The only way to describe what went on last night in NY baseball can only be justified if I may paraphrase the great Charles Dickens in “Great Expectations.” “It was one of those APRIL days when the sun shines NOT and the WIN blows cold.” The weather was still looking and feeling like the dead of winter so the possibility of going to either Yankee Stadium for a 4:30 game or to Citi Field for a 7:10 start was not something most fans were looking forward to doing. Or were they?
Opening day for the Yankees and their new manager and the excitement of seeing the new “murderers row in the Bronx was enticing. They would also get to see big lefty Jordan Montgomery do his impression of Andy Pettitte. On the “other side of town” was a chance to see Matt Harvey’s first start of the season at Citi Field for the Mets following his solid spring. So what happened? Yes the night was wet, cold and downright nasty but the baseball was pretty good for both teams.
In the Bronx, Montgomery didn’t disappoint as he went 5 innings giving up just 1 run on 2 hits. Then after Jonathan Holder could only get 1 out in the sixth inning, as he gave up 3 runs on 4 hits, the Yankee bullpen shut the Tampa Bay Rays down. The big star was “clean-up” hitter Didi Gregorious who hit 2 home runs, a double and a single and drove in 8 runs. He has 8 hits in his first 5 games, 7 of those for extra bases. There also was a great play by Brett Gardner as he caught a fly ball in center and threw out Tampa’s Rob Refsnyder at home for a double play to end the third inning. Everyone was having a great day at the Stadium, albeit a wet one.
All seemed right for the Bronx bombers and then it happened. The famous “Bronx Cheer” reared it’s ugly head as last year’s NL MVP and main addition to the new powerhouse line-up, Giancarlo Stanton, was serenaded with possibly the first boos of his career. When you strike out 5 times in your first home opener in Yankee Stadium, you get booed. Fortunately for Stanton the announced attendance of 46,776 was just for the accountants. Lets just say the sparse crowd of die hard fans did their best to let him know he was not in friendly Miami anymore. What is that called anyway? 3K’s is a sombrero and 4 K’s is a golden sombrero. What is 5 K’s, a platinum sombrero? Not to worry Yankee fans, there is so much talent on this club that when one player goes 0 for 5 or 6, another will pick up the slack. Also remember, they are still without Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier. Plus Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres and a “Noah’s Ark” full of more talent waiting in the wings.
Over in Queens the Mets’ fans were treated to a brilliant performance from their former “Ace” as Harvey went 5 innings in a scoreless game where he gave up 1 hit with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. He was leading off the bottom of the sixth inning and even though he only threw 86 pitches he had to come out for a pinch hitter. The Mets would score 2 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning when Todd Frazier doubled in a run and then scored on Travis d’Arnaud’s single to center. Unfortunately Harvey came away with no decision. Yet it was still a win-win for the Mets last night. They got a very good performance from Harvey and their bullpen was solid in a 2-0 win over a division rival on a cold wet night.
I like the way Mickey Callaway is managing this team. He is not over working his bullpen and his line-ups are put together with a lot of thought. Kind of reminds me of Terry Francona a bit. Hey, isn’t that who he was in the dugout with for a few years?