Super Nova! Yankees hurler rebounds, K’s 10 in 5-2 win over Blue Jays

Casey McGehee pummeled his first home run in the top of the fourth inning, a three-run blast that had Yankees’ radio announcer John Sterling yelling “How do you like that, Casey at the bat!” (what did you really expect?). The three run shot put the game out of reach for the Jays, with Nova dealing, and you could pretty much tell that by the fourth inning. There were a few moments of worry for the young pitcher–Rajai Davis was particularly impressive, collecting two hits and two runs, while swiping third base in the bottom of the eigth–but they were nothing he couldn’t handle, especially considering how well he was commanding his breaking arsenal.

Derek Jeter blasted an RBI ground rule double in the top of the sixth inning, putting the Yankees up 5-1–Jayson Nix singled home Teixeira before McGehee homered in the fourth, after which Edwin Encarnacion drove in Davis. Jeter’s drive gave him 150 hits on the year for the 17th consecutive season (yes), tying only Hank Aaron; there aren’t many things that could make Jeter more of a lock to join the hall of fame, but being on a list of two with Hank Aaron certainly won’t hurt the Captain’s candidacy. In all seriousness, Jeter has looked back to his old self for the last couple months–he slumped a bit in June–and he’s batting .355 over seven games in August (not counting today).

But the story of the game should begin and end with Nova: he clearly came in with an aggressive approach, and, despite hitting two batter with fastballs, it seemed to pay off mightily. He came into the game 0-3 with an 8.36 ERA since the All Star break; he had gone 10-3 with a 3.92 ERA in the first half of the season.

No one on the Yankees is asking Nova to come out and strike out ten opposing batters; but they are asking him to win some games, or, at the very least keep the Yankee offense in the game. In his previous five starts he hadn’t done either of those two things; today, he did more than anyone was asking of him.

And for the Yankees, this performance as more than welcome.

  •  Nova was especially effective against Jays center fielder Anthony Gose, who followed Nova’s curve and tumbled into a sombrero, striking out four times in four at-bats. His last K was on a high fastball, which surprised no one.
  • Sterling’s McGehee call was pretty much exactly what I would have expected had I bothered to think about it. But I hadn’t, so I was pleasantly surprised.
  • Ichiro came on as a defensive replacement in the 9th, further underscoring the point I made last week–that his value is tied to his defense.
  • Obviously, that value would be greater if he were to start games, but I can’t complain about Andruw Jones’s offensive production.
  • Some members of the press spent most of the game making lighthearted jokes about Canada on Twitter; I particularly liked Newark Star-Ledger beat writer Marc Craig’s persistent use of the word “selloot”.
  • The Jays did manage to selloot their stadium. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times found it hilarious that Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Loup pronounces his name “loop” (“oh, Canada”).
  • The Yankee bullpen was good–they seemed to slip up around the same time that all of their teammates were slipping up, and it looks like they’re back on track.
  • CC Sabathia might have had–or might soon have–a cortisone shot in his elbow. Yes, this is bad. I’ll be following this story more in the coming hours.