Saturday, April 7, 2012
Yankeemetrics: Opening Day edition
By Katie Sharp, ESPN Stats & Information
It was an Opening Day to forget for the Yankees, who dropped their first game of the 2012 season to the Rays, 7-6, thanks to a walk-off hit by Carlos Pena in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The last two regular-season losses for the Yankees have now been in walk-off fashion versus the Rays, who also beat New York 8-7 in the final game of last season on a walk-off homer by Evan Longoria in the 12th inning.
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau it was the first walk-off loss for the Yankees on Opening Day since a 1-0, 12-inning loss to Texas in 1980. Elias also tells us that the last time the Yankees blew a lead in the ninth and lost on Opening Day was way back in 1934 against the Philadelphia A's.
• Mariano Rivera showed his rare human side, blowing just his second save in 62 chances against the Rays and first since 2005. Ben Zobrist sparked Tampa Bay's rally with a triple, his second in three at-bats against Rivera. Zobrist is the only player with multiple triples against Mariano.
Grand Slam vs Yankees
Opening Day Last 90 Years
Carlos Pena, Rays
Tony Batista, Orioles
Carlton Fisk, Red Sox
• CC Sabathia, the first Yankee to make four consecutive Opening Day starts since Mel Stottlemyre in 1967-70, struggled early on as Pena took him deep with the bases loaded in the first inning. The only other Yankee Opening Day starter to allow a grand slam was Roger Clemens in 2002 against the Orioles.
Sabathia is now 0-1 with a 7.48 ERA in four Opening Day starts for the Yankees. Only one Yankee pitcher in the last 90 seasons that made at least two Opening Day starts has a higher ERA in season openers than Sabathia – Allie Reynolds had a 7.50 ERA in two such starts.
• Raul Ibanez had an impressive debut for the Bronx Bombers, hitting a third-inning three-run homer to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead. Elias reports that Ibanez joins Roger Maris (1960) as the only Yankees to drive in four runs in their first game in pinstripes.
• Derek Jeter nearly re-wrote the Yankee record books when he stepped to the plate in the first inning. It was his 16th careeer Opening Day start, breaking a tie with Bill Dickey for second place on the Yankees all-time list and just two behind Mickey Mantle. His leadoff single was his 14th one-bagger on Opening Day, one shy of the record also held by Mantle.