Nova & Grandy lead Yanks to win over Rays


Do you know how long it had been since the Yankees played their last normal, 7pm ET home game before Tuesday night? Eighteen days. Blame day games, blame rain delays, and blame a ten-day road trip for that, so it was nice to get back to that familiar routine. The familiar routine of weekday evenings in the Bronx and wins in the standings.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Number Two Starter

The Yankees have been searching for a viable number two starter since the day Cliff Lee agreed to return to Philadelphia, but apparently they had one right under their nose the whole time. Ivan Nova was really good in this one, holding the Rays scoreless through 7.2IP on 103 pitches. He didn’t completely shut them down (his only 1-2-3 inning was the first), but he scattered six hits (one double) and three walks while timing his three strikeouts well. Nova also pitched out of a bases loaded, no out situation in the seventh (shallow fly ball, double play).

Wins are dumb, but it’s worth noting that Nova has won his last dozen decisions, the most by a rookie since Larry Jansen in 1947. His season ERA is down to 3.62, his record up to 16-4. If you’d have said that Nova would have this kind of season back in March, I probably would have called you crazy. The kid is probably going to start Game Two of the ALDS next weekend, and he’s certainly earned it.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)


It had been 18 days since the Yankees last played a 7pm ET game at home, and they celebrated by leaving 18 runners on base. Seriously. It’s the most runners a Rays opponent has ever stranded, and it’s by far the most the Yankees have stranded this year. The previous high was 15 on May 11th, but guess what? That was an eleven inning game. The previous high for a nine inning game was 13, which they did against the Cubs and also against the Red Sox a few weeks ago (Jesus Montero‘s first game, the one with Russell Martin‘s huge go-ahead double off Daniel Bard).  They left one man on base in the second, two men on base in the first, fourth, sixth, and eighth, and the bases loaded in the third, fifth, and seventh. Yikes.

Despite all that RISPFAIL, the Yankees did score five runs, three on Curtis Granderson‘s bases clearing double in the second. Eric Chavez singled in a run earlier that inning, and then Grandy singled in another run in the fifth. That wasn’t really a single though, Casey Kotchman bobbled the grounder and Cesar Ramos flubbed the relay. I’ll take it. Curtis is now 8-for-11 with three doubles, two homers, four walks, and two strikeouts in his last three games, so I think we can consider the slump over.

So smooth. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


Aside from the Grandyman, four others had multiple hits: Derek Jeter (also a walk), Eric Chavez, Martin (also a walk), and Brett Gardner. Mark Teixeira singled and both Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher doubled, plus all three drew a walk as well. Alex Rodriguez was the only Yankee without a hit, but he walked twice.  Everyone got in on the action, solid offensive night aside from all those runners left on base. You know what they say though, I’d rather have ‘em on and strand ‘em than not have ‘em on at all. They say that, right?

Anyway, the bullpen was a two-man show after Nova left. Boone Logan was brought in to face the lefty Matt Joyce, but the righty Brandon Guyer pinch-hit and popped out in foul territory to end the eighth. Luis Ayala worked a scoreless ninth. That’s all she wrote.

The Rays lost, obviously, so the lead on the wildcard spot increased to eight full games. Robert Andino and the Orioles came back against Jonathan Papelbon and the Red Sox, so the lead in the division climbed to six games (seven in the loss column). You’re welcome for keeping you ahead in the wildcard race, Boston.

The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is just two, the magic number to clinch the division is just three, and the magic number to clinch homefield advantage is just five. The first two could happen within the next 24 hours. Seriously.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings has the box score and video, FanGraphs some more advanced stats, and ESPN the updated standings.

Up Next

Let’s play two! These same two teams will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, with the scheduled starters being some combination of Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia, Jamie Shields, and Jeremy Hellickson. Game one starts a little after 1pm ET, and you can get there with RAB Tickets.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. Chen Meng Wang says:

    So I know the Yankees don’t do a champagne celebration for the Wildcard, but how awkward would it be if they were planning to do one, win the first game of the double header and lose the second. There would just be a really weird vibe popping bubbly after a loss.

  2. Bob Michaels says:

    Nova has been great. The Yankees game two starter in the playoffs.
    the Grandy Man must continue his drive to win the MVP.

