Nova, Grandy carry Yanks to much needed win

Phelps dominant in Scranton win
What Not To Wear (Ballpark Edition)
Austin Jackson struck out for the 44th and 45th times on Friday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Three straight losses qualifies as a crisis around these parts, but the Yankees righted the ship tonight thanks to their fourth starter and the guy that was supposed to hit ninth before a head cold befell Nick Swisher. Let’s quickly recap…

  • Give it up to Ivan Nova, the kid just had the best start of his big league career against the defending American League champs. He allowed just one (unearned) run in 7.2 innings, giving up just two singles and a walk. Of his 21 non-strikeout outs, 16 were on the ground. Nova was simply awesome Friday night, you couldn’t have asked for more. He’s now allowed just four runs in 22 innings over his last three starts, when he was probably pitching for his job.
  • How about that Curtis Granderson fella? A two-run homer into the upper deck in the first inning, then an insurance run on a solo homer in the seventh. That’s how it’s done. Grandy’s ten homers lead the AL, and his 24 long balls since last August 14th are the most in baseball by someone not named Jose Bautista (he has 27). He didn’t hit his tenth homer until July 26th last season, so yeah, he’s ahead of that pace.
  • Another inning’s worth of outs just given away in this game. Two stupid sacrifice bunts (neither worked) and Russell Martin got picked off third when he wandered a little too far from the bag. What kills me most about the bunts is that the guy on the mound had walked the previous batter each time (in Matt Harrison’s case, the previous two hitters), and they just gave a wild pitcher a free out. I’ve written more words about dumb bunt attempts this year than I ever thought I would have needed to this season, and it’s only been thirty games. Sigh.
  • Turning Alex Rodriguez loose in a 3-0 count with two outs and the bases loaded in the second? Dumb. Harrison walked three batters in the inning and was clearly laboring, I highly doubt that he could have thrown three strikes before one ball in that spot. I don’t care if 2001 Barry Bonds was at the plate, take the run they’re trying to give you.
  • Rafael Soriano allowed an inherited runner to score on his contractually mandated baserunner, so Nova wasn’t even on the mound when the run came across. Mariano Rivera was flawless in the ninth, just the way we like it.
  • Derek Jeter had a hit and a walk and Martin drew a trio of free passes. The six through nine hitters went hitless in 11 at-bats, but they reached base five times total. The Yankees went 0-for-4 with men in scoring position and did leave seven runners on base, but homers cure all ills.
  • Here’s the box score and video, here’s the WPA Graph.

Same two teams tomorrow night, when Bartolo Colon takes on lefty Derek Holland. Another 8pm ET start, which sucks on a Saturday.

email
Phelps dominant in Scranton win
What Not To Wear (Ballpark Edition)
  • Rob Thomsen’s Chili Farts

    I wish Granderson would hit a Granderslam! LOL!

  • Rookie

    Turning ARod loose was only dumb in terms of maximizing the odds of scoring the run, knocking out the pitcher early, and winning the game.

    I suspect (maybe hope would be the right word) that Girardi was thinking more in terms of getting ARod back on track.

    • mike c

      great hitters like a-rod always have the greenlight to swing at a pitch to hit no matter what the count… I don’t get the outrage, we’re not talking about brett gardner here

      • Rookie

        True, Mike. But as I’ve said ad nauseaum, since April 16th when he left the game (allegedly with an oblique and back stiffness, as I recall), ARod hasn’t been a great hitter.

        I don’t have the numbers for him and the rest of the team since April 16th. But according to FanGraphs, for the last 14 days, would you believe that among Yankee starters, Jeter actually has a higher slugging percentage than ARod?! According to FanGraphs, during those 14 days, Jeter’s slugging percentage was .347 versus .240 for ARod.

        The only Yankee starter with a lower slugging percentage than ARod during that time was Posada with a .186 SLG. But I give Posada credit. Not that many soon-to-be-40-year olds get to be starters in MLB. I wonder what ARod’s slugging percentage will be when he turns 40 (and 41 and 42).

        If Girardi doesn’t think the problem is that ARod is that ARod isn’t fully recovered from his oblique injury and thinks the problem is that he has yet to get back on track, then I think letting him swing away was a very logical thing to do.

        • mike c

          I think the sample sizes you’re looking at are too small to give clear insight… a-rod in particular is the kind of player who can go on mad hot streaks all of a sudden, I don’t think necessarily because of injury it’s probably more of a timing issue, and road trips aren’t necessarily a great time to get comfortable again

          • Rookie

            You’re absolutely right, Mike. We are talking about a very small sample size. And ARod has been streaky.

