Yankees mere kittens against Tigers
Might have things gone differently for the Yankees Friday if Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran had been in the lineup instead of on the bench in Detroit? Perhaps, but probably not. Jordan Zimmermann, in his first start for the Tigers since departing the Nationals and signed as a free agent, was strong enough Friday to shut down any lineup.
Get used to it, Yankees fans. With all the advanced age on the team roster, there are going to be days like Friday when manager Joe Girardi has to give some of his older players a blow. True, it was only the fourth game of the season, but Monday’s rainout forced the Yanks to play three games in a row against the Astros, which certainly played into Girardi’s decision.
There was no way McCann was going behind the plate for a fourth straight day. Giving Rodriguez a day off against a tough righthander allowed Mark Teixeira to be the designated hitter and take a break from first base. Beltran simply does not have the leg to play right field on a daily basis.
So Girardi went with a lineup that featured role players filling in for regulars behind the plate (Austin Romine), first base (Dustin Ackley) and right field (Aaron Hicks). The trio combined to go hitless with one walk (Romine) in nine plate appearances, but the rest of the batting order did not do much damage, either, as the Yankees were shutout victims just two days after they scored 16 runs in one game.
The run the Tigers scored in the first inning off Luis Severino on a single by Miguel Cabrera would be all they would need behind Zimmerman, who allowed two hits and three walks over seven innings, and two relievers, including former Yankees lefthander Justin Wilson. Detroit pitchers even cooled off red-hot Starlin Castro (0-for-4) and Didi Gregorius (0-for-3).
Detroit bunched four singles off Severino in the two-run fourth. The righthander ended up allowing 10 hits in five-plus innings although Ian Kinsler’s leadoff double in the first was the only hit for extra bases. The second of the Tigers’ 13 hits that went for extra bases was Cabrera’s first home run of the season, off Luis Cessa in the seventh.
The Yankees had only one runner get as far as second base.That was Teixeira in the seventh after a walk on a wild pitch by Zimmermann.
For the second straight game, Yankees pitchers did not walk a batter, but there was no paucity of base runners for the Tigers in their home opener. Johnny Barabato had another strong outing with two strikeouts in the seventh. The righthander has struck out five of the nine batters he has faced this season.
CC Sabathia is scheduled to start Saturday afternoon at Comerica Park to complete the rotation’s first turn. It has been an overall shabby start for the starters, who are a combined 1-2 with a 6.97 ERA. The best thing about the rotation has been its strikeout-to-walk ratio with 21 Ks and only one walk, but starters have allowed 28 hits, including six home runs, in 20 2/3 innings. That must improve.