Every baseball season has its storms and silver linings, and for those fans unfamilar with a rebuild, a gentle word of advice: prepare to spend a bit more time in this one navigating the former and searching for the latter. These guys haven't all spent much time playing together as a unit and it's going to take them some time to gel, and for the younger guys there's going to be a steep learning curve as they adjust to major league speed over the long haul and daily grind of their first full seasons in the Bigs.
So it'll be a little stormier this year. But we have a pretty good inkling what's beyond the clouds this time is worth the blow, so just ride it out with the guys on the field and it's sure to entertain and amaze. (Case in point: Who would've guessed the season's first dinger by a Yankee would be hit by Toes, the shortest lightweight to pull off that feat since a guy named Scooter?)
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That said, we all saw the biggest storm coming this year was the rotation, so no galloping shock there when it hit hard this series.
Bryan Hoch at MLB.com summed up that storm's wreckage path nicely: "Michael Pineda lasted only 3 2/3 innings in Thursday's 4-1 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field. Combined with an ineffective Opening Day start from Masahiro Tanaka and a five-and-fly from CC Sabathia, Girardi has been wearing a path from the dugout to the mound. New York starters have allowed 11 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings (8.74 ERA). 'That's got to change. You knew early on that you weren't going to get a ton of them, but you can't live like that the whole year,' Girardi said. 'You hope that they can get extended more as time goes on, but we do need some more innings.'"
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Hoch went on to laud the bullpen's stellar handiwork stopping the rotation's bleeding -- a perfect 0.00 ERA over 13 2/3 innings of work through the series.
Of course, it's hard to get too excited about the pen when we all realize if those guys are already throwing more innings than the rotation after just three games, that forecasts another storm down the road which could decimate the pen with burnt relievers and Jobacized starters from the farm.
Hoch's report also alluded to the cold front gripping Sanchez's and Bird's batting averages to start the season -- 1-for-14 (.071) and 1-for-12 (.083) respectively.
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But those BA's are just a function of tiny sample sizes, and a single good game will make those three digits spin, sparkle and spit up gold bars like a Vegas slot machine. That hardly qualifies as a storm warning so early on.
What's needed here then is something from the silver lining department to finish this snapshot summary on an upbeat note.
I'll just poke around in that same tiny sample size bag for something appropriate. Let's see...
Well look what I found. The Yankees are sixth in the league in overall team batting average and second in overall hits, led by shifty Chase Headley who's in the league's top 5 in batting average and on-base percentage!
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Whaddayaknow. There really IS a silver lining.
Screw the rotation storm. Bring on the O's. The Rays' payback will just have to wait.