Nova, Yankees down Rays 5-3

So I liked what Brien did last night recapping the game, so I’m going to follow his style. Let’s break it up!

The Objectively Good

  • Ivan Nova’s command. Normally, it takes at least a couple of starts to get back into the rhythm of starting pitching, but Nova jumped right back on the horse, and spotted the ball perfectly tonight. I rarely saw him miss his spots entirely (sure, he left one out there for Evan Longoria in the 6th, but, well, a mistake to Longoria is a homer; a mistake to others might be a foul ball…though I’m not sure that’s making my point). Anyways, the point is that he looked sharp–much sharper than I expected. I wonder if the shoulder injury that kept him out for the last month is something that we could at least think about retroactively applying to some of his catastrophic starts before he was shut down–that is, maybe his 4.50-plus ERA isn’t something to be too worried about.
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Yankees rock Orioles 13-3 as Grandy, Jeter go yard; AL East lead back to 1

  • Freddy was steady…ish; the bullpen was ready. Freddy looked like he would give back the 5-0 Yankee lead in the bottom of the 4th inning, giving up a two-run double to Wilson Betemit (yes), and an RBI single to Matt Weiters–and that was that, Girardi promptly replaced him with Joba Chamberlain, who struck out Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis to end the threat. The ‘pen locked down the O’s after that, with Joba (who got the win) giving way to Boone Logan in the 6th, who gave way to Corey Wade in the 7th, who gave the ball to Derek Lowe in the 9th. It was a fantastic job all-around for the pen–and Robertson and Soriano didn’t even get in the game.
  • Joe Girardi had been looking for something that would wake up his team, and he may have found that tonight–though I’m not exactly sure what it is. Girardi is a bit like a doctor who can’t figure out what’s wrong with his patient: but instead of slowly trying one medicine at a time (or even really trying to find out what the disease is), he threw all the medicine in the store at the patient.
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Walks, bullpen help Yankees grab important 4-3 win over Orioles

This wasn’t a giving up two grand slams type of explosive unravelling; no, it was a slow, sadistic burn, as pitcher after pitcher couldn’t find the strike zone–with two outs. First Chen–who recorded the first two outs of the inning, and allowed a run to score on Eduardo Nunez’s single–then Pedro Stop walked Yankee after Yankee, finally setting the stage for Derek Jeter. Strop had previously walked Ichiro Suzuki to load the bases–the Orioles led 3-2 at this point–and was clearly pressing with Jeter. He could not find his fastball–it was hitting 97, 98 on the gun, but he had no idea where it was going–and he was clearly worried that Jeter was expecting his breaking stuff. The count ran to 3-2, and, with the whole Stadium on its feet, Strop tossed a fastball that ran in.

It was one of the more exciting walks I can remember.

Jayson Nix came trotting home to tie the score, Eduardo Nunez moved over to third, and the Yankees were suddenly in charge.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees do the little things, beat Indians 4-2

Girardi called on Boone Logan, and the lefty sidewinder obliged, getting Brantley to ground out to end the inning. In baseball terms, yanking your pitcher when he has a lead one out before he gets an official game could be taken badly; but Girardi clearly wanted a win today–which signifies a series victory over the Indians–and felt very strongly about it. After Logan ran into some trouble in the seventh, Girardi didn’t call on Joba Chamberlain or Cody Eppley–he immediately went to David Robertson, who neatly extricated the bombers from the jam.

And when David Robertson allowed a single with two outs in the eighth, Girardi didn’t think twice about going to closer Rafael Soriano for the last out. Admittedly, that move almost didn’t work out, as Matt LaPorta drove Soriano’s first pitch deep to left field; but Ichiro Suzuki (aren’t you glad he was out there and not Raul Ibanez?) ran down the blast, and made a leaping catch against the wall to rob LaPorta of an extra base hit–while saving Soriano and Girardi.… Click here to read the rest