2014 started off in really, really nice fashion for the Houston Astros. They trounced the New York Yankees 6-2 in front of 42,117 strong, and actually not all Yankee fans.
New staff ace Scott Feldman threw 66 of 102 pitches for strikes and allowed only two hits in 6.2 brilliant innings. However the story lines were all over one of his two hit batters and not the two hits allowed.
Because one of those hit batsmen was the Derek Jeter, who has officially embarked on his farewell tour. And it began by taking an 0-1 fastball to the forearm…and then the world stood still.
The headlines were all about Derek Jeter’s beginning of the end and the potential of injury when Feldman’s pitch ran far too in on the Yankee captain. After the game the future first ballot Hall of Famer said, “that woke me up.”
Last season the Yankees shortstop tallied only 53 AB in a mere 17 games with injuries to his left ankle stemming from his devastating injury in the 2012 ALCS which many still prophetically blame on Nick Swisher who could have ended the inning a play earlier on a ball hit to right field.
Derek Jeter, who turns 40 this summer as his 20 year career concludes, finished 1-3 with a run scored, his hit going into right field in the picturesque oppo-taco swing that he’s demonstrated all these years.
Also the Astros won!
I suppose if you are to surrender your Opening Day winning newspaper clipping to anyone, it might as well be one of the greatest players in the history of the Earth and baseball too.
Scott Feldman was excellent though, and there’s no taking that away. The bullpen did a fine 2013 Houston Astros bullpen impression, Kevin Chapman giving up a run in a third of an inning and Chad Qualls surrendering the Yankees second and final run in an inning of work. Qualls did throw 11 of 12 pitches for strikes, so there’s that.
As surprisingly good as ‘Stros starter Scott Feldman was, the Yankees Opening Day starter experienced more of the same.
In season six with the club, CC Sabathia started his 6th opener and was rocked early for four first inning runs, two coming on a 408 feet smack for Jesus Guzman in his very first (regular season) plate appearance with Houston. Sabathia entered the game with a 7.71 ERA in game one starts for the Yankees, a number that absolutely went up after being clubbed by the young Astros. Maybe Masahiro Tanaka gets the ball to start 2015.
L.J. Hoes, who will reportedly platoon in right field with new acquisition Alex Presley – while Robbie Grossman claims left field until George Springer arrives to shake things up – led off the bottom of the second with a homer of his own, matching his career home run total with one swing of the bat.
Jose Altuve was fantastic, going 2-4 with 2 RBI, a run scored and the team’s first stolen base of the season (and the only of the game between both clubs). He drove in Dexter Fowler both times, who was 2-4 himself atop the new look batting lineup.
Jason Castro accounted for the other run, bringing Altuve home on a fielder’s choice in the first.
The Astros offense was quiet from the third frame on, but the Yankees never made it a game against Scott Feldman.
Matt Dominguez was 0-4 with 3 strikeouts, but I’m in a silver lining mood and he saw 20 pitches on Tuesday evening.
Late night talk show host Conan O’Brien is in Dallas, Texas this week to do his shows with the Final Four coming up in Jerry Jones’ “Death Star” this weekend.
Amidst his Texas-themed monologue he took a jab at the Houston Astros, explaining that the team has already been mathematically eliminated on Opening Day. Come on, Coco.
Fast Forward to 3:17 for the Astros jab.