The Yankees have also had a good run with their home opener. The team is 14-2 in such games going back to 1996. The only home opener losses have been in 2009 (and that season turned out okay) and 1997. The home team also has the emotional impact of the first pitch ceremonies as Jorge Posada has the honor and will throw that ball to Mariano Rivera to kick things off.
The Yankees have a tough opening day draw though in the Angels. While the team with the overly long name from California has stumbled out of the gate a bit so far this season, they are fresh from an off-season that brought them Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. The Yankees will face Wilson tomorrow. Pujols, along with the return of Kendrys Morales, should improve the Angels’ offense from a season ago and the Angels have that potent and deep starting rotation. Wilson makes that rotation even better this season.
Facing the Angels today will be Hiroki Kuroda. The Yankees could not have been encouraged by Kuroda’s first start of the season when he gave up six hits and four walks in five and two-thirds innings against the Rays on the second game of the season. A 31 game score was not what the Yankees were hoping for when they signed the former Dodger pitcher. Kuroda needs a good start, especially in his first appearance by the home crowd. Kuroda has faced the Angels thrice in his career and is 1-2 with a 2,45 ERA and an impressive 0.927 WHIP (SSS!).
Pitching for the Angels will be Ervin Santana. Santana also had a rough outing his first time out this year and was roughed up by the Kansas City Royals back on April 8. Santana is a proven starter who had a solid season for the Angels a year ago. He is sort of ground ball/fly ball neutral and too many of his fly balls go over the fence as can be seen by his 1.1 homers per nine inning career rate. Santana gave up two big flies in his first start. Santana has a 5-5 record against the Yankees in twelve career starts with a 5.55 ERA. The Yankees have hit 18 homers off of him in those twelve starts. Santana has only pitched once in the new Yankee Stadium and it did not go well.
If it means anything (SSS!) Mike DiMuro will be the umpire behind the plate. Santana has pitched with him back there twice and has an ERA over 11.00. Kuroda has never pitched with DiMuro behind the plate.
Erick Aybar SS (.566 OPS)
Bobby Abreu RF (1.229 OPS in seven PAs)
Albert Pujols 1B (.612 OPS – slow start for him so far)
Kendrys Morales DH (.619 OPS)
Mark Trumbo 3B (1.227 OPS in eleven PAs)
Vernon Wells LF (.609 OPS)
Maicer Izturis 2B (.900 OPS in five PAs)
Chris Iannetta C (.971 OPS)
Peter Bourjos CF (.824 OPS)
Torii Hunter is not in the lineup today.
Derek Jeter SS (.969 OPS)
Curtis Granderson CF (.750 OPS)
Alex Rodriguez 3B (.606 OPS)
Robinson Cano 2B (.657 OPS)
Mark Teixeira 1B (.590 OPS)
Nick Swisher RF (.908 OPS)
Raul Ibanez DH (.744 OPS)
Russell Martin C (.655 OPS)
Brett Gardner LF (.742 OPS)
As Brien mentioned earlier, Joe Girardi has switched A-Rod and Cano in the lineup and said that this will be the new order against right-handed pitchers.
The game starts at 1:05 and will be televised on YES.