Thursday, April 6, 2017


(Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
The first series of the season is in the books and we lost the rubber game to the Rays. Cheer up. Have fun with it. We're only 1.5 games back, nobody got hurt, and our guys get their chance for payback at home in a couple days at our home opener.

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.

Photo: Getty Images
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?)

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.

April 4, 2017 - Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)
Bryan Hoch at 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.'"

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.

(April 4, 2017 - Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)
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.

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...

Photo: Getty Images
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!

Whaddayaknow. There really IS a silver lining.

Screw the rotation storm. Bring on the O's. The Rays' payback will just have to wait.

The fun is just beginning.

Final of last night's game: Rays 4 - Yankees 1

 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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