Timing is everything. The law of averages says that the Yankees were going to suffer through consecutive bad starts from CC Sabathia and Chien-Ming Wang at some point this season. It also says that Mark Teixeira is going to have a pair of bad games. From a public relations standpoint, it would be a lot easier if those starts came in games 71 and 72 instead of games one and two.
From an actual baseball perspective, though, the difference is negligible. Lots of teams start 0-2 and wind up just fine. The Phillies somehow managed to right the ship and win the World Series last year. The last Yankee team to start on their way to sure disaster was the 1998 squad. They, of course lost just 46 more times all season, and, just for the record, lost their third game as well. These Yankees aren't those Yankees, but they aren't the 1962 Mets either.
The first two games haven't been without their bright spots. Robinson Cano drew two walks on Opening Day and has looked a lot more focused at the plate over his nine plate appearances. Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada both homered in the opener, a good sign following their extended 2008 convalesence. And Derek Jeter popped a long ball yesterday, a flash of the power that was missing far too often last season.
The bullpen threw four and a third shutout innings on Tuesday night, following a mostly strong performance on Monday. Phil Coke gave up a controversial home run to Cesar Izturis which helped extend an inning that Brian Bruney made worse. They've gotten everyone but Mariano Rivera into a game already, though, and the results have been decent enough given how many innings they've had to throw.
It may sound a bit pollyannaish to look on the bright side of two straight losses, but it's awfully Chicken Little-ish to scream that the whole season is on the brink because the Yankees lost their first two games. The plane has yet to hit the side of the mountain, even if the first two days haven't gone to anyone's liking.
Still, it would help if A.J. Burnett tosses a gem Thursday afternoon.