Commentary

HR aside, Granderson debut rough ride

Night begins with lack of hostility, ends with lack of clutch productivity for new Yankee

Updated: April 5, 2010, 3:35 PM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

When the New York Yankees' team bus pulled up to Fenway Park, Curtis Granderson stared out the window and was let down by Red Sox fans. It was his first Yankees game, his first introduction to the rivalry, and this was it.

"I was little disappointed because I didn't see enough fans out there, giving us the finger or yelling at our bus or anything like that -- especially considering it says 'Yankees' on it," Granderson said after New York lost 9-7 to the Boston Red Sox to open the 2010 season.

[+] EnlargeCurtis Granderson
Elsa/Getty ImagesCurtis Granderson finished 1-for-4 on Sunday.

Granderson's night from then on mirrored his team's. He jumped out of the chute fast before an unsatisfying finish.

In the second inning, he crushed a solo home run in his first Yankees at-bat and made a nice catch against the centerfield wall. He was on his way to earning all the Boston-accented slurs he could ever want.

Then all the offseason questions came to the forefront: Can Granderson hit lefties? Can he replace Johnny Damon's clutch play? The answers -- and, yes, it is only one night -- were no and no.

In the fifth, he faced his first lefty of the season after hitting .183 against them last year. Ex-Met Scott Schoeneweis struck him out swinging.

Granderson got another chance against a lefty in the seventh, walking against Hideki Okajima. But it was the ninth that Granderson could not shake out of his head as he spoke in the cramped visitors clubhouse.

With two outs and the Yankees down two runs, Jorge Posada singled off Jonathan Papelbon to put the tying run at the plate. This allowed Granderson a chance to answer more questions about his game.

Until Granderson proves them wrong, most fans would rather have had Damon up in this spot. Granderson grounded out to third to end the game.

"We want to be victorious, no matter what you did out there. At the end of the day, it will be 'What did the Yankees do?' not what Curtis Granderson did," Granderson said. "And we lost today. I had a chance to keep the inning going, but unfortunately I wasn't able to keep it going."

A little while after Granderson stared from the bus, disappointed there were no one-finger salutes, Yankees manager Joe Girardi talked about what it is like to play in a Yankees-Red Sox game for the first time. He related it to being Joe Torre's bench coach and then moving one seat to the left.

"I could sit in Joe's office as a coach and have an idea what it was like to manage the New York Yankees, but you really don't know exactly what it's like until you go through it," Girardi said.

Granderson went through it for the first time. His night started disappointed and it ended disappointed.

Andrew Marchand covers baseball for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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