Game 24: Statues in the Infield and Outfield

Through his first four starts, Ivan Nova has found himself as the poster boy for the “regression to the mean” debate. To some, his unsightly 5.18 ERA – which ranks third on the team among starters, by the way – and 1.48 HR/9 are demonstrative of his youth, or inconsistency, or lack of talent, or whatever reason one feels appropriate to explain away generally poor face value numbers. To others, Nova’s stellar 9.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, and 3.15 xFIP, coupled with a sky-high .421 BABIP and uncharacteristically high HR/FB (sitting at 14.8%) portend future success … and hopefully sooner, rather than later. Which side is correct?

In reality … neither. Yes, Nova’s ERA is likely to decrease, as his underlying performance has been quite strong – though, it should be noted that his groundball numbers are way down, from 52.7% last year to 42.5% thus far. Yes, many of those liners and bloopers that have led to high hit totals will find gloves next time around. However, Nova has also been hit pretty freaking hard thus far, allowing roughly 23.8% line drives (more than 5% above the past two years) and 33.8% fly balls (also 5% above the norm). FIP and xFIP do not quite adjust for this, so the true performance of Nova – that is, the performance our expectations should be predicated upon – lies somewhere in between.

In the field, it is quite a relief to see only one of Ibanez and Nunez roaming the outfield, and it is very nice of good ol’ Buck to start Mark Reynolds at the hot corner – a fine way to prod Mark Teixeira to go the other way.

Onto the line-ups:

Baltimore Orioles New York Yankees
Endy Chavez, LF Derek Jeter, SS
J.J. Hardy, SS Curtis Granderson, CF
Nick Markakis, RF Alex Rodriguez, DH
Adam Jones, CF Robinson Cano, 2B
Matt Wieters, C Mark Teixeira, 1B
Chris Davis, 1B Raul Ibanez, RF
Nick Johnson, DH Eric Chavez, 3B
Mark Reynolds, 3B Andruw Jones, LF
Robert Andino, 2B Russell Martin, C
Jake Arrieta, SP Ivan Nova, SP

The first pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm, on YES and ESPN – let’s go Yankees!

About Domenic Lanza

Domenic is a staff writer for It's About the Money, and the host of the It's About the Money Stupid podcast. By day, he is a mild-mannered real estate attorney on Long Island, and an aspiring intellectual degenerate.

21 thoughts on “Game 24: Statues in the Infield and Outfield

  1. Their defense is terrible. They need to get a slick-fielding infield backup.

    • Maybe The Stick can make a comeback! I’d like to see that, but for some reason Girardi has a man-crush on Nunez.

  2. I guess that’s possible. I had problems with college level prob & stats. Maybe because when the prof asked who you get when you and apples & oranges I answered “fruit salad.”

  3. Nova is in one of those steaks that defies metrics……15 consecutive wins. That can’t go on forever and that scares me every time he pitches now.

  4. Yeah, great pitching. But Jeter should have had that grounder. Cost Nova an extra 9 or 10 pitches.

  5. Could Jeter have gotten Andino at 1st? I’m watching on ESPN, Nomar said no, but they never showed an angle to prove or disprove.

  6. They don’t get this starting pitching straightened out fast, it’s going to be a lost season.

    • I think it will come around. But it’s tough when the pitching stinks and the hitting is terrible.