(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) I was really looking forward to this post. I was fully prepared to write a Kate Hudson in “Almost Famous”-style, “it’s all happening” post about the recent turnaround and positive momentum the Yankees were building at the right time as they headed into the final [...]
Ivan Nova hasn’t been very good in his previous two starts. Okay, that’s an understatement: he hasn’t been very good all season. The ground ball machine who avoided giving up the big hits we saw last year is gone, replaced by a pitcher who gives out extra base hits like paper bags at a Cleveland Browns’ game and has easily been the Yankees’ worst starter this year, non-Freddy Garcia division. That Nova won’t be on the team’s postseason roster would seem to be a given this point, but the youngster is scheduled for one more start before the regular season ends; in the 161st game of the season. That fact prompted Joel Sherman to ask a very pertinent question this morning: If that game matters to the A.L. East race, the Yankees certainly can’t send Nova to the mound to start it, can they?
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This past Monday, I published a post that took a
fuzzy logic (ahem) educated and experienced look at the week ahead. Call it a bit more educated than a crystal ball approach to looking at what could happen over a period of time. That post covered the week days and all went according to script except for the game the Yankees blew on the night that Phil Hughes started. The loss last night to Brandon Morrow was correctly predicted as well. Following that post is this one as the New York Yankees head into the weekend with a slim one game lead in the American League East with the Rays winning every game and the Orioles doing the same. This is the last weekend of the regular season and the Yankees will finish up with three games at home against the Red Sox starting on Monday. This weekend will determine a lot about what the Yankees are going to have to do against those Red Sox. In other words, every game is crucial.
The weekend, of course, will be held in Toronto. The Blue Jays took a couple of games from the Orioles earlier in the week and are enjoying their spoiler role. Heck, when your team is out of things and have been for more than a month, such contests are the only exciting thing happening as the season winds down. So let’s take a look at the next three days and see what we can see.
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Perhaps the only bright spot in last night’s game was David Aardsma‘s return to the mound after two years recovering from Tommy John surgery. As fans, it wasn’t exactly what we all hoped for, J.P. Arencibia homered on the first pitch he saw, but there was also plenty to like. At points, we witnessed some [...]
Though he hasn’t been cleared to hit in games yet, Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi indicated that Brett Gardner could still make the team’s postseason roster (assuming they make the tournament) as a pinch runner and defensive replacement, with his addition meaning that the team would carry one fewer pitcher. Girardi noted that the Yankees did basically the same thing with Freddy Guzman in 2009, though a) Guzman wasn’t physically unable to hit due to injury and b) the team had resolved to use a three man rotation for the duration of that postseason, so they had an extra spot for a limited action position player. Still, considering the boost Gardner could give the team in a crucial spot even in such a limited role, it’s probably worth at least considering taking him over, say, Cody Eppley.
In other injury news, Mark Teixeira participated in an instructional game in Tampa yesterday, playing an inning in the field and running at about 75 to 80 percent according to Mark Newman. Tex is slated to play in another such game soon, and so far no one is putting any sort of timetable on his return, noting that it’s running the bases that will really determine when the Yankees’ first baseman is ready to return to the lineup. With less than a week left in the regular season though, there obviously isn’t a lot of time for Tex to come back and make an impact this season.
While the Orioles had the day off, the Yankees had a chance to get a little more breathing room in the AL East. Instead, Ivan Nova put forth another uninspiring start, while the Yankees struggled to find their offense. Brandon Morrow gave the Blue Jays a nice start, giving up just four hits and three walks over seven innings of work. Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Lawrie provided plenty of offense for Toronto who took the win.
Both teams struggled to get hits early in the game, but the Blue Jays took the lead in the third. With one out, Ivan Nova walked Anthony Gose and on the next pitch gave up a two-run homer to Lawrie, giving Toronto a 2-0 lead. The Blue Jays doubled their lead in the fifth. Gose lined a single to center and moved to second on a ground out by Lawrie. Colby Rasmus bunted for a single, putting runners on the corners and Encarnacion lined a double to right and Toronto took a 4-0 edge.
The Yankee had a chance to get on the board in the top of the seventh. Robinson Cano grounded a double to left to start the inning and Nick Swisher drew a walk. Unfortunately, Curtis Granderson struck out and Russell Martin and Raul Ibanez both flew out, failing to bring a run across the plate. Toronto quickly took advantage, as Lawrie and Rasmus hit back-to-back singles and Lawrie scored on a ground out by Encarnacion. J.P. Arencibia hit a solo homer in the eighth, putting the Blue Jays ahead 6-0. Once again, the Yankees had an opportunity to score in the top of the ninth. Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and Cano singled, putting two on with no outs. Swisher, Granderson and Martin each flew out in order, however, ending the game with the Yankees losing 6-0.
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The best pitcher in the world, according to his own words, Ivan Nova, had another stellar outing tonight. Oh, did I say stellar? I actually meant another “s” word that I probably shouldn’t post on this blog so I’ll be nice (replace the “m” in smitty and you have that word). Nova allowed four runs [...]
Apologies for the late post, between some last minute meetings and an uncooperative computer/phone I was just able to get this posted. Here are the lineups for the game, Rodriguez is batting third at DH and Jayson Nix is playing third and batting ninth.
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter SS
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez LF
Jayson Nix 3B
SP Ivan Nova
Toronto Blue Jays
Brett Lawrie 3B
Colby Rasmus CF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Yunel Escobar SS
Adam Lind 1B
J.P. Arencibia C
Kelly Johnson 2B
Moises Sierra RF
Anthony Gose LF
SP Brandon Morrow
Ivan Nova’s last start was awful awful awful. I don’t foresee him as a postseason starter, that’s already in the hands of Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte, and Hughes, but he still has plenty to prove. If he’s not on his game tonight, he might miss the postseason roster altogether, and I think there’s a legitimate chance [...]