  3. Brian S. says:

    I love seeing all those groundballs. It’s one of the reasons I am just as excited for Brett Marshall as any of our other prospects…

  4. Jesus Freak says:

    Sox 5-15 in September!


    [deep breath]


    • Jesse says:

      I actually laughed for like 15 seconds when I saw this.

      • Pat D says:

        See now, I actually won’t allow myself to laugh like this until the beast is dead.

        The scars of 2004 run pretty deep.

        • Jesse says:

          You make a great point. 2004 is still a bitch to this day.

        • Thomas Cassidy says:

          Let’s go Red Sox! They need to win the WC. I don’t wanna face the Rays with their youth and confidence. The Red Sox have one starter in the rotation locked, Beckett is hurt, Buchholz is out, Lackey, Miller/Weiland/DuBront?whoever else sucks. The Sox are beat up. I love it.

          • Rey22 says:

            I still think the Sox get in. They’re been awful, but they can’t be this awful. Plus I doubt the Yankees will completely roll over for the Rays even after they clinch.

            • Freddy Garcia's 86 mph Heat says:

              Plus I doubt the Yankees will completely roll over for the Rays even after they clinch.

              Why not? They have every reason to “rest their regulars” and “set up their rotation” in that last series.

        • Rey22 says:

          You mean the strike of 2004? It really is a shame they had to cut the season short after 3 games in the ALCS. Who knows what could have happened.

        • Riddering says:

          Because this is exactly like 2004 considering we’re already in the ALCS and up 3-0 on Boston!

          Oh, wait, this is nothing like 2004.

          • Pat D says:

            I didn’t say it was. All I said is I’m not counting out the Red Sox, or any team for that matter, until they’re officially done.

            It’s just my own personal thing.

  5. Kevin D. says:

    It looks like Robbie threw that ball with his glove. I could see him pulling that sort of play off.

  6. Jesus Freak says:

    The ESPN campus is on mass suicide watch.

  7. Pat D says:

    Texas is about to tie Detroit in the standings, but Detroit won the season series, so they’ll be #2 if the two teams should tie.

    I want to play Texas. Revenge.

  8. Rich in NJ says:

    It has been really enjoyable to watch Nova grow into a #2/#3 starter.

  9. Rey22 says:

    So, serious question, would you trade Robinson Cano straight up for Justin Verlander?

    • nesto says:

      Why not when you have a gold glove, crow-hopping second basemen in Posada?

    • whozat says:

      That’s tough…Verlander is signed for 3/60, Robbie 2/29. Both superlative players in their prime…I think _maybe_ the contract makes me take Cano.

    • Avi says:

      I wouldn’t. Quality pitching is easier to come by than quality hitting. Especially considering that plays a position that’s weak offensively.

      • Avi says:

        *that HE plays a position that’s weak offensively.

      • Sayid J. says:

        Quality pitching is easier to come by than quality hitting? There were 28 players in the majors this year with an OPS+ better than Cano. There were 0 players with an ERA+ better than Verlander. Using the Fangraphs stats, 23 players beat out Cano in wOBA. Only 8 players beat Verlander in FIP.

        Always take quality pitching over quality hitting.

        • Sayid J. says:

          The fact that he plays second base definitely helps Cano’s case, but while he is a great hitter, obviously, his lack of OBP skills prevent him from being a truly dominant force. I love Cano, but you can’t really put him in the same class of pure hitters as a Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, or Jose Bautista. Even when factoring for positional adjustments (WAR), Cano comes in as the 17th most valuable hitter, and only 5th most valuable 2nd basemen (Kinsler, Zobrist, Pedroia, Kendrick). On the other hand, Verlander has been a top three WAR pitcher for 3 consecutive years.

          • Jackson says:

            See this is where a stat like WAR starts to get a little fishy. There is no way that Ian Kinsler and Howie Kendrick are having better seasons than Cano. Their defense and base running cannot be that significantly better than Cano’s. I just don’t buy it.

            • Sayid J. says:

              Right, but that’s not the point. The point is that as a second basemen, Cano is very, very good, but not irreplaceable. The comparison is to Verlander, and I’d take Verlander over Cano if it were offered.

