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Yankees Week in Review: Rocky Opening Week

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The New York Yankees had an up-and-down opening week of the 2021 season. They opened the year with two home series against the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, before ending the week with a series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Let’s see how it all went down.

Thursday 4/1: Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2

Despite eight punchouts from Gerrit Cole, the Yankees just couldn’t get anything going on offense on Opening Day. Gary Sanchez walloped a fastball from Hyun-Jin Ryu over the left field wall for a two-run homer. That was the only scoring for the Yankees on the day. Cole surrendered a home run to Teoscar Hernandez in the sixth inning which tied the game at two. A walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. the next at-bat knocked Cole out of the game. Randal Grichuk would then drive in the ghost runner in the tenth inning before Julian Merryweather struck out the side in the bottom half to shut the door on the Yanks.

Saturday 4/3: Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3

After a day off on Friday, the Yankees returned to action against the baby Jays. Corey Kluber took the hill for his first start in pinstripes. The right-hander only went four innings, but he was solid. He struck out five while surrendering two runs – one earned – on five hits and three walks. 45 of his 74 pitches were for strikes.

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The Yankees started the scoring in the second inning as DJ LeMahieu dribbled a grounder to third for an infield RBI single. After Toronto tied the game in the third because of a throwing error by Sanchez, the catcher made up for it with his second homer of the young season. He cracked a pitch from Ross Stripling just over the left field wall in the fourth. The Yankees added another run later that inning on an RBI base knock from Aaron Hicks.

A home run from Marcus Semien to lead off the fifth knocked Kluber out of the game. Jonathan Loaisiga came in and pitched a perfect two innings in relief while striking out three. Jay Bruce, the Yankees starting first baseman because of Luke Voit being out, added a fifth run with an RBI hit in the sixth. Lucas Luetge would combine for just and Darren O’Day would combine for 1 2/3 innings of one-run, three-hit ball before Chad Green closed it out for the final 1 1/3 to pick up the save.

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Sunday 4/4: Blue Jays 3, Yankees 1

Guerrero Jr. smashed his first homer of the season off Domingo German, while Grichuk also added a two-run homer. German only lasted three innings before being relieved by Michael King, who pitched a dominant six innings, allowing just one hit, one walk, and three strikeouts. The Yankees only scoring came on an RBI groundout from Brett Gardner in the fifth.

Monday 4/5: Yankees 7, Orioles 0

Jordan Montgomery was dominant in his first start of the season, going six shutout innings while allowing four hits and no walks, and striking out seven. The Yankees’ offense came back to life against the inept Orioles pitching staff. All Rise for the Judge, as Aaron Judge rocked his first homer of the season in the fourth. Then, in the fifth inning, Giancarlo Stanton absolutely demolished a pitch with the bases juiced for his eighth career grand slam. The slam was sent into oblivion for 471 feet as he tossed his bat in the air in celebration. Luis Cessa pitched two scoreless while striking out three before Aroldis Chapman made his season debut with a scoreless ninth to close it out, striking out the side.

Tuesday 4/6: Yankees 7, Orioles 2

The bats stayed awake to back up a masterpiece from Cole. The Yankees’ ace went seven scoreless while allowing just four hits and striking out 13 to no walks. Bruce jacked his first bomb as a Yankee in the second inning to start the scoring. Judge and Stanton added RBI base knocks in the fourth and seventh, respectively. Judge then mashed his second tater of the season in the eighth to make it 7-0. Green pitched a scoreless eighth and Luetge allowed two runs in the ninth before shutting the door.

Wednesday 4/7: Orioles 4, Yankees 3

Jameson Taillon made his return to the mound after 707 days and pitched well. He went 4 2/3 while striking out seven and allowing two runs on three hits, including two homers. The home runs were really his only two mistakes of the game. The Yankees’ bullpen was dominant, but so was the Orioles’. Down 2-1 in the eighth, Gio Urshela tied the game on an RBI double. The game went into extras and the teams traded runs in the tenth before an RBI base hit by Chance Sisco was held up in the 11th. Paul Fry closed it out as LeMahieu lined into a double play.

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Friday 4/9: Rays 10, Yankees 5

After a day off on Thursday, the Yankees traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida for the Rays’ home opener. Kluber struggled in his second start, giving up five runs – three earned – in just 2 1/3 innings. Nick Nelson followed him and surrendered four runs on four hits and a walk. Luetge gave up just one run and struck out four in three innings. Hicks and LeMahieu both homered for their first dingers of the season.

Saturday 4/10: Rays 4, Yankees 0

The Yankees’ offense fell asleep as they only mustered five hits against six Tampa Bay pitchers. German struggled as he allowed four runs on eight hits and one walk. Following the game, he was sent down to the Yankees’ alternate site. Justin Wilson made his Yankees’ debut and pitched a scoreless fifth while striking out two. Loaisiga pitched two scoreless with three strikeouts and Cessa pitched a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.

Sunday 4/11: Yankees 8, Rays 4

Montgomery struggled through five innings, as he allowed four runs on five hits (two homers) and two walks over five innings. But the bullpen was nearly perfect as they combined to allow just one hit and no walks over 5 scoreless innings. Green went 2 1/3 perfect innings with three punchouts and O’Day struck out one in 2/3 of an inning. Chapman allowed one hit and struck out the side in the ninth. With the Yankees down 4-3, Gleyber Torres lined one to left to score Judge and tie the game. Then after Chapman got it to extras in the ninth, Rougned Odor came through in his Yankees debut as he lined a go-ahead RBI single to center field. Sanchez added another run on a grounder up the middle, and Urshela plated two with a single to right. Albert Abreu, who was added to the 26-man before the game, pitched a perfect bottom half while striking out two, as the Yankees salvaged the series finale.

What’s Next?

The Yankees sit at 4-5 after their first nine games. This week, they travel to Dunedin, Florida to take on the Blue Jays before returning home to face the Rays again. Both series are three games.


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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