Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Core Four carries team on Opening Day

Andy Pettitte was the first player to receive his ring during today's pre-game ceremony. He quickly shook hands and thanked his manager Joe Girardi and honorary co-presenters Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford and returned to the dugout to continue prepping for the happy duty of starting the baseball game. And he pitched a helluva game, giving up no runs in six innings for a well-earned victory.

It wasn't the sharpest he's ever been, but in typical Pettitte fashion, he got out of trouble a few times with a perfectly-placed pitch for a ground ball. If there's one thing that Pettitte knows how to do, it's pitch when he's in trouble or doesn't have his best stuff, something I hope he teaches Phil Hughes as he embarks on his quest to be a good fifth starter for the New York Yankees. Of course, Pettitte had a lot of help from his catcher today, with Jorge Posada guiding the lefty through some dicey spots and backing him up with three solid hits to help the Yankees score runs late.

After happily fulfilling his captain duties by gently ribbing his Boss George Steinbrenner while delivering his ring and playing a wicked prank on his ex-teammate Hideki Matsui by switching his real ring with a fake one, Derek Jeter belted a monster home run into the bullpen and followed it up with a shot off the body of Angels starter Ervin Santana.

Going into the 9th inning with a six-run lead, I thought the only thing that sucked about the day was not getting to see Mariano Rivera run to the mound with the thundering sound of Enter Sandman playing in the background. Be careful what you wish for. Sure enough, Mo was needed, even on a day like today. Dave Robertson gave up a grand slam to former Yank Bobby Abreu after only getting one out, forcing Girardi to call in his closer to get the final two outs. And Mo quickly quashed the rally, striking out Torii Hunter and getting Matsui to pop up to end the game.

So there was the Core Four, carrying their team as usual. Things never really change that much for the Yankees.

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