    • mbonzo says:

      I think you might have a debate on this one, but no way from my opinion. Pitching is so inconsistent, and Verlander has only had 2 ace like years. I also think its easier to find an ace than it is to find a top ranking middle infielder. I would bet on Cano’s future over Verlander’s too.

      • Sayid J. says:

        Only 2 ace like years? He’s been an ace for three straight years, with only one real blip on the radar. Cano is my favorite player on the Yankees and I’m very thankful he’s on the Yankees, but give me CC and Verlander at the top of the rotation and we’ll be popping bottles in October.

        Just look at what this lineup did without ARod most of the year. One hitter is not going to significantly alter the complexion of the team. A guy like Verlander changes things.

        • Kevin D. says:

          It could be argued that it is because of Cano that a guy like Arod missing time did not kill this teams playoff chances.

          • Sayid J. says:

            That’s completely context based. If Cano had been injured, we could just as easily have said it was a guy like Granderson that prevented Cano’s injury from hurting their playoff chances. Losing one hitter won’t kill a team. Losing pitchers will. Just look at the Red Sox over the past few week. If the Sox could have either Youkilis or Buccholz back for the playoffs, who do you think they’d choose?

        • The risk of a pitcher getting hurt long-term is much higher than the risk of a position player getting hurt. And pitchers tend to return from injury much less predictably than position players.

          I love both guys, but if I’m investing long term, I’m keeping Robby.

          • Sayid J. says:

            I understand that point as well, but considering current contracts rather than ‘long-term’ point of view, I’d make the deal.

  10. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    47 “experts” can’t all be wrong, can they?

    • Avi says:

      That’s great. In all fairness no one saw Colon and Garcia having the years they had. Nova too to an extent.

      • JohnnyC says:

        In all “fairness”, many of these same experts believed John Smoltz and Brad Penny were going to cinch the pennant for the Sox in 2009. In summary, these same experts used the same logic to predict completely divergent results in 2009 and 2011. It’s called bias.

    • Pat D says:

      I think we need to stop referring to these predictions, in all honesty.

      Baseball is the hardest season to predict because of its length and the fact that it’s fairly hard to predict guys getting injured, having huge unforseen slumps (Adam Dunn, e.g.) or huge MVP like seasons (Granderson).

      I mean, the season ain’t over. Let’s let it play out.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

        I was talking about the AL East. Every single one picked the Red Sox.

      • BK2ATL says:

        Maybe so, but it doesn’t stop these idiots with pens from rolling out their predictions and pushing them on the masses every year. Moreso in today’s times with 24-7 media.

        Shouldn’t they all be held accountable for spewing hot garbage???

        • Pat D says:

          I think it was perfectly logical to pick the Red Sox over the Yankees for the division at the beginning of the year. No one thought Garcia, Colon, Burnett or Nova would be good. No one thought Granderson would be this good. The Red Sox appeared to be healthy at the time.

          But, on paper, their rotation looked a lot better.

          • Len S. says:

            I’m shocked that they’re going to win the division. I thought this was a wild card year for sure. The playoffs still scare me other than CC. Texas has some pretty big power on that team. I predict anywhere from a first round loss to a WS loss. The Phillies pitching is amazing.

          • Jesse says:

            “No one thought Garcia, Colon, Burnett, or Nova would be good”.

            Well, at least they were right about Burnett not being any good.

          • Kiersten says:

            You’re right, they were the favorites, but every. single. one of them picked the Red Sox. Even when the Yankees have been the clear-cut favorites (2009), that’s never happened.

            • Yeah. THIS.

              You’d think that at least one prognosticator would realize that the season is unpredictable and choose someone outside the company line, even if only for the ratings.

              • Tim says:

                It should not really be that surprising that Lackey and Matsuzaka have been terrible for the Red Sox, while Buchholz has regressed. I think pretty much everyone on this website saw at least the possibility of that happening. Beckett hasn’t been as good as he was this year since 2007, and with the injuries to key offensive players and the loss of two big offensive weapons (granted, those were replaced but people were really looking at the additions as if they were the only roster moves made by the team), finishing in second place should surprise really no one.

