The Yankees put aside all doubts about their ability to score runs by racking up 30 over the course of a three game sweep of the Kansas City Royals in the Bronx.
Minus the voice of Bob Sheppard for the first home opener
since 1950, the Yanks needed some late inning heroics from their hero of heroes, Derek Jeter. The captain delivered a three-run jack to cap a 5 run comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning, giving the Yanks a 9-7 win.
The next two games were not as suspenseful, as Gary Sheffield powered the lineup from the DH spot by going 3-for-5, with a HR and 4 RBI in Game 2
, Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon joined Sheff in the HR derby, launching the Yanks to a 9-3 victory.
But before Yankee fans can get exited, the starting pitching was still suspect. While Randy Johnson went five quality innings on Thursday, it was still only five innings due to early season physical conditioning. Game 2 saw Shawn Chacon have a rickety first inning, eventually righting the ship and going six innings while allowing seven hits and five earned runs. That’s not the type of stat line that’s going to win games against quality teams. And even though the opener had a happy ending, Chien-Ming Wang tried his best to throw a couple of cliff-hangers into the mix by blowing a 4-1 lead.
Last season the Royals gave the Yanks fits, so it’s good to see that the Bombers have this quasi minor league team under control and were able to reverse an early April slide. But these were games the Yankees were supposed to win. And they did.
The Minnesota series will be a much more significant challenge as the Twins are coming off of a sweep of the Oakland A’s and have been playing quality baseball early on.