One down, 57 to go.
Opening Day went swimmingly for the Yankees on Thursday afternoon. Actually, if Yankee Stadium were a restaurant, you might have called this a soft opening.
Not that the ballpark, the hosts or the crowd weren’t fully ready. The opponent, though, was another story. It will be another story for much of this 2019 season, and how the Yankees act their part might very well determine their fate.
By pounding the lowly Orioles to the tune of a 7-2 score, the Yankees launched their championship run with the sort of victory they should copy/paste against the myriad inferior foes that occupy their schedule. If they want to replicate the methodology used by last year’s Red Sox to capture the American League East, they should record 57 more wins like this one.
“I think last year, a lot of time [against] teams that were below .500, we didn’t do too well,” said Aaron Judge, who opened his final season as a non-millionaire with two singles and two walks. “So that’s been a priority of ours, even in spring training going into now. Just go out there and try to dominate every single pitcher, every single team.”
Added Judge: “Some teams get you. Some teams have your number throughout the year. You’ve just got to make sure that teams we know we should beat, teams that we’re matched up with pretty well, we should try to take care of them.”
If you look at how the Yankees performed last year against clubs that lost 86 or more games — a 44-25 record, for a .638 winning percentage — you might opine that Judge graded his own team too harshly. Except that the Red Sox, against the same group, posted a 53-15 record, an astounding .779 winning percentage.