First up for the Yankees are the division rival Blue Jays. In fact, 15 of the Yankees 22 April regular season games are against division rivals. Throw in another three against the NY Mets and it figures to be an action packed month. For a team that traditionally starts slow, that may not be the best of things but it’s not a deal breaker either.
In a few hours we’ll have things to discuss about the game, things to both cheer and to gnash our teeth about, because that’s just what baseball fans do. To tide you over, here are some game predictions to keep an eye on as the game progresses. Some of these may be wishful thinking, some are tongue-in-cheek, but they are all things I’m expecting to come to fruition at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day 2015.
- Didi Gregorius will get a huge hand when he takes the field. Yankees fans want to show that, as much as we love Derek Jeter, we’re not going to hold it against the kid just because he’s not the Captain. His hitting will ultimately determine how well the fans receive him, but this first time up, it’s all love.
- Jose Bautista will mouth off to an umpire. New year, new season, same Jose. He can’t help himself at this point. I wouldn’t be disappointed to see him get run out of the game in the second inning just to get his ultra powerful bat out of the line-up, but that’s unlikely. He knows his limits.
- Masahiro Tanaka will hit 93 on the radar gun. Despite all that talk of lower velocity, Tanaka will reach back for a little extra today. Call it adrenaline, call it pride, call it whatever, in his first opening day start in Yankee Stadium, Tanaka isn’t going to hesitate to get that strikeout. That’s not necessarily a good thing, though, since the main thing is for Tanaka to stay both healthy and effective for a full season. If he can do that while pitching in the low 90s, then that’s perfectly fine for us fans.
- Dellin Betances gets the first crack at a save, whether that’s today or later in the series. Doesn’t matter whether he’s facing lefties or righties. Joe Girardi is nothing if not loyal to his guys and after the stellar season he turned in last year, he’s not going to turn his back on Betances just because of his spring results.
- Mark Teixeira will hit into the shift at least once today. Take this one to the bank.
Get ready, Yankees fans. Winter’s over, spring is here and the New York Yankees are back!