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

Slumbering bats no match for brilliant Haren in first complete-game shutout against Yankees this season

You are not hallucinating. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

What do you get when you mix several players simultaneously slumping, with injuries to what feels like half the lineup, combined with facing two of the top four pitchers in the American League at the outset of a week that featured a game that ended at 2am along with a flight to the west coast and having to play three games in three cities within a three-day span? Apparently something that looks like the current iteration of the rather bruised, exhausted and pretty-hard-to-watch-right-now Yankees, who lost to the Angels 6-0, dropping their fourth game in a row.

Not to take anything away from either Jered Weaver or Dan Haren, who have both had exemplary seasons, but they really got the Yankees at basically the best possible time. That’s not to say they wouldn’t still have been able to contain them, but I’m pretty sure a fully healthy and rested Yankee offense manages more than one run and seven hits over 17 combined innings.… Click here to read the rest

Britton brilliant as Baltimore blanks Bombers 2-0

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

This was the Zach Britton Baltimore’s been waiting for all season.

The young lefthander had the Yankees completely fooled with a filthy two-seamer (Ken Singleton and Michael Kay kept calling it a sinker, but Brooks has it as a two-seamer) that racked up an absurd -3.6007 linear weights, complemented by a superb slider, and hurling seven shutout innings — yielding only four hits, walking one and striking out five — that led the Orioles to a 2-0 shutout of the Yankees, for Baltimore’s season-high sixth straight victory (and the Yankees’ sixth time being shutout in 2011).

Britton was so good he didn’t even allow the Yankees more than one baserunner in any inning,  not allowing a man to reach second base. The outing marked Britton’s second-best by WPA on the 2011 season, and all you can do is tip your cap to the talented youngster, especially after the Yankees trounced him a month ago.… Click here to read the rest

Nova leads Yanks to 3-0 win and series victory over Twins

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Ivan Nova bounced back from his shelling against the Royals last Tuesday as well as any0ne could’ve hoped for, hurling seven shutout innings of five-hit, five-strikeout, one-walk ball against the Twins, leading the Yankees to a 3-0 victory and series win. It was yet another impressive start in a season full of them for the Yankees’ young righthander.

Nova’s finest moment came in the fifth, with the score still 0-0. The Twins put their first two runners on — the second one reached on a fielding miscue between Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher — and Nova was facing a second-and-third, no-out jam. Nova came up huge, striking both Rene Tosoni and Matt Tolbert out on sliders before coaxing an inning-ending groundout out of Drew Butera.

Nova’s slider was his best pitch by far on Sunday, as he generated five swinging strikes out of the 14 he threw, for a whopping 36% whiff rate. Nova worked off his four-seamer, which didn’t get any swinging strikes, and his curve, which he there 19 times and got one swinging strike.… Click here to read the rest

Sabathia hurls best pitching performance of Bombers' season in 1-0 complete game shutout over Rays

B-E-A-S-T (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

CC Sabathia. What else is there to say?

On an afternoon in which James Shields was just as good, matching zero for zero, Sabathia got the better of his fellow AL East ace, hurling a 1-0 complete game shutout with nine strikeouts to secure the series victory against Tampa Bay and send the Yankees into the All-Star break on an important winning note.

Not to take anything away from Shields, who was the hard-luck loser in pitching eight innings of one-unearned-run ball, but Sabathia’s performance was incredible for so many different reasons:

  • It was the big man’s first nine-inning complete-game shutout since May 8, 2009, at Camden Yards. Believe it or not, Sabathia never threw a nine-inning game in 2010 — his longest outing was 8 2/3 innings against the Royals on August 12.
  • At 87, it represented the best Game Score by a Yankee pitcher this season. Bartolo Colon‘s May 30 shutout at Oakland is the second-highest.
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Yankees beat Indians 4-0 in second shutout of season

(AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

The Bartolo Colon Renaissance Tour continued Saturday afternoon for 6 2/3 more brilliant shutout innings before encountering an unfortunate roadblock in a pulled left hamstring. In the postgame Joe Girardi said he didn’t know how long they’d be without Colon until tomorrow, while Brian Cashman said he expected a DL stint. Knowing what we know about hamstrings, this could take a while — while Curtis Granderson got back in a month last May, Phil Hughes took nearly three months to get back in 2007 and Andy Pettitte two months last year. Best-case scenario would obviously be the former, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Colon were on the shelf for closer to two months, which is obviously a pretty significant blow considering that Colon has been the Yankees’ second-best pitcher.

