Game 1: Tigers 3, Yankees 6

In the bottom of the third, Russell Martin connected with the Yankees first hit of the season.  Gardner then put down a bunt, moving Martin to second while the throw to first just beat the Bombers’ speedy outfielder.  Derek Jeter worked a walk and Martin stole third, putting runners on first and third for Mark Teixeira.  Teixeira then drove a deep fly ball into the right field stands giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead.

The Tigers battled back in the top of the fourth.  Cabrera walked and Rayburn hit a one out single, putting runners on first and second.  A two out single to left by Brandon Inge put the score at 3-2, but CC came back and struck out Alex Avila to end the inning.  Sabathia struggled again in the fifth, giving up a single to Jackson.  Will Rhymes hit a sac bunt, but Cano mishandled the throw from Teixeira and the Tigers had two on with no outs.  A sac fly by Cabrera tied the game at 3-3.

Former Yankee reliever Phil Coke took the mound for the Tigers in the bottom of the seventh, after seeing Joba Chamberlain sit down Detroit in order.  Curtis Granderson then drove a solo shot over the wall in right, giving the Yankees a 4-3 lead.  Martin found himself on first thanks to an error by the Tigers and he moved over to second on another bunt by Gardner.  A wild pitch by Detroit hurler Ryan Perry allowed Martin to get to third and Jeter drove a sac fly to center, putting the Yankees up 5-3.  The Yankees picked up another run in the eighth, thanks to a walk to Rodriguez and a single by Swisher (whose baserunning afterwards was suspect).  With Mariano Rivera on the mound in the top of the ninth, the Tigers went down in order and the Yankees picked up the 6-3 win.

Some Interesting Tidbits For Opening Day:

  • Curtis Granderson has three straight Opening Days with a homer.
  • Alex Rodriguez has hit in eight straight Opening Day appearances.  This does not include 2009 when he began the season on the DL.
  • In MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL history there have never been three teammates to play seventeen straight seasons together – until now, as Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada set that record (and the more I think about this the older I feel).
  • The Yankees set a major league record, winning 11 straight games at home on Opening Day.

Bronx Cheers:
Brett Gardner: I thought Gardy looked a little lost in the outfield today, which may or may not have been his fault.  He went 0-2 with two strikeouts.  Gardner bunted twice, and while I will leave the decisions to bunt up for debate – it was nice to see him actually get some bunts down, a part of his game that has been sorely lacking for someone with his speed.

Jorge Posada: Jorge entered his new era as DH with a tough outing.  He went 0-4 with a strikeout, while leaving two runner on base.

Robinson Cano: Robbie went 0-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and three left on base.  He also picked up an error when he couldn’t hold onto a throw from Teixeira at first.

Curtain Calls:
Curtis Granderson: Grandy was questionable for today’s game until yesterday afternoon, and did he give Yankees fans a lot to be happy about on Thursday!  A diving catch in the first inning was just the start for Granderson who made some great defensive plays (seriously, he was all over center field today) but also contributed on offense. Granderson went 1-3 with a solo homer that gave the Yankees the final lead of the game.

Russell Martin: The Yankees new backstop made quite an impression in his first game in Pinstripes.  He caught a good game, got on base and showed some speed. He went 1-3, scored two runs and stole a base.

Mark Teixeira: Teixeira gave New York its first lead, driving a big three-run homer into right.  He was 1-3 with a run scored, three RBIs and a walk.

Bullpen: The Yankees may have the best bullpen in the majors and they showed it today.  Joba, Raphael Soriano and Mo combined to give the Yankees three perfect innings, as each picked up a strikeout in the process.

In The On Deck Circle:
The Yankees and Tigers will take Friday off, before returning to Yankee Stadium for a game Saturday.  Brad Penny will take the ball for Detroit.  Penny actually had a strong start to his 2010 season, going 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA in April, before an oblique injury ended his season in May.  A.J. Burnett, who has been battling a cold, is still slated to start on Saturday.  Burnett’s disappointing 2010 has been well documented, but he put together a strong spring training.  In fact, Burnett didn’t walk a single batter in his thirteen innings in Florida.  First pitch is at 4:10pm on Saturday in the Bronx.

Tamar has written for IIATMS since July 2009, having started off writing game recaps before shifting to the minor leagues. Born in Connecticut and having lived all over the country and in South Korea, Tamar now finds herself "temporarily misplaced" in New Hampshire. Please send help.

