The New York Yankees were unable to secure their first win of the season as the Rays smack around Masahiro Tanaka en route to a 7-3 win.

  • New York Yankees: 3 (0-1)
  • Tampa Bay Rays: 7 (1-0)
  • American League, FINAL, Box Score
  • Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
The New York Yankees couldn’t quite kick off 2017 with a victory, as the Tampa Bay Rays smacked around Masahiro Tanaka for seven runs in an eventual 7-3 victory.

New York’s ace surrendered seven runs on eight hits, two home runs, two walks and only recorded three strikeouts in 2.2 innings of work. Evan Longoria smacked a solo home run off Tanaka in the second, Logan Morrison did the same one inning later and Tommy Layne relieved the 28-year-old after Derek Norris flew out to center in the third.

The bullpen went on to pitch four innings of shutout ball. Layne, Adam Warren, Jonathan Holder and Chasen Shreve combined for seven strikeouts and one while surrendering just five hits.

Yes, the pitching did settle down after Tanaka was pulled, but the offense wasn’t able to get the Yankees back into the game.

Their best shot was when Gary Sanchez battled Rays’ starter Chris Archer with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh. The righty, after a tension-filled at-bat, got Sanchez to ground out to end the inning and despite it being Opening Day, Archer was pumped up after securing the biggest out of the contest.

Starlin Castro had the biggest day for the Yankees offensively, by going 3-for-4 with three singles and a run scored on an Aaron Judge double in the top of the second. He and Chase Headley combined for six hits.

In the top of the ninth, rookie reliever Austin Pruitt got himself into a jam and loaded the bases while trying to slam the door shut, but closer Alex Colome saved the day. The righty, after serving up a sac-fly to Chris Carter, struck out Gary Sanchez and got Greg Bird to fly out to cap off an Opening Day victory.


Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria loves to play against the Yankees, as his home run in the second inning was his 33rd long ball against his American League East foe. That tied him with Blue Jays’ slugger Jose Bautista for most among active players.

Not So Ace-Like On Opening Day:

Tanaka, who finished with the third-best ERA in the American League in 2016, probably isn’t a fan of Opening Day. Or, at least, his performance makes it evident.

After giving up seven earned runs on Sunday, Tanaka’s Opening Day ERA spiked up to 9.49 ERA in three starts. He surrendered two runs in 5.2 innings against the Blue Jays in 2015, four earned runs against the Astros last season and another dud here in 2017.

On the bright side, however, the only Opening Day starters to have worse games for the Yankees was Roger Clemens in 2002 and Mel Stottlemyre in 1973. I’d say they went on to have rather solid careers.

Off On The Wrong Foot: 

With this loss, the Yankees Opening Day road losing streak has been extended to five games. The last time the Bombers wore gray to start the season and win was back in 2006, when they scored 15 runs on 17 hits to defeat the Oakland Athletics 15-2 at McAfee Coliseum.

New York remains winless at Tropicana Field in Opening Day games, as this will be the third loss in as many contests in St. Petersburg.

Worst of all, however, this loss extend the Yankees’ Opening Day losing streak to six games dating back to 2012. That’s a franchise record for the longest Opening Day losing streak, breaking the tie with the 1934-38 Yankees’ teams that dropped five straight games to start the year.

Their last win came on March 31, 2011, when they defeated the Detroit Tigers thanks to a go-ahead solo home run by Curtis Granderson off Phil Coke in the seventh.

Head Scratcher: 

In the top of the first inning, Matt Holliday hit a slow roller to second baseman Brad Miller, who had to go a long way to field the grounder.

The play at first was a bang-bang play and initially ruled an out, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi called for crew chief Jerry Layne and first base umpire Marvin Hudson to take a look.

After review, the play stood as called but it certainly sparked some frustration from the Yankees dugout. You be the judge:

Dropping The Hammer: 

One of the lone bright spots on the afternoon came off the bat of 24-year-old Aaron Judge.

In his first at-bat of 2017 coming off a season in which he struck out in 50 percent of his at-bats, the 6-foot-7 outfielder ripped the first pitch (a 86 mph slider) he saw from Chris Archer and drive it deep to left for an RBI double.

By the end of the inning, the Yankees cut the Rays’ lead down to one, but Archer settled down by retiring 11 of the next 12 batters to make the double a non-factor.

What’s Next? 

After an off-day on Monday, the Yankees and Rays will square off again on Tuesday night in St. Pete. 

Getting the start for New York will be 36-year-old CC Sabathia, who’s coming off his best season since 2012. Over 30 starts last season, the lefty posted a 9-12 record with a 3.91 ERA in 179.2 innings of work.

In 20 career starts in Tampa, the former Cy Young award winner owns a 3.98 with 118 strikeouts compared to 44 walks.

For the Rays, Jake Odorizzi will get the nod coming off a 10-6, 3.69 ERA 2016 campaign. He faced the Yankees three times last season and only gave up five earned runs in 19.2 innings (2.29 ERA).

The YES Network and FOX Sports Sun will call the action at 7:10 p.m. ET or you can catch the contest on your radio on WFAN 660/101.9 FM and WADO 1280. ESNY will also provide you with a full recap following the final out.