The Yanks and D-Rays will lock horns for the middle game of this season-opening three-game set today at 1:05pm in the Bronx, and this is a game I would've loved to have played hookey to see, but no such luck. Whether he was a good signing or not, whether he’s got anything left in the tank or not, whether he’s an elbow injury waiting to happen or not, Andy Pettitte is going to get a monster round of applause when he takes the mound tomorrow, and he deserves it.
He was a key player in the Yanks 4 rings, and he deserves a hero’s welcome. All nostalgia aside, Pettitte is very important to the Yanks, especially at this early point of the season with three question marks in the rotation. Including tomorrow, the Yanks play 8 games in 8 days. The pen can’t handle 4+ innings per game. They need Pettitte and probably Mussina too, to give them 6+ innings.
In a nutshell: Whereas Monday’s game saw all the stars aligned in the D-Rays favor (ace lefty on the hill facing Pavano), today’s game looks like a blowout for the Yanks. Jae Seo really doesn’t belong in the majors, and I guess technically he isn’t. He’s a soft-tossing righty, facing a lineup completely stacked with lefties, in a park that favors lefties.
Key to the game: Don’t sleep on the Rays. In years past, the Yanks would overlook a game like this, especially against the D-Rays. If they come out, work the count, take advantage of mistakes, and strike early and often this game will be a blowout. If they sit back and expect the game to come to them, they could let this one slip away. Keep manufacturing runs, don’t wait for someone to touch up the junk-baller with a long ball.
Lineups: Doug probably gets his first start at first today (I’ll start spelling his name when he produces something in pinstripes). Damon is listed as day-to-day, but I can’t see him missing a game after a day off because of “sore calves,” I doubt Melky is in the lineup.