28 thoughts on “Game 1: Tigers 3, Yankees 6

  1. LarryAtIIATMS

    First sign of spring … Tamar is back! A cherry on top of an ice cream sundae of a day.

    • I was absolutely giddy about getting to write recaps again! It feels like it has been forever, and even better that it was a fun game to watch/write about!

  2. scottiebro

    guys – off topic…….can the yankees please do something about those large seats that are ALWAYS empty behind the plate (Teixeira pic above). It is a disgrace that the "true" fans cant afford these seats, and the yuppies wont sit in the cold to watch the yanks. its been a glaring problem since day 1 of the new shiny park, and it looks terrible to the rest of the nation….ok im done ranting

    • BrienJackson

      To be fair, I'm fairly certain that a large number of "real fans" would avail themselves of the restaurant/club there if they had those seats.

      • scottiebro

        this just makes me not like the new stadium even more…. the idea of the stadium being almost like an amusement park enforces the fact that ppl become distracted with everything other then the game itself. i understand they are getting the "whole experience" and are doing other things, but those seats are usually empty, and its a "problem". Yea it was raining and cold, but its opening day! Watch the players live, not on some 32inch TV above you in a booth in the same building. eh- im just sayin

        • LarryAtIIATMS

          The restaurants provide revenue.

          I hate the empty seats, too. Why not fill them with unpaid Yankee interns while the seat owners are spending money in the restaurants? Y'know, like what they do with empty seats during the academy awards?

          Did I mention that the restaurants provide revenue?

        • BrienJackson

          I've never been there, but I would given the layout I would imagine there's probably a large glass window to watch the game through not that much further away than your seats.

          • jay_robertson

            not to mention that today, I imagine those seats were as cold as ice. I mighta snuck into a warm restaurant/lounge too.

          • BrienJackson

            I think it's kind of silly to complain about it on a rainy day. I remember going to Riverfront Stadium when I was little, and rain ALWAYS meant an exodus from the seats to the concourses. The people who could would take the seats under the overhang from the above section, and everyone else would stand around the concourse. I mean really, no one like to get rained on, especially when it's freezing on top of it.

          • I spent quite a bit of an Indians-white sox game in the bathrooms at the Jake a few years ago. It was absurdly cold and the bathrooms are heated and at least had speakers. We'd warm up in the bathroom and go back out to our seats…typically I hate to miss watching any of the game, but the tickets were free – I believe we got them because we'd sat through a similarly frigid game a couple weeks before that…ah Cleveland…

    • I had the same thought about the empty seats at one point during the game, but chalked today's problem to the cold. Still, it is sad when the weather gets nicer and the team is doing well but they still can't fill those ridiculously priced seats.

      • BrienJackson

        Meh, I guess it's embarrassing because it's not what you're used to seeing on TV, but sellouts are overrated. It's basic supply-demand theory that if you've got a limited supply and you're routinely selling out quickly (especially for temporary goods like tickets or hotel rooms), that you're underpricing your product.

  3. David

    scottiebro — in some peoples' defenses, there were a TON of people who had seats not under the overhang who moved out of their seats but stood in the rotunda area; my buddy and I were Section 125 field level and could see ROWS of people standing back there.

    Also, one question for Larry on this game which made me think — in regards to advanced metrics/statistics and the "old guard" resistance — what I'm curious about is a game like today. At the game, to my eyes, I would say that Curtis Granderson was worth the game here. Presumably though this wouldn't could as a, say, full 1.0 WAR for the season but how DOES it work in regards to a situation that someone with lesser defense or lesser offense wouldn't have had the same impact on this singular game?

    • scottiebro

      yea i get you……but this has been bothering me from day 1. maybe its because the seats are so large that when they're empty its just so glaring. with today being opening day, i had high hopes of the fan base filling out the stadium/ rain or shine.

    • LarryAtIIATMS

      David, I'M your go-to guy for questions about advanced statistics? Heaven help you!

      Agreed, Granderson had a great game today, but there's no way Grandy earned anything close to 1.0 WAR. Even if it were possible for one guy to play all nine positions, that guy couldn't earn 1.0 WAR in a single day. Remember that WAR stands for wins above REPLACEMENT, and a team of 25 replacement players would all (in theory) have 0.0 WAR but they'd still win around 50 games in a season. So a team that managed to win 162 games in a season would only have a cumulative 112 WAR. The Yankees last year had about 33 cumulative WAR hitting and 14 cumulative WAR pitching — add that to the 50 wins you get from replacement players, and you're pretty close to the number of wins the Yanks actually won in 2010.

