthrough hit. Those will come with time.
If I were a Yankees fan, the biggest thing I’d be worried about was how impatient Sanchez was at the plate. He was off-balance and reaching out of the strike zone. If you remember, Sanchez was hitting well over .300 late in the season, but finished on a major cold streak and had to watch his end-of-season average dip to .299.
All of this said, the Yankees still have 161 games to go, and there’s never any need to overreact after Game 1.