Yanks take over first place with win over Jays

David Robertson out Friday with stiffness
The Miguel Cabrera Comp

Friday’s game sure was a bit more mellow after those three games in Boston, eh? I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed in a one-run game. Let’s recap…

  • The first inning was a bit shaky for Ivan Nova, but he got out of the frame after allowing just two runs because Brett Gardner was beast modin’ it in left. He made a nice sliding snow cone catch on Edwin Encarnacion’s line drive and was able to catch Jose Bautista wondering too far off first rather easily to end the inning. Outfield defense was actually a pretty common theme on the night, with Curtis Granderson and Andruw Jones also making nice catches at the wall.
  • After the first inning, in which he allowed the two runs on a walk and two hits, Nova cruised right along and did not allowed a baserunner until a sixth inning double by Eric Thames. In fact, the only baserunners he allowed after the first were the double, an intentional walk to Bautista, and on an error.  Nova struck out four, but uncharacteristically allowed eight air outs compared to just seven on the ground. Either way, he was fantastic.
  • Gardner’s not just about defense, you know. He planted a two run-homer into the right field seats in the third inning, tying the game at two. Brandon Morrow always seems to be tough on the Yankees with that high octane fastball/slider combo, but he hung one to Brett and paid for it.
  • The third (and game-winning) run came in a nice little two-out rally in the fifth, when Robinson Cano singled in Derek Jeter following a single and a Granderson walk. Robbie was hacking away at Morrow’s slider down-and-in all night, but the Toronto right-hander left one up and Cano knocked it to shallow-ish center. The Yankees only had four hits in the game (Gardner, Jeter, Cano, and Jones) and none after Cano’s single in the fifth.
  • David Robertson was unavailable because he was “a little stiff,” but Rafael Soriano stepped in and fired a scoreless eighth before Mariano Rivera closed things out with a 1-2-3 ninth. It was his 37th save of the season and number 596 of his career, so he’s got a very legit chance at 600 as well as Trevor Hoffman’s career record (601) this year. Anyway, Robertson will be available on Saturday but Soriano and Mo will not because of their recent workloads.
  • The Red Sox got completely wrecked by the Rangers, so the Yankees moved into sole possession of first place in the AL East by half-a-game and one game in the loss column. The Rays also lost to the Orioles, so the lead in the wildcard race is up to 9.5. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 17, jumpin’ Jerry Hairston Jr. in the sidebar. Here is the box score, the FanGraphs stats, and the standings.

Game two of this three-game set will be played on Saturday afternoon at 1pm ET, when Bartolo Colon matches up against Ricky Romero. If you’re heading up to the Bronx to catch the game, RAB Tickets can help get you in dirt cheap.

David Robertson out Friday with stiffness
The Miguel Cabrera Comp
  • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

    A crisp, well played game from both sides. The Blue Jays always seem to step up against the Yankees. Being in first place sure feels good.

  • DERP

    Ivan Nova is awesome.

    • FIPster Doofus

      He’s so impressively consistent, and gives the Yankees a legit chance to win every time out. Not bad for a 24-year-old rookie in the AL East.

      • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

        He’s slowly become one of my favorite players. I hope he keeps this up.

        • FIPster Doofus

          I look forward to his starts, that’s for sure. He’s fun to watch.

  • Jorge

    Didn’t watch a bit of the game, but watching Ivan Nova exceed expectations continues to be a joy.

  • Kramerica Industries

    Regardless of the merits of W/L record and what-not – Nova has 15 wins and that was with him in the minors for basically an entire month in July.

    Who would’ve thought that Nova could be a near 20-game winner in 2011?

    • mbonzo

      I know it doesn’t mean much, especially when you lead baseball in run support, but if Nova ends up a 20 game winner, he’s gonna win the ROTY. I think its something to discuss, even amongst us that hate wins as a stat. The fact that he keeps his team in the game, on the biggest stage in baseball, in the toughest league, in a hitter’s park, means that he’s more valuable than a guy like Pineda. Pineda’s been fantastic, but when you look at his ballpark and the AL West, and the lack of pressure he’s got pitching with the Mariners, you gotta think Nova has the upper hand.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Ah, Game 2 of the 2009 ALCS. Thanks Mike for bringing back that great memory. A.J pitching well in a big game, bullpen dominating, A-Rod’s clutch homer off Fuentes to tie it in the 11th I believe it was, and Hairston scoring on the Izturis throwing error (I’m pretty sure it was him, or it could have been one of those thousands of middle infielder’s they’ve had over the years). Good times.

