Just keep winning series. That's the focus right now and the Yankees locked up their 5th straight with another 1-run win last night. Ivan Nova looked pretty good in his latest start, the offense jumped out early thanks to some pop from the old guys in the 3-4 spots, and the bullpen held on late. That's 3 wins in a row, 5 in the last 6, and 8 in the last 10.
I'd say Nova's early comeback results from TJS have been more than acceptable, and last night was another example of that. He walked the first batter of the game, gave up a 2-run home run to Ryan Flaherty in the top of the 3rd as part of a 3-hit inning, and he walked the first 2 batters of the 5th. Nova also got out of the 1st without allowing any runs, worked 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd, 4th, and 6th, and retired 3 in a row to hold Baltimore scoreless after the 2 5th-inning walks. When all was said and done, he only allowed the 2 Flaherty dinger runs in 6 innings. That's not bad.
And it was enough to win thanks to another customary 1st-inning offensive barrage. Jacoby started the bottom of the 1st off against Kevin Gausman with a double and quickly came around to score on 2015 American League All Star Brett Gardner's RBI single. A-Rod popped out for the first out, but Mark Teixeira picked him up by hitting a 1-2 hanger over the right field fence for a 2-run home run. 13 pitches into the game, 3-0 Yankees. You gotta love that.
Just like you have to love A-Rod homers, which he joined Teix in doing in the 5th inning. With 1 out and nobody on, Alex came up to face Gausman for the third time. Gausman tried to throw him an 0-1 forkball, not a bad idea after A-Rod just took a strike, but he left it right in the middle of the plate and Alex killed it over the left field bullpen and into the bleachers for a solo home run. If the ball was a living thing, he would have been arrested for murder.
The 2-run cushion held up fine for the relief corps. Chasen Shreve retired the 3 O's he faced in order, as did Dellin Betances in a 2-K 8th. Andrew Miller converted another save with a 2-K 9th, although he did give up a Yankee Stadium cheapie home run to Chris Davis with 2 outs. That made the game look closer than it was at that point, but no big deal. Davis hits home runs off of lots of guys. All that matters is that it wasn't a 2-run homer and the Yankees picked up another game in the division.
- 24th HR and 64-65th RBI of the season for Teix. He's a machine.
- Not to mention that he's 9-16 with 4 doubles, 2 HR, and 4 R scored in his last 4 games. Season tripleslash is up to .256/.361/.557.
- 20th HR of the year for A-Rod, marking the first time he's reached that level since 2010.
- Just like Dellin, Chasen Shreve has gotten himself righted after a couple poor outings earlier in the month. 4 scoreless innings with 2 hits and 2 Ks in his last 4 appearances.
- Total line on Nova: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 94 pitches, 57 strikes. It's all there for the typical TJS comeback profile. The stuff is there, the command is not. Nova is clearly still trying to find the feel for all his pitches, but he has been able to generate a lot of GB contact (9 outs on the ground last night) and that's helped make up for the lack of command and swing-and-miss stuff. He had only 4 swings and misses last night compared to 24 foul ball strikes. At the end of the day, you'll always take 6 innings and 2 runs from your starter and that's what Nova gave his team. Once he shakes off the rust and finds his feel again, things could get even better.