Nova hurls another gem as Yanks shut Rays out 5-0

Ivan Nova, welcoming me back to Yankee Stadium for the first time in over five months in style. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

For all of the success Ivan Nova has had this season, I’m amazed I haven’t read more about the fact that this was a player the Yankees didn’t even protect in the 2008 Rule V draft, and who they nearly lost to San Diego for chump change until the Padres apparently decided he wasn’t good enough for them.

Nova continued to show why he’ll almost certainly be getting the ball in Game  2 of the ALDS, firing 7 2/3 shutout innings — tied for his second-longest outing of the season — against the Rays and leading the Yankees to a 5-0 victory. The outing — in which Nova gave up six hits, walked three and struck three men out — was Nova’s 5th-best of the season by Game Score (67), and also tied for best Game Score of any member of the Yankee rotation in the month of September (CC Sabathia put up a 67 on September 4 against Toronto and Bartolo Colon also did it September 9 against the Angels), although he appeared poised to turn in arguably his best start ever, if not for a Casey Kotchman two-out walk in the eighth.… Click here to read the rest

Rangers throttle Yankees for third straight game; 10-3 win puts Bombers on brink of elimination

Game 4 of the 2010 American League Championship Series was basically a microcosm of everything that went wrong for the Yankees at one point or another this season: A.J. Burnett had a lousy start (though was actually one out away from a surprisingly fantastic start), the offense excruciatingly squandered a seemingly earth-shattering number of opportunities to score runs and the bullpen threw gasoline on a fire, as the Rangers beat the Yankees 10-3 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

This was the fourth straight game in which the Rangers thoroughly outplayed the Yankees, and save for that miraculous eighth inning in Game 1, would’ve represented a decisive sweep by Texas. The Rangers have led in a ridiculous 30 of the 36 innings the two teams have played, and have run out to a four run-plus lead at one point or another in all four games. Texas has scored a whopping 30 runs, for an absurd 7.5 runs per game. This has been a postseason ass-whupping the likes of which the Yankees really haven’t seen since the 2002 ALDS against the Angels, who scored 7.8 runs per game in their four-game obliteration of the Bombers while hitting .376/.406/.624 (though Cleveland did hit .315/.417/.524 in the 2007 ALDS).… Click here to read the rest

Hughes brilliant in first career postseason start, tosses seven shutout innings as Yankees sweep Twins in ALDS for second straight year

So that Phil Hughes kid can pitch a little bit, eh?

Phil was everything the Yankees could’ve hoped for and more in his first career postseason start and the Yankees’ 6-1 American League Division Series Game 3 clinching victory, tossing seven shutout innings of four-hit, six strikeout ball. Hughes was actually perfect through three before surrendering a leadoff base hit to Denard Span, but Span was quickly erased by a double play. In what was his third-best outing of the season in terms of WPA — .294 — Hughes came up aces, turning in the best outing of the Yankees’ three starters (who would’ve thought CC Sabathia would record the shakiest turn?) and significantly easing fears that the team’s playoff rotation was “Sabathia and pray for rain.”

On the offensive side of the ledger the Yankees attacked early and often, getting on the board in the second inning after Jorge Posada knocked in Robinson Cano — who had tripled — with two outs; in the third after a Mark Teixeria knocked a Nick Swisher double in; and in the fourth, on a Marcus Thames two-run bomb to right-center that put the Yankees ahead 4-0 and may well have been the kill shot to the Twins’ 2010 season.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees finally topple Shields on strength of rare five-run first inning as Hughes authors first quality start in a month

The Yankees jumped on James Shields early, knocking the enigmatic righty around for five runs in the first inning on their way to an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay. Believe it or not the Yankees actually do have one other five-run first inning under their belts this season, coming against Daisuke Matsuzaka in the wild 11-9 walk-off win against the Red Sox on May 17.

Any time you’re able to hang a five spot on anyone — let alone a pitcher like Shields that has really stymied the Yankees all season long despite being pretty mediocre against everyone else — you have to feel pretty good about the likelihood of your team taking the game, and indeed the Yankees had a ridiculous 88.8% chance of winning after Curtis Granderson knocked in the fifth run of the first inning.

Phil Hughes labored a bit through the first four innings before finishing strongly, going 6 1/3 and ultimately giving up three earned runs, though the third was an inherited runner Javier Vazquez allowed to score.… Click here to read the rest

Arrieta dominant as O's take first series of year from Yanks, on cusp of first sweep at Stadium since 1986

You had to figure CC Sabathia was due for a clunker at home at some point. As wonderful as he is at pitching, even the best have their off nights. Unfortunately Sabathia’s first loss at home since July 19, 2009 — well over a year — coincided with Jake Arrieta‘s second straight dazzling start and win over the Yankees. I wonder how many rookies have won their first two starts against the Yankees? I can’t imagine the list is terribly long. As noted in the Series Preview, with Brian Matusz, Jeremy Guthrie and Arrieta leading the way Baltimore is unlikely to play Yankee patsy for too much longer.

