Reasons why the Yanks got drubbed:
1. Kluber Shelled
After a scoreless 1st on this 3:30pm opening-day start in Tampa, Kluber was sabotaged by this defense in the 2nd, when with 1 out, DJ LeMahieu, playing 3rd base, made a throwing error allowing 1st baseman Yandy Diaz to reach Shortstop Willy Adames then doubled in a run and centerfielder Brett Phillips sac flied the run in and Kluber was down 2-0.
Corey Kluber, "Painted" 90mph Fastball.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 9, 2021
The Yanks got it right back in the 3rd with a 2-RBI double by Giancarlo Stanton and a 2-run homer by Aaron Hicks (more on that below) but Kluber got right back into shit in the bottom of the 3rd. A leadoff single by DH and leadoff batter Yoshi Tsutsugo, a walk to Austin Meadows, and a single by rightfielder Randy Arozarena made it 4-3 NY. Kluber finally got an out with a strikeout of Lowe but all hopes he’d get out of the inning with a lead ended when he walked Diaz to load the bases with 1 out and was gone after 62 pitches.
2. Nelson Had a “Bad Day”
In came flame thrower Nick Nelson, who had looked so good in the spring (and last year) and whom manager Aaron Boone has gushed about. On this day, Nelson had a bad day — his 96 MPH fastball straight as an arrow and hit hard all over the place.
At first not so bad — a double by 3rd baseman Joey Wendle to make it 5-4 Tampa, but Nelson got out of the 3rd with a popup and groundout.
In the 4th however, Tampa gushed all over Nelson — a hit by pitch, a walk, a single by Meadows to load the bases with nobody out, a strikeout — but then a bases-clearing double by 2nd baseman Brandon Lowe and an RBI-single by Diaz to make it 9-4 Tampa and ballgame. Nelson finally got it going and struck out the last two batters of the inning. Too late.
3. Giancarlo’s 2-Out, 2-RBI Single
The highlight of the day for the Yanks became when Giancarlo Stanton, up with 2 outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd in the 2nd — singled to tie the game. Situational hitting.
Giancarlo Stanton ties this game up!
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) April 9, 2021
A homerun by Aaron Hicks followed, plating Stanton and making it 4-2 NY in the 2nd with Kluber on the mound. It looked like it was going to be a good day afterall. But not.
Hicks! Hits one to the sticks! pic.twitter.com/0YYjQBq2ao
— John Sterling Calls (@JSterlingCalls) April 9, 2021
4. Veteran Hill on the Hill
Veteran righty Rich Hill — yes that Rich Hill — he is 41 years old now — had his off-speed pitches working, and besides that 4-run 2nd, mowed the Yankees down — 6 innings, and those 4 runs. He struck out 7, walked nobody, and allowed 4 hits
5. Judge Not on IL
Aaron Judge missed the game due to soreness in his right side, announced on Tuesday, and had Yankee Twitter musing for days. He wasn’t put on the IL so that was good.
6. Luetge, Cessa, LeMahieu, & Sanchez OK
After Kluber and Nelson gushed runs — lefty Lucas Luetge came in to pitch 3 innings, allowing 1 run. and Luis Cessa pitched a shutout 8th. DJ LeMahieu homered in the 8th, and had 2 hits to raise his average to .310; Gary Sanchez went 1-3 with a walk and is batting .286. Ok.