                Consider this – Ellsbury has been by far their best offensive player this year, and one of the best in the league. I don’t think even fat Pete Abe would have dreamed THAT possible.

          • JohnnyC says:

            Smoltz and Penny looked awfully good to these same people in 2009. Look what happened. Again, Sox gambles are always seen as acts of genius while similar moves on the Yankees’ part are acts of folly.

    • hogsmog says:

      Those poor, poor Twinkies…

  11. mbonzo says:

    Yanks are just saving the RISPWIN for when the Rangers are BABIPing .400 again on infield hits and groundballs through the infield.

    Thank god for Nova, he’s been incredible since developing that slider. A winter’s worth of work on it and he could be a legit #2/#3 guy for the future. One thing though, I can’t understand how he’s in any sort of play for ROTY with Hellickson pitching so well, against better offenses in the AL East. (He has to face the Yankees, which Nova doesn’t)

    • mbonzo says:

      Another rambling, I’m think we’ll see Betances or Brackman pitch in one of the games tomorrow.

    • Dave says:

      When you are 16-4 with a 3.62 ERA, you are going to be in play for ROTY. How do you not understand that? Not saying he will win it, but he should be top 3.

      Oh, and Nova is a legit #2/#3 guy right now! He is our #2 in the playoffs. Why are you talking about the future? Look at what he is doing for us in the present!

      • mbonzo says:

        You’re right about 16-4 making him a contender, but look at Hellickson’s stats and tell me they’re not ace-like. He might be getting lucky, but he’s got a 2.91 ERA in the AL East, on a none Yankee/Red Sox team. Thats incredible for a rookie. He’s been the best rookie in baseball.

        Nova has been exceptional for the last 2 months, but that doesn’t mean he’ll keep it up. He needs a lot of work on his slider and control in general to continue to trick hitters. Its only a matter of time that hitters will begin to take advantage of his control issues, and he’s got a high ceiling with that slider. You can call him a #2 heading in to the playoffs, but this version of Nova is not the #2 the Yankees are looking for in the future.

      • Monteroisdinero says:

        Because the wheels of scouting reports and “labels” move and turn slowly.

        Now have Golson be our 4th outfielder next year!

        I was always in the camp that Nova could be more than a #4 starter. He needed a little time, confidence, experience and a manager who wouldn’t pull him every time there were 2 men on base in the 5th inning. He has the stuff, demeanor and arm health.

        • Nova’s peripherals, to this point, don’t match up with those of a legit #2.

          He’s been fantastic, I love rooting for him and I look forward to every time his name comes up in the rotation.

          But he does need to develop more before he’s a real #2.

          Fun that we can have this conversation though, that’s for sure.

  12. D-Rob's Great Escape says:

    Sutcliffe says Noesi is starting G1, I don’t know if he’s really right though.

  13. john j says:

    soo whos starting game 1 tomorow?

    • Jesse says:

      Either Hughes or Noesi.
      If Hughes’ back is still stiff they’ll go Noesi.

      • As much as I still want Phil to succeed, I think it’d be great to see Noesi get the start. If he can pitch 3-4 solid innings, maybe he’ll get a real shot at the rotation next spring.

        Of course, it’s possible he will anyway. I just don’t want him pigeon holed into the bullpen.

  14. forensic says:

    Brian Heyman says it’s the most runners left on base for them since 1956. I think that means it doesn’t happen that often…

    • Hall and Nokes says:

      I think the ’56 game was an all time record for a 9 inning game, 20 against the Sox. I’ll try to find the RAB game thread, I’m sure it was bananas.

  15. Gustavo says:

    Tough to blame anybody on predictions though… Who would have predicted Nova to have as many wins as Cliff Lee?

  16. A-Rod's Wingman says:

    Chevy’s came a long way. I remember being disappointed when the Ms took him in the Rule 5 and glad when he returned. I don’t think he’ll ever be this good again, and to be honest if he’s this good for just two more months I’ll be estatic. But he’s came a hell of a long ways from being essentially scrap heap (two different teams said that he wasn’t good enough to stick, albeit the Yankees, thankfully changed their minds) to RoY candidate and two starter on a playoff team. There’s definitely a motivational speech in that story somewhere.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Why won’t Nova ever be this good again? He’s a 24-year-old rookie pitching at basically a league-average level. He can continue to duplicate that, if not exceed it, in the future.