While many expect Cash to go out and get a starter at some point, the pressure is now that much greater. I’d have to imagine Hector Noesi will be given a couple of opportunities to show what he can do as a starter, and we may see a few of other Scranton kids — perhaps D.J.… Click here to read the rest

Colon tosses first Yankee complete-game shutout since May 2009 as Yanks beat A's 5-0

"When you're a boss you're a boss all the way..." (photo c/o Getty)

Bartolo Colon authored the first complete-game shutout by a Yankee pitcher since CC Sabathia did it against the Orioles on May 8, 2009, as the Yankees beat the Athletics 5-0 on Memorial Day. Some of my Twitter pals were teasing me as I’ve been rather obsessed with the fact that the Yankees not only hadn’t yet recorded a shutout in 2011 but were also the only team in MLB not to do so this season prior to this game, but as the complete game has become an increasingly rare feat — not to mention the fact that keeping a Major League Baseball team scoreless for nine innings is perhaps an even more difficult achievement– I can’t help but find it monumentally impressive.

And it becomes that much more impressive when you realize that this was only the Yankees’ third complete-game shutout since 2006 (the third being a Chien-Ming Wang start against the Rays on July 28, 2006).… Click here to read the rest

Beckett dominates Yankees as Boston picks up second win of season

(photo c/o of The AP)

Josh Beckett was outright destructive last night, obliterating the flailing Yankee offense in an outing almost as dominating as his Game 6 series-clinching win in the 2003 World Series (a complete-game shutout, two walks, five hits, nine strikeouts), as he threw an eight-inning two-hit, 10-strikeout shutout (the strikeout total was the most he’s ever had against the Yankees in a regular season game), as the Red Sox beat the Yankees 4-0 to win their first series of the season. As our own William astutely noted on Twitter last night, the Yankees were “reacting like they didn’t think Beckett threw a curve anymore.” Not only was Beckett’s curve outrageous (-2.0043 linear weights, 24 total), but he had four other fantastic pitches and mixed everything up incredibly well, throwing the four-seamer 29 times (-1.7691 linear weights), the changeup 18 times (-1.0284), cutter 18 times (-0.0220) and a nasty two seamer two-seamer (-0.5131) 13 times.

On the flip side, CC Sabathia somehow managed to survive through 5 2/3 innings only giving up one earned run despite having seemingly no command of any of his pitches.… Click here to read the rest

Granderson, Sabathia power Yanks to 5-0 shutout over A's to complete four-game sweep

It’s fun being right.

In Monday’s A’s series preview I wrote “Sabathia should dominate the A’s lineup and I expect the big man to come through once again in this contest.” Obviously this was far from a bold proclamation, but nevertheless it feels good to be validated. And it feels even better in the face of nonsensical comments like this guy’s.

Of course, despite my confident prediction I can’t say I expected CC Sabathia to toss eight innings of one-hit ball, using only 95 pitches to record 24 outs. Sabathia was outrageously good, taking advantage of an incredibly light-hitting A’s team that hit four balls past the infield as the Yankees won their sixth straight game, 5-0. I was a little disappointed that CC didn’t come back out for the ninth given his low pitch count, but I also understand Joe not wanting to needlessly tire the big man out in a game that was all but locked up, while also getting a look at what the team may have in the new-and-improved Jonathan Albaladejo (who pitched a scoreless ninth).… Click here to read the rest