Nova, Grandy Shine In 5-2 WinPosted: May 1, 2011
Today’s game was a big one for the Yankees because it was not only the rubber game of their weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays, but also their rubber game for the home stand as they sat at 3-3 for the week. Ivan Nova took the mound for the Yanks while the Jays would send out Jesse Litsch. New York would take clean game by a score of 5-2.
Today was a tail of two games for Ivan Nova. In the beginning of the game, he did not have a lot of control over his fastball. He was leaving up out of the zone and because of it was falling behind hitters. He gave up an early homer to Adam Lind in the second which was a pretty cheap one as it hit the bottom part of the foul pole. He then allowed on in the third on an RBI ground out from Jose Bautista, but that would be it.
After the home run especially, it seemed like Nova made a few adjustments. He started to get away from his heater and went to his curveball a little more (the pitch that made him effective in his last start). He was then able to feel out his fastball and it all came together for him later on. His final line was 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K while throwing a career-high 100 pitches (60 strikes). It looks like he responded well to the news of Kevin Millwood opting out.
As he usually does when going to the bullpen in the middle of the seventh inning, Joe Girardi went to David Robertson to relieve Nova with a runner on first and one out. He struck out Yunel Escobar, but walked Bautista which led to Boone Logan being brought in to get the lefty-swinging Adam Lind. After that, it was what you would expect with Rafael Soriano pitching a hitless eighth and than Mariano Rivera hurling a 9-pitch, 1-2-3 ninth to earn his tenth save.
The Yankee offense was highlighted by a first inning solo job by Mark Teixeira and a 3-run shot by Curtis Granderson, the latter breaking a 2-2 tie. Francisco Cervelli contributed a sac bunt and an RBI ground in his 2011 debut. It looks as though he will be Ivan Nova’s personal catcher.
Other things worth noting are that Jorge Posada went 1-for-3 which ended an 0-for-19 skid and Brett Gardner went 1-for-1 with two walks and has reached base in eleven of his last fifteen plate appearances and is now hitting .200/.300/.400. This is very good to see because the Bombers ned his speed as much as possible, even though he did get caught stealing today. Also, Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 today and is now in a 3-for-27 funk which is just something to note as the Yanks head into Detroit.
So overall, it was a good day and a good series. To steal a line from John Flaherty, the Yankees played a very clean game today. They had good starting pitching, a good performance from their bullpen, and they scored enough runs to win. New York will now hit the road on a seven game road trip starting in Detroit. A series preview will be up shortly.