New York Yankees; Three Observations For Opening Day

Who's going to hit the first home run for the Yankees in 2018—-the Blue Jays’ ace JA Happ will be on the mound on Thursday for Opening Day. Happ pitched only once against the Yankees in 2017 on July 4, and was victimized by a rocket to center field off the bat of Aaron Judge.

Per Brooks Baseball, Happ relies primarily on his four seam fastball (93 mph) and sinker (91 mph), also mixing in a slider (86 mph), change (87 mph) and curve (77 mph). He had a 3.47 ERA against the Yankees in July 2017, striking out six and walking two for the 4-1 win.

Judge went 1-4 with a home run and three strikeouts against Happ on July 4 in a losing effort for the Yankees; his homer being the only run scored.

Judge will tee it up again on Opening Day and get one he can drive over the wall—-only this time, it may not be the only homerun hit against Happ, just the first of the season for a team that hit the most home runs in baseball in 2017 with 241 and which expects to exceed that number this season with the acquisition of the National League home run leader Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton has never faced Happ, so Yankee fans will be excited to see what he brings on Opening Day against him. As for most pitchers this season, Happ will be facing the league’s most powerful hitting duo probably back-to-back in the lineup.

I’m going with Judge to hit the first homerun of 2018 because of his success last season against Happ, but if he should fail, look for Stanton to run into one to drive out.

Let’s NOT break a franchise record—-The Yankees 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day in 2017 was their sixth straight Opening Day loss in a row, which set a franchise record.

It’s up to ace and Opening Day starter Luis Severino and the rest of the Bombers to overcome this dubious record by beating the Blue Jays on Thursday and setting the universe back on course.

The Blue Jays have been projected to rank third in the division (behind No. 1 Yankees and No. 2 Boston Red Sox) by, but every fan of the American League East knows it’s a dogfight every time out against this divisional opponent.

So, let’s hope Severino makes a statement with his first Opening Day start and comes away with a win over the Blue Jays.

All hail General Manager Brian Cashman—-with the injury to Greg Bird, Cashman’s acquisition of free agent Neil Walker has all the makings of a premonition. Walker, a career second baseman, played 17 games at first base last season and was brought in by Cashman to play a utility role for the Yankee infield this season. It is looking like he may get his opportunity to debut at first base for the Yankees on Opening Day. Walker will likely platoon with Tyler Austin, getting playing time against righties.

The Yankees played something like 1,000 guys at first base in ’17 in an attempt to get a solid glove and bat; however, it does not seem that will be the case this season while Bird is out, for one thing, fans are hoping he’ll be out no longer than 6-8 weeks, and for another, the talent on the team is better than it was at first base in 2017.

Yankee fans look forward to beginning the season with a win against the Blue Jays on Opening Day on their way to a successful 2018 campaign. The Yankees have their eyes set on winning the World Series this season and a win on day one is a perfect way to kick off the drive to No. 28.


Join the NYYST Family