The Yankees Opening Weekend saw the team earn a 2-1 series win against the Red Sox, including the Opening Day victory. Baseball is a game of little victories, and the Yankees learned last year of the hole that could be dug from not picking up the easy wins.
With that being said, yes, April games may matter, or they may not matter, but we will not know until it is too late. While we are in April, the Yankees have to treat April with importance so they do not have to panic come July and August. The most important games of all, are those against AL East division rivals.
The Good from the Yankees Opening Weekend
Most important of all take aways this series was the fact that the Yankees won 2 out of 3 games against a division rival. There seems to be an optimism this year that was lacking from previous years, in that it never feels like the comeback is out of reach. Every inning has come with the feeling that the Yankees can regain control of the game at any minute. I feel like have not had this level of confidence and comfort in quite some time.
Second, our bullpen is really getting the job done, as expected. Hopefully soon our starters will be able to stay in the game longer to take the load off of the bullpen, but as of this moment, the Yankee bullpen has shortened the opponent’s window of scoring opportunities.
The Bad from the Yankees Opening Weekend
Yankees’ starters have let up runs in the top of the first inning in each game of the series. While starters typically settle down after that, the shaky first inning runs up their pitch count, effectively diminishing their time in the game and adds more pressure on the bullpen. The other problem with this, is that the Yankees have always gone into their fist at bat in need of the offense to make up the deficit before they can even gain the lead. While the Yankees have responded every time so far, this model of success will not be able to sustain long term. Starters must have quicker first innings.
Next, the offensive production has come almost exclusively from the first half of the lineup, most notably Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton. Watching the Yankees these first three games feels a lot like watching a little league game: you just sant to fast forward through everybody to get to the top of the lineup where you bank on the few big kids to put the team on their backs. While clutch seems to be strong so far, this is no way a recipe for long term success. The back half of the lineup MUST produce in order for this team to be successful.
I have said since Spring Training, the Yankees success and failure this year will mostly ride on the shoulders of Joey Gallo and Gleyber Torres. Fans know what kind of production we are getting out of almost everyone else in the lineup. Gallo and Torres have a tremendous upside that will put the Yankees over the top, however neither of them have shown it recently. If they can be their best, our offense is golden. If they fail, they will sink the whole team down with them because Judge, Stanton, and Rizzo will not be enough to win the World Series.
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