            But my eyes are confirming what his stats are saying. Before April 16th, his bat speed looked breathtaking. On one very memorable swing, I thought that he was screwing up swinging at a high hard fastball and he caught up with it like the pitcher was pitching in slow motion and drove it out of the ballpark.

            Now he looks like he can’t catch up with low 90s fastballs. If his bat speed has slowed dramatically, I can’t figure out any other reason why it would have declined so much so fast unless he’s not recovered from his injury.

            Maybe I just worry too much. However, it seems to me that if you believe that there might be even as little as a 5-10% chance that he’s not fully recovered from his muscle injury and that he could reinjure it and thus turn it into a chronic problem, given that the Yankees still owe him something in the neighborhood of $200 million, it’s better to be safe than sorry — especially since he’s not exactly a spring chicken.

            Just my opinion — for whatever it might be worth…

    • David

      The Granderson trade was a Cashman disaster. Right, Austin Jackson people?

  • iloveyoubartolo

    Soriano’s fastball command is nonexistent. Discouraging.

    • mike c

      even though he struck out the first batter on three pitches

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

        Those weren’t good pitches, honestly. Though the best pitch he threw was the one hit for an RBI single.

        • mike c

          I listened to the end on the radio, were they just flat or was velocity down too?

          • Salty Buggah

            Velocity was normal, but they were very poorly located fastballs. Non-Chris Davis hitters would crush those.

            • JohnC

              They were 94mph fastballs with movement. How do you know another hitter would have crushed them. Give credit where credit is due for once ok?

          • Esteban

            He was pumping gas.

        • JohnC

          Yes they were. They were right in the strike zone. Soriano just overpowered Chris davis.

          • Zack

            Fastballs that catch all of the plate = not good pitches

            Overpowering and striking out Chris Davis = not a big accomplishment

      • Salty Buggah

        Well, it was Chris Davis and those 3 pitches were basically meatballs (see: http://bit.ly/lPVwLj).

        • johnny

          That was the best he looked all year. He’s a “stuff” pitcher, he can get away with more plate than most.

          • Cuso

            that’s like saying Limp Bizkit + miniature daschund = applesauce.

            You may have couched your point intelligently, but it makes absolutely no sense no matter how you spin it.

  • BKLYN

    You guys have probably already beat this horse dead, but let’s talk about Gardner and his shitty bunting. That experiments got to stop.

  • Alfredo

    I am glad we won today but it sure was not a smooth win. I hope the yankees bench Posada if he comes out of this series without a hit. WE NEED MONTERO HE IS WAISTING AB IN THE MINORS.

    • mike c

      posada has until the ASB to pick it up, I could see them even platooning DH if he keeps it up (.000 RHB) but I think they want jesus to keep catching in AAA or keep him warm for any potential blockbuster trades

    • Rob Thomsen’s Chili Farts

      we?

  • mike c

    nova was absolutely masterful tonight, he only had one K but he was dominant and would have gone at least 8 IP if not for tex’s fielding error. also jeter hit a hard grounder right back off of holland, which resulted in the throwing error scored run, between that and the leadoff single to right it was good to see him closer to his old form tonight

    • Cuso

      he may have gone 8 if not for Tex’s error? He may have gone only 4 if not for some of the other defensive plays on the infield (Tex included).

      No reason for passive attempts at fingerpointing. Nova pitched great and the defense made some nice plays. Whether Nova pitched 7.1 or 8 full is irrelevant. we’re all happy with the results.

  • BigBlueAL

    Gardner just bunted again.

  • http://www.retire21.org first name only male (formerly Mike R. – Retire 21)

    More likely scenario:

    – Granderson top 5 in MVP voting

    or

    – Nova top five in ROY voting?

    • Tom Zig

      Grandy

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      Nova. Heyman would create a campaign as to why Granderson isn’t a true MVP

  • Rookie

    Was it just me, or did Soriano look like he had pretty impressive stuff?

  • Rookie

    Oops. I just read the posts above and know the answer to my question.

  • jim p

    Two stupid sacrifice bunts … What kills me most about the bunts is that the guy on the mound had walked the previous batter each time and they just gave a wild pitcher a free out. I’ve written more words about dumb bunt attempts this year than I ever thought I would have needed to this season, and it’s only been thirty games. Sigh.

