Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez DH
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF
LHP CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 in 2011)
Sabathia vs. Rays
Desmond Jennings CF
Ben Zobrist RF
Evan Longoria 3B
Jeff Keppinger DH
Sean Rodriguez SS
Carlos Penda 1B
Elliott Johnson 2B
Jose Molina C
Matt Joyce LF
RHP James Shields (16-12, 2.82)
Shields vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 3:10 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network
WEATHER: This might be a terrible place for a baseball game, but at least we know it’ll be dry.
UMPIRES: HP Joe West, 1B Sam Holbrook, 2B Andy Fletcher, 3B Rob Drake
TOP OF THE LIST: With their first games of the season, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will move into a tie with Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle for the most seasons played in Yankees franchise history. This will be the 18th season for Jeter and Rivera. They’re currently tied with Frank Crosetti, Bill Dickey, Lou Gehrig, Jorge Posada, Whitey Ford and Bernie Williams at 17.
MORE JETER: Today will be Jeter’s 16th Opening Day start at shortstop, extending his own franchise record (Phil Rizzuto is second with 11). Barry Larkin was the last player to start as many or more Opening Day games at shortstop for the same club. He made 17 Opening Day starts for the Reds. No active player has started more Opening Day games at a single position with any team.
FOURTH IN A ROW: This is CC Sabathia’s fourth Opening Day start with the Yankees. Jack Chesbro, Bob Shawkey and Roger Clemens also started four openers for the Yankees. The most in franchise history is a three-way tie between Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry and Mel Stottlemyre. They each started seven. This is Sabathia’s ninth career Opening Day start.
THIRD TIME: This will be the third time the Yankees have opened a season against the Rays. The Yankees lost to the Rays on Opening Day in 2004 — when they opened in Tokyo — and the Yankees beat the Rays at the original Yankee Stadium in the 2007 opener.
CRAZY EIGHTS: After today’s game, Alex Rodriguez will have made eight career Opening Day starts at third base and eight at shortstop. According to Elias, there have been three other players since 1920 to start at least eight Opening Day games at two different positions (Ernie Banks at SS and 1B, Rod Carew at 1B and 2B, and Robin Yount at SS and CF). … Rodriguez has hit safely in eight straight openers, including all seven he’s played in with the Yankees. … This will be the eighth time Rodriguez and Jeter have started Opening Day together, the most by a SS/3B combination in franchise history.
ON THIS DATE: On April 6, 1973, Ron Blomberg became the Major League’s first designated hitter. His first-inning at-bat ended in a bases-loaded walk. He went 1-for-3 in the game.
UPDATE, 3:13 p.m.: Leadoff single by Jeter and we’re underway here in the dome.
UPDATE, 3:18 p.m.: Without the shift, that’s a sharp single to center field. With the shift, Granderson hits into a 6-3 double play.
UPDATE, 3:25 p.m.: I’m not a big fan of the band Tantric, but I’ve said it before and it’s still true: Evan Longoria’s at-bat music might be the best in the game. A relatively obscure song that starts really strong. It’s a perfect 10-second clip for the situation.
Also, CC is really erratic so far.
UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: Trusting Sabathia to get Pena. The Yankees have intentionally loaded the bases in the first, and now CC’s facing the power-hitting first baseman with two outs.
UPDATE, 3:33 p.m.: Well. That didn’t work. Full count, Sabathia went to the fastball and Pena clobbered it for a grand slam and a 4-0 Rays lead.
UPDATE, 3:41 p.m.: Yankees get their first run of the season on an RBI ground out by Ibanez. It’s now 4-1 in the top of the second.
UPDATE, 3:44 p.m.: Wild pitch lets Teixeira score and makes it 4-2.
UPDATE, 4:07 p.m.: The Yankees have pulled withing 4-3 because Robinson Cano beat the play to the plate when Carlos Pena chose to throw home rather than try to get an out at first.
UPDATE, 4:08 p.m.: Make that 6-4 because Raul Ibanez just went deep for a three-run shot. Do people still want him released?
UPDATE, 4:26 p.m.: For the second time today Granderson has hit perfectly into the shift. It’s a 6-5 game in the top of the fourth after Longoria’s solo shot in the bottom of the third.
UPDATE, 4:46 p.m.: Sabathia isn’t sharp, clearly, but as my good friend Marc Carig just pointed out, a lesser pitcher would have been long gone by now. He just got through the fourth with a 6-5 lead still intact. He’s probably got one more inning in him, and maybe part of a second inning. If Sabathia can pitch the fifth and the Yankees can mix and match in the sixth, they’ll still be able to go Soriano, Robertson and Rivera through the seventh, eighth and ninth.
UPDATE, 4:58 p.m.: Bad decision by Jeter to cut off that throw? Looked like Granderson had a shot at the out at third.
UPDATE, 5:19 p.m.: Very nice throw by Gardner gets the Yankees through the sixth inning, still a 6-5 Yankees lead. Gardner got Desmond Jennings trying to stretch a single to a double, and now Soriano is getting loose for the seventh inning. After the grand slam, Sabathia pitched another 5.1 innings with only one run. He wasn’t sharp, but he did the job.
UPDATE, 6:13 p.m.: A couple of walks were left stranded in the top of the eighth, and now Dave Robertson is in to pitch the bottom half. It’s still a one-run game. This is exactly the kind of game the Yankees built this bullpen for.
UPDATE, 6:21 p.m.: Robertson is going to need another great escape. A walk and a single have left runners at the corners with no outs in the eighth. Bottom third of the Rays order is due up.
UPDATE, 6:27 p.m.: Girardi might be off the hook for the most questionable managerial decision of the day. The Rays just tried a suicide squeeze on a two-strike pitch and Molina fouled it off for strike three. Molina had clearly missed the squeeze sign on the pitch before. Really odd.
UPDATE, 6:31 p.m.: Robertson did it again. Molina’s bad bunt helped the Yankees setup man retire three straight to strand the tying run at third. Still 6-5 with Mariano Rivera getting loose in the bullpen.