Yankees look to keep hot start going vs. O's
The Yankees began manager Aaron Boone's second season with a flawless display of power at the plate and the mound while also showcasing some patience at the plate in a 7-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
While a season opener is significant, it was not anything worthy of changing Boone's mindset.
After a day off, the Yankees attempt to get to 2-0 Saturday afternoon when they host the Baltimore Orioles.
New York never trailed in Thursday's win. Luke Voit hit a three-run homer four batters into the game off Andrew Cashner and drove in four runs total. Every starter reached base at least once.
Aaron Judge reached base four times, including a hard-hit single ahead of Voit's homer and a pair of walks. Giancarlo Stanton singled in the first and walked twice. Greg Bird also homered after striking out three times.
"Look, it's a long season," Boone said. "And I'd tell you that if I walked in here and we lost. Sure, we want to get off to a good start, we want to play our best baseball, we want to put our best foot forward and we expect a lot of ourselves. But one game, sometimes, either way, doesn't necessarily lead into anything."
The Yankees will be attempting to get to 2-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2000-2001. They also are hoping more games like Thursday result in better outcomes against teams like the Orioles, who lost 115 games last season but won five times at Yankee Stadium in a year when the Yankees finished eight games out of first place in the AL East.
"I think last year, a lot of time (against) teams that were below .500, we didn't do too well," Judge said. "So that's been a priority of ours, even in spring training going into now. Just go out there and try to dominate every single pitcher, every single team."
The Orioles began manager Brandon Hyde's tenure by issuing eight walks and falling behind 4-0. Trey Mancini and Chris Davis were the only players in Thursday's lineup who started the opener in 2018 and each had different days.
Mancini collected three of Baltimore's eight hits as the starting designated hitter and Davis struck out three times before getting lifted for a pinch hitter in the ninth.
"Look at our division," Mancini said. "There are some great teams there. You're lying to yourself if you say anything differently. We're not going to go out there and play scared or anything else. We all see ourselves as major league baseball players, and that's what they are. So we're going to go out there and play hard and try to compete with these guys."
After Masahiro Tanaka pitched effectively for 5 2/3 innings on Thursday, James Paxton will make his Yankees debut. Paxton was acquired Nov. 19 from the Seattle Mariners and went 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five spring training starts.
Last season, Paxton was 11-6 with 3.76 ERA in 28 starts for the Mariners, highlighted by a no-hitter in Toronto and a 16-strikeout game. He also set career highs for innings pitched (160 1/3) and strikeouts (208) while posting a career-high 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
Paxton is 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles. His last appearance against the Orioles was June 26 in Baltimore when he fanned 10 in seven innings.
Nate Karns is a career starting pitcher but since he is not stretched out, having missed all of last season with an elbow injury and experienced arm soreness in spring training, he will be employed as Baltimore's first-ever "opener." During spring training, he made six of seven appearances in relief and never went more than six outs.
Even if it's as an "opener," Saturday will be Karns' 55th career start. He last started and appeared in a game May 19, 2017 for the Kansas City Royals when he allowed a run and five hits in a no-decision against the Minnesota Twins in a game Karns exited with forearm stiffness that eventually led to him undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.
Karns is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees and will be pitching at Yankee Stadium for the first time since April 15, 2016 when he was a member of the Mariners.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 29, 2019