opening day

The Yankees’ Bullpen Sends Boston’s Opening-Night Crowd Home Happy

The 2010 baseball season technically began when Derek Jeter grounded out on Josh Beckett’s first pitch at Fenway Park last night, but the Yankees–Red Sox season hasn’t really begun until the two teams have played their first nine-inning game that lasts three hours and forty-six minutes. That happened last night, as well.

CC Sabathia pitched well until he didn’t, then combined with the Yankees’ bullpen to squander a 5–1 lead. The bullpen — which would also blow a 7–5 lead in the seventh — is something of a work in progress early in the season. With the exception of closer Mariano Rivera and LOOGY Damaso Marte, no one else really has a specified role. Joe Girardi won’t even commit to giving Joba Chamberlain the eighth-inning spot on anything but a tryout basis.

No one did themselves any favors last night: David Robertson got charged with the blown save after relieving CC Sabathia (whom, we assume, Joe Girardi left in too long in honor of first-pitch-thrower Pedro Martinez); Chan Ho Park took the loss after allowing two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning; Damaso Marte walked the only batter he faced, crossing up Jorge Posada to the tune of a wild pitch and a passed ball in doing so; and Joba Chamberlain allowed an insurance run with two outs in the eighth to make the score 9–7. The only relievers whose stock rose were the ones who didn’t pitch.

Because it’s just a tad early to panic over just about anything but an injury, let’s chalk this one up to the Red Sox freezing the Yankees’ pitchers with live renditions of “God Bless America” (by Steven Tyler) and “Sweet Caroline” (by Neil Diamond) in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. And yes, sure, the Yankees have long iced pitchers with lengthy “God Bless America” performances in the past, but flying in Neil Diamond and exploiting “Sweet Caroline” just to break Joba Chamberlain’s rhythm? That’s low.

The Yankees’ Bullpen Sends Boston’s Opening-Night Crowd Home Happy