Take that big sigh of relief you’ve been holding onto all winter, folks. Yankees Opening Day is officially here. And instead of having to watch Aaron Judge take the field at Yankee Stadium as a member of the San Francisco Giants, he’ll be (once again) doing it in pinstripes.
Thursday begins the six-month marathon towards October. While there are some out there thinking New York could disappoint in 2023, there are plenty thinking they’ll dominate again.
What happens on Opening Day doesn’t determine how a season will ultimately go, of course. A squad can get torched by 15 runs and eventually win the World Series. On the other hand, a team can throw a perfect game and end up in last place by the time September rolls around.
But still, there’s no baseball player or team in history who wouldn’t take a W on Opening Day. Especially with all the pomp and circumstance that comes with being the home team. As an organization, the Yankees have been around since 1903. So, they’ve encountered their fair share of Opening Day games. To their credit, the first game of a new season typically goes well for them.
Their .563 winning percentage on Opening Day is among the best in baseball (they’re 67-52-1). But since 2012, the Bombers are just 4-7. Jomboy’s Talkin’ Yanks uncovered one constant throughout all of those victories: New York slugged a first-inning home run.
Since 2012, the Yankees are 4-0 on Opening Day when they hit a first inning home run. They're 0-7 when they don't pic.twitter.com/TL8EUDYDc8
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) March 26, 2023
Coincidentally enough, all four of these occurrences have come since 2018. Check it out:
- 2018: Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the top of the first against the Blue Jays in his first plate appearance as a Yankee.
- 2019: Luke Voit slugged a three-run dinger that scored Judge and Stanton against the Orioles.
- 2020: Stanton struck again with another two-run shot, this time off then-Nationals ace Max Scherzer.
- 2022: Anthony Rizzo got New York on the board against the Red Sox with a solo home run.
So, it’s pretty simple — go deep in the first inning and good things typically happen in Game 1 for the Yankees. They’ll have a good shot at accomplishing this. After all, the potential top four hitters in the lineup will probably be D.J. LeMahieu, Judge, Rizzo, and Stanton.
MORE ON ESNY:
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• Opening Day power rankings roundup: Where do Yankees, Mets land?
• Daniel Murphy going from Mets Old Timers’ Day to Long Island Ducks
• Yankees could get rewarded in MLB Draft by promoting Anthony Volpe
• Giants’ John Mara rips TNF flex scheduling proposal, calls it ‘abusive’
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.