Published January 13, 2015
The New York Yankees' performance on Opening Day did little to quell their critics. Hopefully Hiroki Kuroda can put them at ease on Wednesday when the injury-depleted Yankees continue a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
The reigning American League East champion Yankees began their season with regulars Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez all on the disabled list.
And it showed, as the Yankees failed to muster any offense in Boston's 8-2 win on Monday.
Meanwhile, Shane Victorino drove in three runs and Jon Lester pitched five solid innings for the Red Sox, who provided new manager John Farrell with a win in his first game since replacing Bobby Valentine.
Lester (1-0) surrendered a pair of runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts to earn the victory in his third straight Opening Day start.
"Awesome to see those guys get good professional at bats 1 through 9," said Lester. "Great defense, bullpen and everybody else."
Francisco Cervelli drove in the only two runs for New York, while former Boston star Kevin Youkilis had a double and a run scored against his former team.
CC Sabathia (0-1), making his fifth straight Opening Day start for the Yankees, was tagged for four runs -- all in the second inning -- on eight hits over five frames. He walked four and struck out five in defeat.
"It's one game, you don't make too much of it," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "Everyone wants to get off to a great start, but (sometimes) it just doesn't happen that way. You come back and work Wednesday night."
Kuroda was terrific last season for the Yankees, so much so that the team signed him again to a 1-year, $15 million deal this offseason. The former Japanese star finished his first season in New York with a 16-11 record, 3.32 earned run average and 167 strikeouts against 51 walks in 219 2/3 innings over 33 starts.
He was also solid this spring, posting a 1.53 ERA with 15 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox will counter with righty Clay Buchholz, who was 11-8 last season with a 4.56 ERA. Buchholz was at his worst in April of last season when posted an 8.69 ERA in five starts. Things weren't any better against the Yankees, as he was 0-2 with a 15.26 ERA in two starts.
Now with his former pitching coach Farrell at the managerial helm the hope is that Buchholz can get back to his 2010 form that saw him win 17 games.
"The one thing that was evident early on -- he came in without any physical issues to hold him back," Farrell said. "I thought he was better overall with particularly his fastball location, [using the] bottom of the strike zone, and if that holds true to form going forward, he should be a very good and certainly a very strong starting pitcher for us. What that means in innings, wins, losses -- time will tell. But he's in a good place right now to start the season."
The Yankees were 13-5 last season against the Red Sox.