Brad Penner | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees began their season with the best Opening Day possible: shutting out the Giants 5-0, plus an Aaron Judge home run.

Thursday’s opener also marked the start of a new era in baseball. Pace of play was on full display from pitch clock to no shifting. There were actual plays and not just home runs, strikeouts, and walks with base hits sprinkled in.

And at the same time, pitching looked no worse than any other day in a great start to the 2023 season.

Some takeaways:

Aces wild. Gerrit Cole vs. Logan Webb delivered as advertised. San Francisco lost but Webb did anything but pitch poorly. The young righty allowed four runs on four hits through six innings, but also struck out 12. Webb also generated 15 swings and misses and sadly lost because of two mistakes to Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres.

But the real star of the show was Cole, making his fourth Opening Day start in pinstripes. The Yankees ace tossed six shutout innings and was near-unhittable. Cole also etched himself deeper into Yankee history. His 11 strikeouts are a new team record for Opening Day.

And the pace played on. Last year, the Yankees opened the season against the rival Red Sox. That game lasted 11 innings and ran three hours and 56 minutes. Opening Day 2023, by comparison, was a mere two hours and 33 minutes.

Take a look at the boxscore and see why. 5-0 isn’t a low scoring game by any mens. This was a well-paced game with two aces in ace form and a small rally in the end. Nothing more, nothing less. It’ll be an adjustment for those of us used to slogs that last three hours or more but at first blush? These rule changes are great for baseball and the formerly shift-burdened Yankees.

Volpe-ning Day. Anthony Volpe took the field for his MLB debut at shortstop at Yankee Stadium and answered with…an 0-for-2 afternoon with a walk. No excitement for a first career hit or home run, no epic curtain call for the fans. Volpe saluted the Bleacher Creatures and still had a solid game and racked up his first career stolen base.

New York’s No. 1 prospect also flashed his glove at key points. He turned a key double play and also got former Yankee Thairo Estrada on a soft grounder to end an inning. His poise in the batter’s box meant great at-bats even without desired results. It’s not a dream MLB debut, but count on Volpe breaking out sooner rather than later.

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Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.