Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yankees pass opening test with flying colors

In their quest to repeat as World Series champions, the New York Yankees had a major hurdle to navigate with two tough road series against their archrival Boston Red Sox and the feisty Tampa Bay Rays. They passed the test with flying colors.

After losing the opening games of both series, the Yankees rebounded to take the next two games in each series. The Yankees depended on quality starting pitching, including a dominant performance on Saturday by CC Sabathia to make up for an iffy first outing, a couple of solid starts by AJ Burnett and a strong start by the godfather of the staff Andy Pettitte. Of course, Mariano Rivera came in to close out three of the team's four wins.

The Yankees offense had some timely contributions from the bottom of the order, offsetting the first-week struggles of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Curtis Granderson has been a standout, proving that he is not at all intimidated by joining the heated Rivalry and the three-headed beast that is the American League East.

This being the Yankees, the week was not without controversy. Joe Girardi made it clear that he is the boss and was fully prepared to take CC out of Saturday's game even with a no-hitter intact. It would have been a gutsy move and as much as I would have hated it, it was the right one. There was also that nasty public spat with umpire Joe West. I doubt we've heard the last of that story.

But all in all, it was a great week for the Yankees. If a baseball team can consistently go on the road and take series by 2-1 margins, that team dramatically increases their chances for a successful season. The Yankees started the 2010 campaign on the right foot. Let's hope this is merely a sign of more great things to come.

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