      All this being said, WAR bears a very indirect relationship to who we think was "worth the game" in any given game. WAR is computed based on runs above replacement. The statheads figure that 10 runs above replacement are worth one win above replacement.

      WAR is computed a little bit differently at the two principal stats sites (Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference). Let's just focus on Fangraphs. Runs above replacement for hitters are computed based on an offensive statistic (wRAA, weighted runs above average, which in turn is based on wOBA) and a defensive statistic (UZR, ultimate zone rating). These two stats are added together. There is then a positional adjustment — some positions are harder to play than others, and players who play those positions get an added boost. The number is then adjusted so that it is relative to a "replacement player" instead of an average player. Simple, huh?

      Maybe not so simple.

      Let's just focus on the wOBA component of WAR. A player will hit at a high wOBA if he draws walks and gets hits, extra base hits so much the better. So, Grandy has accumulated some WAR credit for his home run, but Teixeira got a bit more WAR credit today for his home run plus his walk. Grandy will probably get some additional credit, as his good fielding plays should contribute to his UZR. By the way, Grandy's 2011 WAR is not at all affected by the Yankees having WON today.

      So, you can get an idea of why WAR is a statistic that the saber-haters like to beat up on. WAR is not terribly helpful in figuring out what happened in a particular game. It's better at computing a player's value over the long term.

      Enough! If there's demand, I'll start a "Rational Guide" series to advanced statistics. In the meantime, I encourage you to go to http://www.fangraphs.com/library. They have a great series of articles over there, written in relatively friendly language.

    • BrienJackson

      WAR is determined as a derivative of the number of total runs a player was worth through the season. I believe 10 runs=1 win.

      • To confirm this: Yes, RAR / 10 should equal WAR. The RAR are determined in the manner which Larry described above.

  4. Professor Twain

    People give the Rays sh** about attendance, in New York people pay for the seats but won't come to the games if it is chilly out. What kind of pus** fans do you have?

    • David

      It was colllllllllllllllld there. I was in my seat the whole time (excluding bathoom breaks / food runs), though under an overhang, and I was dressed in down coat and gloves with scarf over sweater over shirt and I was still cold.

      The only time I can recall being colder at a game was late-October/early-November playoff games. Which, y'know, should say something there… >.>

    • LarryAtIIATMS

      If the folks in Tampa-St. Pete paid for seats and didn't come out, people wouldn't be giving you, um, grief.

  5. David

    Also, another observation: whomever suggested Jeter change his plate music to The Imperial March following the very contentious offseason negotiation is a GENIUS.

  6. Matthew G.

    In all seriousness, something needs to be done about the empty seat problem behind the plate. We all know perfectly well that it has nothing to do with fan passion, but appearances matter. I am really tired of having to explain to fans of other teams why those seats are empty. Please, Hal and Hank, for the love of decency, find some way to fill those seats, even if you have to hand them out to cronies. Do you have any idea how infuriating it is to have to fight tooth and nail for tickets and then hear nonsense from the other 29 fan bases about lack of passion?

    Fix this!

    • BrienJackson

      Meh, if anyone says anything about it to me I just direct them to season attendance numbers. Because really, it's not like you routinely see those seats any more full for most other teams.

  7. Sabrina

    Tamar welcome back. I am just glad that the yanks won. The bullpen looked great. Shows that we got a great chance. Larry, my opening day is june 28th…my first yankee game for the season…and the best part ..its on the 28th….since we are on our quest for number 28! So i don't think i'll have to hide in any restaurant.

    • Thanks! It is nice to see the bullpen looking as good as advertised, even if it is just the first game! It will definitely be good for my fingernails if they keep it up…

  8. Ben

    As someone whose been given club seats a few times (not to Yankees games but other sporting events) I have to say it’s really hard to leave the area where they’re giving you free food and liquor, excellent views of the game and dozens of tv’s. Add to the fact that it was freezing yesterday, i don’t blame anyone for not sitting there.

  9. John Sterling

    Tex sends a TEXT MESSAGE!!! … The Grandy Man Can

  10. David

    Oh yes, last observation — unlike Jeter's change of music, the change of the Great Subway Race is ABOMINABLE and whomever is responsible should be fired, post-haste. Also, was it always sponsored by Subway in the most-crass way possible? I don't recall that aspect, but I do recall it should be 4/B/D not Pinstripes/Grey/whatever.

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