Nova Solid In Yanks 4-3 Win

After a solid opening weekend of taking two out of three from the Tigers capped off by a not-so-good performance from number three starter Phil Hughes, the Yankees weren’t sure what they would get from Ivan Nova tonight.  Nova would be making his 2011 debut and his first start as a definite starter.  In the end, the Yanks prevailed by a score of 4-3.

Nova was solid in his 2011 regular season debut. (Antonelli/News)

Last season, when Nova came up, he was known as a guy who would fly through four innings, but once he faced the opposing lineup the second or third time, he was toast.  This description is a good summary of how he pitched tonight, but to a lesser extent.

Nova’s final line was three runs on six hits, one walk, and three strikeouts in six innings of work.  To add on to it, he only threw 83 pitches, 50 of which were in for strikes.  He had a no hitter with two outs in the fourth until the Twins strung together some hits and scored their first two runs.  This was a very solid outing from Ivan, one the Yankees would take every time he takes the rubber.

What helped Nova earn his first win was ‘the formula.’  The original formula was from 1996 when Joe Torre would use Mariano Rivera for the seventh and/or eighth innings and John Wetteland for the ninth.  This shortened games up and the Bombers barely gave up leads after the sixth.  Well, the newer formula is Joba Chamberlain for the seventh, Rafael Soriano for the eighth, and Mo for the ninth.  The three of them threw three scoreless innings and held on to the Yanks third win.

In the early going, it looked like it was going to be another slugfest for the Yankee offense against Scott Baker.  In the first, Alex Rodriguez hit a 2-run home run to make it 2-0.  In the following inning, Jorge Posada added his third homer in two games to make it 4-0 at the time.  This would be it though as Baker was able to settle down and pitch pretty well.  Unfortunately, Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter continued their slumping ways by going a combined 0 for 7.

(Kathy Willens/AP Photo)

It was definitely a good start to the first four game series of the year for the Yankees.  Tomorrow, we will finally get to see the other half of the platoon with Jeter leading off and Nick Swisher batting second against the lefty Brian Duensing.  The Yanks will be sending out a left of their own in CC Sabathia whom they have moved up in the rotation so he can pitch on regular rest.  It will be a 7:05 first pitch on YES.

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