Incredibly, the Orioles wound up scoring all the runs they needed before Sabathia recorded an out in the top of the first, as the first five Orioles reached base safely on four singles and a walk to take a 3-0 lead. A three-run deficit with the entire game to play certainly felt more than surmountable, and sure enough the Yanks got one back in the first inning on a Robinson Cano RBI single.… Click here to read the rest

I'm definitely overdue on adding that "Sabathia 52" name-and-number tee to my collection

Not to mention the fact that I’ve been mulling plunking down the $200 or so for an authentic Majestic Yankees road jersey, only I wasn’t entirely certain who I wanted to spend that much money on. Of course the answer’s been in front of me the entire time.

And so it went, as the Yankees defeated the Tigers 6-2 behind seven strong innings (and nine strikeouts) from the unflappably awesome CC Sabathia and a scoreless inning apiece from David Robertson and the aforelinked deity known as Mariano Rivera.

Things began somewhat bizarrely, as Austin Jackson lifted the first pitch of the game into the seats for only his second career home run, putting the Yankees in a 1-0 hole literally as quickly as possible. The Yankees were able to answer with two of their own in the bottom of the 1st against an exceptionally wild Justin Verlander. Verlander would settle down somewhat, but having thrown more than 60(!) pitches before the second inning ending you knew his night was going to end early.… Click here to read the rest

Tex slam lifts Yanks into first; BoSox right behind

Mark Teixeira hit his first grand slam as a New York Yankee en route to a 4-0 win over the Mets, as the 2010 Subway Series ended in a draw for the sixth time. The Yankees’ win combined with another Tampa Bay loss gave the Yankees sole possession of first place for the first time since April 21. However, the Red Sox won their sixth straight — during which time the Yankees went 3-3 — and are now tied for second with the Rays and one game out of first place themselves.

I’d just like to go off on the National League for a quick second: Boston is now 10-2 against you on the year, and in typical Boston fashion is not going to lose again for the rest of 2010. Thanks for coming out, Arizona and Los Angeles. Really spectacular work you’re doing over there in the NL West. And you know the Diamondbacks are going to come to play against the Yankees this week despite completely rolling over and dying for the Sox.… Click here to read the rest

Moyer morphs into Halladay; holds Bombers to three hits over eight innings while Burnett throws third-worst start of Yankee season

I thought the Yankees faced Roy Halladay on Tuesday night, not yesterday.

Somehow old man Jamie Moyer completely stifled the Yankee offense with his “devastating” array of slow-pitch garbage, limiting the Bombers to two runs (both on solo home runs from Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada) on a measly three hits over eight innings, as the Phillies won 6-3.

Both Mike and I were at the game, and so we thought we’d try to do a tag-team recap. Here goes:

Larry: So how about A.J. Burnett? I’m starting to feel pretty embarrassed about that gushing piece I wrote about A.J. back in May. Burnett has been highly ineffective since May 4, with only two quality starts over his last eight outings, and last night was just terrible. Six runs in only 3 1/3 innings with four walks, which raised his ERA nearly half a run from 3.86 to 4.33. He loaded the bases in the bottom of the 2nd and allowed the 7-8-9 hitters in Philly’s lineup to all reach base before yielding a bases-clearing triple to Shane Victorino.

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History doesn't repeat itself on June 11 as the Yanks beat Houston 4-3

The Yankees disposed of the Astros 4-3 in what was easily the fastest game I’ve ever been to — as Mariano Rivera threw the last pitch of the night to ring up Jason Michaels, the clock barely struck 9:30pm. A Yankee game that was over before 10pm? Suzyn, you can’t predict baseball!

The Yankees went to work early on Brett Myers, scoring three runs in the first — thankfully ensuring they wouldn’t get no-hit by Houston again — and it’s a good thing they did because they could barely touch him for the remainder of the game. Barely anything else at this game stood out to me, primarily because we were celebrating my buddy Dave’s bachelor party so I was certainly more sauced than usual at the Stadium.

In pitching 7 1/3 innings of two-earned-run ball, Pettitte picked up his 200th win as a Yankee and managed to lower his ERA by 0.01.

And in more good news, apparently Alex Rodriguez‘s hip injury isn’t terribly serious, and it sounds like he’ll return to the lineup no later than Tuesday against Philadelphia.

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