    I guess this would be too expensive to send to Joe Girardi as a telegram, no?

  • CBean

    I got to watch this game at Arlington and it was awesome and there were a ton of Yankee fans seating near me (I was about 4 rows behind the visitor dugout.) Nova really did a fantastic job and got a standing ovation from all of us.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    Stop bunting. Please. I can’t take it any more…

    • Esteban

      But it works so well.

  • Will

    Now that’s more like it! Nova was great, although I actually thought his stuff was better in both of his previous two starts–especially the curveball, which hung more often than not tonight. But that just goes to show how important fastball location is, because he had more of that tonight than I’ve seen in any of his starts.

    Also, Tex’s 8th inning miscue aside, the defense was fantastic–especially Jeter, which was nice to see after Nunez’ disaster of a game yesterday.

    And yet again, great to see Granderson being awesome. He was my favorite non-Yankees player for years when he was in Detroit, so I love being able to root for him every day now.

    Finally, to add to the chorus, the bunting and the Posada-inspired ridiculous baserunning need to stop. Thankfully neither hurt them tonight, but both are still starting to grate.

  • first time lawng time

    Nova went 7.1 not 7.2 innings.
    Still a great start though.
    I find it interesting that he pitched extremely poorly when he first saw the Rangers and was great the second time. Usually it’s the other way around.

    • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

      As Cone would say, he had that Uncle Charlie working. Or his Tio Carlos.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    No love for last night’s defense? With the exception of Tex’s misplay in the 8th, the infield was outstanding. They actually looked like they were having fun playing behind Nova.

  • Rob Thomsen’s Chili Farts

    Nova Scotia to the max!

  • pollo

    man if nova could just find consistency…

  • Monteroisdinero

    Nova is young and may end up being a better home grown pitcher than the big 3 when all is said and done. He threw a few changeups but not many sliders last night. I like his demeanor out there. I have met him and talked to him and he is a funny and funloving low-key guy. I hope he becomes a solid part of our rotation for years.

    So when Martin hit 2HR’s in a game he got plunked but not Grandy thankfully. The Showalter effect.

    Bunting with Posada as a lead baserunner is even dumber than bunting whenever else we do.

  • AC

    I love the primetime games on a sat or sun. Who needs the sun to play games n the shadows etc. It doesn’t suck on a Saturday.

  • bonestock94

    Eh, I have no issues with ever letting ARod loose.

    • Guns of the Navarone (a mushroom cloud layin’ mothafucka, mothafucka)

      There are only very few, rare, specific instances when that shouldn’t happen.

      Last night was one of them.

  • The209

    yes, but Millwood!

  • Wandering Bear

    I just can’t believe Girardi continues to play small ball for one run with the most powerful lineup in baseball. So many things were going against the decision to bunt- Gardner can’t bunt, it’s the 2nd inning, the guy on the mound has just walked two batters, the count went to 2-0. Girardi still kept the bunt on despite all of this! He nearly over managed us into another loss. Curtis and Nova bailed him out.

    • Jim S

      Not to mention Gardner’s actually been one of the better hitters over the past 2 weeks.

      • Rookie

        I agree with you, Jim. But Gardner’s been much more than one of the better hitters over the past two weeks.

        According to FanGraphs:
        .468 on base percentage
        .622 slugging percentage
        1.090 OPS
        Second best WAR (or is it tied for second best) among all left fielders in either league
        http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....#038;ind=0

    • Monteroisdinero

      Oh and one of the slowest runners in baseball when healthy was on 2B. Did Posada ever have that match race with Molina?

  • pete

    Nice recap, but my one nit to pick is that A-Rod’s likely, even if the pitcher has been wild, to get a nice pitch to hit 3-0, and I get wanting to get him going again. If it’s the late innings and a close game, then it’s a different story of course.

    • Guns of the Navarone (a mushroom cloud layin’ mothafucka, mothafucka)

      He’s just as likely to get a fat pitch on 3-1, and possibly even 3-2. I would have had him take two pitches. Then you’re still at 3-2 and can look for and battle a pitch in the strikezone, otherwise a run is walked in. A-Rod is in total command of that at bat regardless. Swinging on 3-0 is simply not the correct thing to do. But that’s just my opinion.

      And Joe Girardi is NOT a good manager. Again…just my opinion. I’m entitled to it.

    • It’sATarp

      I’d let Arod swing 3-0….in mlb the show…not in real life where in that situation a walk is good enough

    • Rookie

      Exactly.