Though one game doesn’t make or break a season, the New York Yankees are feeling pretty good about themselves right now.
Coming off a convincing win in their opener, the Yankees will get their first look at right-hander Carl Pavano when they continue their season-opening three-game series with the world champion Boston Red Sox.
In the teams’ first meeting since the Red Sox’s unprecedented comeback in last year’s AL championship series, the Yankees exacted a small measure of revenge, pounding ex-Bronx Bomber David Wells and getting three hits and three RBIs from Hideki Matsui in a 9-2 win on Sunday night.
Following Monday’s off day, the teams will get back at it on Tuesday with free agent Pavano taking the mound against right-hander Matt Clement, whom the Red Sox signed to a long-term deal in the offseason.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said he expects Pavano to make a nice first impression on the Bronx faithful, much like Randy Johnson did on Sunday.
“Pavano is really, gradually, becoming an impressive pitcher,” Torre said. “He was at the top of my list (in the offseason).”
Pavano, who signed a $39.95 million, four-year contract, is honored to be in New York.
“You walk through these doors and think about some of the guys that have come through this stadium on opening day,” Pavano said. “That’s pretty exciting to be part of. You think of all the things that have been accomplished in this stadium over the years, the history, the tradition.”
The Red Sox signed Clement to a $25.5 million, three-year contract to help offset losing free agents Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe. Making his first start at Yankee Stadium for Boston will complete a sort of boyhood-dream trifecta for the former Chicago Cub.
“It’s one of the three places I wanted to get to when I was drafted—here, Wrigley and Fenway” Clement said Sunday.
Clement will be banking on a big afternoon from the vaunted Red Sox lineup, which was held in check by Johnson on Sunday.
“We accept the fact that we really weren’t that good (Sunday),” said center fielder Johnny Damon, who was 0-for-4 with a strikeout. “We’ll get better. We’ll start on Tuesday. We can get over this game. The close games that you lose by a mistake here or a run, those are a little tougher to take.”