      • forensic says:

        I’ll be honest, I had no idea who he was talking about with ‘Chevy’ until you replied and the Chevy Nova thing came up (I sure hope that’s it and I didn’t miss it twice). Anyway, all the things he was talking about happened before he really got that nice third pitch of a slider to work (and even some changeups now).

        • FIPster Doofus says:

          It took me a minute to figure out who the “Chevy” thing too.

          • forensic says:

            I was actually wondering if it was some Chavez (typo from chavy to chevy) career achievement thing and I just didn’t he at some point went through the rule 5 or something…

            • nsalem says:

              Ivan Nova did but I think it was the Padres not the Mariners. I also disagree with the notion that he is a league average. Lots of great pitchers with K rates in the 5′s and BB rates in the 3′s including Whitey Ford maybe some numbers are not as critical as people may think they are.

  17. forensic says:

    Watching the postgame and some dumbass said if Nova won the ROY he’d be interested to know the last Yankee to win that award. I get that not everyone is into history and all that, but if you don’t know that Jeter won ROY, then where the hell have you been?

  18. NEPA Yankee says:

    Just found out about a few days ago. CAN’T STAY AWAY! Absoluetly hilarious to read the posts coming out of the “Nation”. I know we get down on the Yankees (MFY on their site) when things aren’t going good, but these people are out there. Didn’t know they allowed internet access in hospitals for the criminally insane!

    • thenamestsam says:

      I’ve also been enjoying scanning the comments over there, but having completely the opposite reaction to you. I’ve seen game threads in games the Yankees ended up winning(Blue Jays game last week for example) that were every bit as over-the-top and reactionary as what’s going on there, and their season is coming apart. I love dwelling in their misery, but there are plenty around these parts who post crazy things about how bad this team is after every two game losing streak.

  19. Tiny Tim says:

    Last night Curtis Granderson sealed the AL MVP and Ivan Nova sealed the AL ROY. 16-4 record and he was banished to AAA for a couple weeks to make room for Hughes. He could have had 20 Ws.

    • Tim says:

      Ever think that maybe one significant reason why he’s won 12 in a row and is 16-4 now might be BECAUSE he was banished to AAA to work on his breaking pitches?

    • Bill says:

      I’m a Nova fan, but I’m not sure he wins the ROY. I think Hellickson or Trumbo are more likely to win it.

      • gc says:

        Agreed. And Granderson hasn’t sealed up anything in terms of the MVP. Last night was a good night for him, but he hasn’t exactly had a great September. Neither have the “holy trinity” up in Boston, but the guy I think will get it, and deserves it (if it’s not Verlander), is Jose Bautista. Guy is having a BEASTLY season!

  20. Tiny Tim says:

    And our goal should be to win one today and clinch the WC. Boston’s loss last night will help keep the Rays in it. Give the Rays 2 out of the next 3 then give a little more effort vs Boston and try to take 2/3. Boston probably won’t lose tonight with their only competent pitcher on the mound.

  21. Dagra says:

    I appreciate wins are ‘dumb’ but CC & Nova collectively have one more win this season than Halladay & Cliff Lee. Crazy.

  22. Foghorn Leghorn says:

    you have to check this out…holy crap!! Red Sox fan going off after last night’s debacle!

  23. Bill says:

    The Yankees could actually clinch the division today if they win both games of the doubleheader and Boston loses.

  24. Rich says:

    Gee–you think that guy was a little pissed off?!

    • Foghorn Leghorn says:

      that and drunk…that’s funny as hell. he called Lackey a fag

    • B-Rando says:

      I live in Boston and listen to Toucher and Rich every morning (and in the afternoons when they were on there a few years ago). The guys are absolutely hilarious. I was dying listening to this on my way to work this morning.

  25. mt says:

    Nothing better than Red Sox being cursed out with a New England accent.

    Especially hilarious is his non PC take on Lackey.

  26. Foghorn Leghorn says:

    damn..Gammons is now saying that Felix Dubront was a huge disappointment and the reason that the Sox faltered…wtf?? just another overhyped prospect

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