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First inning crucial for Yankees

CC Sabathia of the Yankees reacts after starting

CC Sabathia of the Yankees reacts after starting an inning-ending double play in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles. (April 12, 2013) Credit: Mike Stobe

CC Sabathia allowed four runs in the first inning Monday night against the Rays and you could have turned your television off right then. According to the odds, the Yankees weren’t winning that game.

They didn’t, of course, following a trend that has the events of the first inning foreshadowing the fate of the game this season:

- The Yankees have allowed a run in the first inning in nine of their 18 games this season (three multi-run first innings)
- The Yankees are 7-2 when they don’t allow a run in the first
- They’re 3-6 when they allow a run in the first

The Yankees aren’t necessarily alone in their first inning struggles in 2013. But they are one of the worst offenders.

MLB teams have scored 330 runs in the first inning this season, entering Tuesday. That’s the most for any inning. Pitchers are posting a 4.92 ERA during the first frame of a ball game.

The Yankees have allowed 15 runs during the first inning, tied with Pittsburgh for fifth most.

But it gets worse.

Opposing teams have a 1.017 on-base plus slugging percentage against the Yankees during the first inning, the highest in baseball. Their .380 average against and .595 slugging percentage against in the first is the highest in MLB. Their .422 OBP against in the first is the second highest.

By contrast, the team’s offense is a slow starter. The Yankees have scored just five runs in the first inning – tied with Texas for the second worst in baseball, and behind only the dreadful Marlins. The Yankees are hitting .200 with a .316 OBP and .308 slugging in the first. Their .623 OPS is 26th in baseball

Game 1st inning runs Opponent Starter Result
1 0 Red Sox CC Sabathia L
2 1 Red Sox Hiroki Kuroda L
3 0 Red Sox Andy Pettitte W
4 1 Tigers Ivan Nova L
5 1 Tigers Phil Hughes L
6 0 Tigers Sabathia W
7 3 Indians Kuroda W
8 0 Indians Pettitte W
9 0 Orioles Sabathia W
10 1 Orioles Hughes L
11 0 Orioles Kuroda W
12 0 Diamondbacks Nova W
13 2 Diamondbacks Sabathia W
14 0 Diamondbacks Hughes L
15 1 Blue Jays Pettitte W
16 0 Blue Jays Kuroda W
17 1 Blue Jays Nova L
18 4 Rays Sabathia L

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