I don't know what number game it is anymore. I guess that's what I get for not writing consistent game recaps. Last night was an important one though, as important as any mid-March game can be, so we'll get back on the recap horse this morning. It was the Yankees' first game under the lights in 2016, they were facing their hated blood rival the Red Sox, and they picked up a victory behind a mostly good team pitching performance and an 8th-inning offensive breakout. - Ivan Nova made the start and I thought he looked really solid in his 4 innings of work. His fastball had good life and he kept it out of the middle of the plate, and his offspeed stuff looked as sharp as I remember seeing it at any time in the last few years. The Sox got to him for a run on 2 base hits and a ribbie GIDP in the bottom of the 1st and then he locked them down. Strong outing for Nova.
- The Yankees didn't wait long to get their run back. Aaron Hicks came up to face Boston starter David Price for the second time and he muscled a 1-1 hanger out over the right-center field fence for a solo shot. Having never seen Hicks' power before, I was impressed. If that's how he's going to hit against lefties, I'm cool with it.
- Joe went with a shorter pitching staff last night, sending Bryan Mitchell in for 3 innings after Nova's 4. Mitchell's stuff also looked really good to me and he didn't allow a run or a walk while he was out there. It has to be said that he was pitching against lesser competition after Boston started pulling starters, but he still looked good.
- Dustin Ackley was back in the lineup and he didn't show any ill effects of the quad tightness that kept him out over the weekend. He went 2-3 with 2 sharp singles up the middle.
- The Yanks put the game away with a 5-run barrage in the top of the 8th. There was a little bit of everything to the rally and the big hits were a 2-run single by Cesar Puello and 2-run double down the left field line off the bat of Cito Culver (for real). The best part about it was that it came against Robbie Ross Jr., a member of the big league bullpen.
- As smooth as the sailing was for Nova and Mitchell, the Nicks certainly made things interesting in the 8th and 9th. Rumbelow and Goody combined to give up 2 runs on 7 hits in their 2 innings and the back end bullpen competition continues to be wiiiide open.