Thursday, March 31, 2011
Scrappy Underdog Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers Preview
Although the weather in New York doesn't feel like it, spring is officially here and that means that baseball is upon us. I'm not going to wax poetic like Lupica, and get all sappy about how opening day is so beautiful because it's a new beginning for every team, fathers and sons are brought together, and maybe for one day, just one day, we all have a little (sniffle) hope. Seriously, it's just a day when most of us will be keeping an eye on one more window at the bottom of our work screens and maybe taking an extra half hour at lunch.
Weepy middle-aged men aside, opening day is fun. A baseball game on every night for 6 to 7 months is always welcome. Today, the marquee teams get the preview treatment from MLB starting with the suddenly AL East underdog Yankees this afternooon. The Red Sox lineup is stacked this season (although their pitching may be a shade below the Yanks) and everyone seems to be picking them to win the East, which is a weird position for the Bombers to be in, for sure. They'll look to start proving the haters wrong today at the Stadium with slimmed down C.C. Sabathia facing off against Justin Verlander and the Tigers (barring a rain-out).
The Tigers lead off with one-time Yankee prospect Austin Jackson and have a decent line-up that includes Red Sox cast off Victor Martinez at DH and one-time PTU Keeping it Real candidate and all-around drunken mess Miguel Cabrera. They're by no means a power house though and would appear to be a perfect team for the Yanks to open up against.
Meanwhile, the Yankees finally made the decision to have Gardner in the lead off spot over Jeter. This would seem to be the right choice for the long run. Brett was a step slow during spring training (for him) and on at least one occasion, failed to score on hit balls that he would have easily scored on in seasons past. If fully healthy though, Gardner is the perfect dangerous lead off batter.
We'll also be keeping an eye on Posada in his first season as DH. It will probably hurt him a little to see Russell Martin trotting out and handing the ball to C.C. after all the opening days that he was a part of, but hopefully he'll be able to embrace his new role. With Pettite gone, this year and next season may be the final seasons that the old guard (now down to three) will still be major contributors. I can't imagine Jeter, Jorge, and Mo having too much left in the tank in 2013, so this could be the beginning of the end (for real this time).
Anyway, baseball's back. So get used to looking up at the tv for the next 7 months and seeing a game on. Play Ball!