Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Raul Ibanez DH
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF
RHP Ivan Nova (1-0, 2.57)
Nova vs. Angels
Erick Aybar SS
Howie Kendrick 2B
Albert Pujols 1B
Torii Hunter RF
Vernon Wells CF
Bobby Abreu LF
Mark Trumbo DH
Maicer Izturis 3B
Chris Iannetta C
RHP Jerome Williams (0-0, 0.00)
Williams vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 8:05 p.m., ESPN
WEATHER: It’s a gorgeous night for baseball. It’s in 70′s right now, and isn’t expected to go below 60.
UMPIRES: HP Jim Joyce, 1B Jim Reynolds, 2B Mike DiMuro, 3B James Hoye.
EARLY TESTS: Of the Yankees first 22 games, 15 will be played against the three other AL playoff teams from last season (Detroit, Texas, Tampa Bay) and the teams with the next-best 2011 records (Boston and the Angels).
THE FINAL 42: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is the last active player wearing Jackie Robinson’s No. 42. The number was retired throughout the majors in 1997 (Rivera’s third season), with players who were wearing it at the time allowed to continue using it.
STRONG PEN: Through the first eight games of the season, the Yankees bullpen has a major league-best 1.93 ERA (28 IP, 16 H, 6 ER, 13 BB, 38 K, 2 HR).
ON THIS DATE: On April 15, 1976, the Yankees played their first game in the remodeled Yankee Stadium, defeating Minnesota, 11-4.
(NOTE: I’ll be updating here every so often, but I’ll definitely be more active on Twitter. Follow me @vzmercogliano to join in the conversation.)
UPDATE, 8:15 P.M.: Ivan Nova just has that “it” about him. He’s able to bear down with runners in scoring position and escape with limited damage. After a one-out triple from Kendrick (which was scorched, by the way) in the top of the first, he got Pujols to line out to short and struck out Hunter looking.
UPDATE, 8:22 P.M.: Yanks go down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first. It’s probably worth noting that the Yankees tend to struggle against pitchers who they haven’t seen before, and Ibanez is the only guy in the lineup who was any career at-bats against the righty. Just saying…
UPDATE, 8:38 P.M.: Nova gave up a homer to Trumbo in the top of the second, one of a few hard hit balls the Angels have had off of him. It’s crazy to think that a guy like Trumbo doesn’t play everyday for them. This roster is very deep and flexible, which is why you don’t see Mike Scioscia use the same lineup very often. After giving up back-to-back two-out singles to Izturis and Iannetta, Nova avoided further damage by inducing a ground ball from Aybar. It’s 1-0 Angels.
UPDATE, 8:49 P.M.: The Yanks tie the game at 1-1 thanks to an RBI single from Ibanez, but Martin wastes a chance for more by grounding into a double play to end the inning.
UPDATE, 8:55 P.M.: Nice inning for Nova in the top of the third. Strikes out the side — Kendrick, Pujols, Hunter. Those guys are no slouches.
UPDATE, 9:12 P.M.: The Yankees must have read my post this morning about their lack of production with runners in scoring position. They just knocked Williams out with two outs in the third after a slew of hits. RBI for Granderson, A-Rod, Tex and Swish in this inning. Tex in particular roped a hard hit double into the RF corner. He was 1 for 10 with RISP heading into that at-bat. It’s 5-1 Yanks with former Met Hisanori Takahashi coming into pitch for the Angels.
UPDATE, 9:22 P.M.: After giving up a leadoff single to Wells, Nova gets him to ground into a double play. He’s working at a nice pace and should be able to give the Yanks at least six innings at this rate.
UPDATE, 9:43 P.M.: The renaissance of Derek Jeter continues. The Captain launched an opposite field, three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to extend the Yankees lead to 8-1. That was the second ball that he stayed back on and drove to right field so far tonight. It’s remarkable how good Jeter has looked so far this season — his swing looks as sharp as ever. As a team, every player in the Yankees lineup has either scored or driven in a run so far tonight, with six players having at least one RBI. That should quiet the critics for at least a day or two.
UPDATE, 9:53 P.M.: For the second consecutive game, Iannetta uses the short porch in RF to his advantage. His two-run shot cuts the Angels deficit to 8-3. Through five innings, Nova has allowed seven hits while striking out eight on 85 pitches. The sixth could very well be his final inning.
UPDATE, 10:07 P.M.: Another hard hit ball from Tex as he leads off the bottom of the fifth with a single (this one came from the right side), but nothing comes of it. It’s 8-3 Yankees going into the sixth.
UPDATE, 10:18 P.M.: Nova gives up another run in the top of the sixth after a walk to Trumbo and a double off the RF wall from Izturis. Incredibly, of the eight hits that Nova has surrendered, five have come from the bottom three in the Angels’ lineup. Trumbo, Izturis and Iannetta have accounted for all of the Angels runs and RBI. It’s now 8-4 Yankees.
UPDATE, 10:29 P.M.: Granderson is caught stealing to end the sixth. Jeter made a loud out with a ball hit to the warning track in left centerfield. It looked like it had a chance to go out off the bat. Nova is done after six innings, with Rafael Soriano coming in. Nova’s final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 102 pitches (66 strikes).
UPDATE, 10:46 P.M.: After Soriano had a rough time — allowing an RBI single to Pujols to make it 8-5, and then loading the bases with two outs — David Robertson came in and got Trumbo to fly out to right to end the threat.
UPDATE, 11:06 P.M.: After a two-out, RBI single from Swisher, Ibanez just absolutely crushed one into the upper deck in RF. ESPN showed Hunter mouthing, “Wow!” Ibanez’s bat looked incredibly slow during spring training, but he’s certainly looking like a good signing so far this season. It’s 11-5 Yankees going into the eighth.