By the end, it was raining and the temperature had dropped and garbage was whipping around the field, a wonderful metaphor for the junk the Yankees offered on Opening Day.

Fans fled in the ninth inning as if somehow the stench of Red Sox 8, Yankees 2 could be removed if they just got outside the Stadium quickly enough.

For a franchise worried about the state of a decaying roster and the potential for plummeting attendance, there hardly could have been a worse conclusion for Day 1 of a new season. Unless it was Joe Girardi citing it being a “school night” as an excuse for why no one was in the stands for a game that ended at 4:47 p.m.

Maybe it was just a reminder that there was no Five O’Clock Lightning — and there may not be this year. So many bemoaned the Yankees’ long-ball addiction in 2012. But while those pesky homers fled in the offseason, the strikeouts (10) and clutch deficiencies (2-for-16 with men on base) remained — but without a one-swing antidote.

But the Yankees’ power outage has been covered like Matt Lauer’s saga at “Today,” which is to say there were no surprises yesterday. Which is why the real worry was about the lack of power elsewhere — namely in CC Sabathia’s left arm.

The Yankees’ best-laid plans to compensate for offensive impotence, especially during the first quarter of the season while Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira — the Yankees hope — complete their rehab from arm and wrist injuries, respectively, is to rely on their pitching.

And within that strategy, there simply is no one more important than Sabathia, whose familiar velocity — unlike the fans — never showed up at all.

Look, this very well could have been about one particularly bad inning (a four-run second) in what has now become an uninspiring first-game pattern for Sabathia. He has started five Yankees season openers, never won and pitched to a 7.42 ERA. That he is arguably the greatest free-agent signing in Yankees history screams that he recovered each of the previous four times to be sensational.