“Play Ball” .. one of the most exciting phrases in all of sports. Opening Day in the Bronx. It’s here. Winter is going, going, gone. Yankees vs, Orioles at the Stadium. It never gets old !!

We can talk about how many regular season games the Yanks will win. We can even debate if they will overtake the Red Sox and win the division, BUT  in  my opinion it’s all about one thing … winning another Championship.

It’s March .. 28th and the 2019 quest for  .. #28 begins today.

Here’s your Yankees opening day lineup :

Gardner (CF), Judge (RF), Stanton (LF), Voit (DH), Andujar (3B), Sanchez (C), Bird (1B), Torres (2B), Tulowitzki (SS) … Tanaka (RHP).

Again .. we can debate whether Harper or Machado or BOTH should be in the lineup, but to me it is more about the pitching, and the hitting approach by the Yankee batters.

Here is what I wrote back in January : Have the Yankees done enough this off-season to narrow the 8-game gap between them and the Red Sox? There is no question that the Yankees have the better bullpen .. but they had the better bullpen last year. Boston had the better starting rotation last year headed by Sale, Price, Porcello, and the deadline addition of Eovaldi (re-signed). The Yankees brought back Happ and traded for Paxton (traded Sheffield), but is their rotation better than Boston? I would have said yes if the Yankees had gone the extra-mile and signed FA Patrick Corbin instead of re-signing FA CC Sabathia. Here’s what the Red Sox manager had to say on the subject .. Alex Cora: “People get caught up obviously in what New York is doing. We knew that they were going to make moves. They have a great bullpen, obviously. But we have a great rotation. It balances out.” Cora is right. But there is another advantage that the Sox had last year. Thanks to Cora they played with a mental toughness, and in general, a higher baseball IQ, more fundamentally sound, hitting for power AND average, focusing on putting bat-on-ball, and reducing how often they struck-out, making moves to improve their defense (releasing Hanley Ramirez), always looking for an edge (stealing signs and figuring out how Yankee ace Luis Severino was tipping his pitches). It proved to be the difference between the two teams last year in my opinion. Not everything can be quantified by an analytics department.

And those comments above, showing my concern for starting pitching were before Luis Severino went down with right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation. Yankee fans now need to hope Sevy comes back healthy in May & stays healthy (I have my doubts). They also must hope that Tanaka’s partially torn UCL holds up. Paxton was an excellent trade imo, but obviously we need him to stay off the injured list.. something he has not been able to do in the past. My thoughts on the hitting and a better situational approach remain the same, and another key to the season..

Soooo .. it’s March 28th, the earliest regular season game in Yankee history, and no better time for the quest for 28 to get started.

As always,