    Nice win btw. Nova gives me that 2010 Phirst half Phil Pheeling.
    /Phil Phuckin’ Hughes’d

    • forensic

      I still love that the homer came on an 0-2 with Freddy Guzman and Brett Gardner as the next two batters… All things considered, it’s definitely one of my favorite hits/homers of all-time.

      • Evan3457

        Possibly the stupidest pitch I’ve ever seen…an 0-2 FB with a 1 run lead, A-Rod up, and Guzman and Gardner to follow.

  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    I still can’t believe I wanted to trade Nova for Ubaldo.

    • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      I still would. Could be wrong, too.

  • MannyB ace2be

    How is he working out for the tribe? Lol

  • Dino Velvet

    Think how gritty Garnder would be if he grew a beard.

    • Joba4Prez

      Still wouldn’t be as gritty as Gardner with a beard

      And wouldn’t be CLOSE to the gnome that plays 2nd in boston

  • BigBlueAL

    Have to say, Nova has completely won me over. Before he got sent down to AAA during the season I didnt care if he didnt start another game this season, now to me he is the 2nd best starter on this team and I have total confidence in him starting Game 2 of the ALDS.

  • pat

    Ever since he started throwing that slider better his curve has been buckling knees like crazy. And I know this sounds corny as shit but there are some things a player posseses that cannot be measured or quantified. Nova just has it. Whatever the hell “it” is he has it. Did he deserve the win he got against KC a few starts ago?. Hell no, but I think deep down those that watched the game saw how he handled himself kinds think maybe he did (as stupid as that sounds). He didn’t just give up and start hucking fastballs like AJ does when things start to unravel. This was a bullshit game vs a last place team and everyone would have taken a 3 inning assbeating and chalked it up as a learning experience. Instead, the kid stayed with the game plan and kept throwing all his pitches and was able to gut out 5 or 6 innings and give the team a punchers chance at getting back into it. I’m no psychologist or anything but I think the hitters feed off that. They saw the young gun battling and figured if he didn’t give up they wouldn’t either. Again, I could just be romanticising the whole situation because Danny Duffy is pretty good hitting for most teams, but there seems to be more than meets the eye when it comes to young Mr. Nova.

    • Oscar Gamble’s Fro

      Or maybe he just made a deal with the devil. Equally plausible.

  • Gonzo

    F*ck yeah! That is all.

  • Rich in NJ

    Watching young players develop and become important contributors is as enjoyable as winning (or at least extremely close).

  • mustang

    Have to love Nova. No fanfare. No super prospect labels. Just a kid that developed, and is developing, into more then ANYONE thought he might be.

    • Will


      It is so refreshing in an age of “chosen one” prospects to see a guy who is turning into a potential star starting pitcher because of his OWN expectations of himself, not what slavering bloggers write about him. That self-motivation and determination to get better are Nova’s best qualities, and they are why I think this season is the beginning of a long, successful career for him.

      • mustang


        Very well said.

        • Will


          I think it is an interesting thought experiment to compare Nova to Hughes. Nothing against Phil (although I will admit he’s my least favorite Yankee), but whereas Hughes was clearly told from a very young age that he was going to be an awesome major league starter, and even more clearly internalized that to the point that he is unwilling or unable to make changes to try to improve, Nova seems to realize that being a good MLB player is incredibly difficult, and requires tons of work and (at times) minor reinventions. And that’s the kind of player I want to root for.

          We just saw another example of the bad side of this dichotomy in Montero’s debut. I want to root for the guy, but all I could think when I watched him in the last Boston game was that he’s the type of player that would fit perfectly on the Red Sox—seems to feel entitled, squats at the plate in the hopes of being able to complain about close pitches being called strikes, turns a HBP into a psychodrama, etc.

          • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

            Love this comment so much. Player doing poorly = irreconcilable character problems.
            Disgusting narrative.

          • FIPster Doofus

            Pretty solid troll attempt with that Montero assessment. Not falling for it, though.

          • gc

            Stop trying to get into the heads of these players or act as if you know what motivates them. You don’t. And you can insert the words “he seems to” all you want, it doesn’t take away from the fact that you’re basically talking out of your ass. You don’t know these players. You don’t like a guy, for whatever reason, so you assume he’s unwilling to try and improve?? Where do you get off even implying something like that?

    • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      He’s exactly what we thought he would be.


      • FIPster Doofus

        I’m not sure if a lot of people saw Nova putting up a 3.89/3.99/4.02 line in his first year and emerging as a go-to option for quality starts. Hell, he was largely hated on this website earlier in the season. I remember sticking up for Nova in May, saying the Yankees should ride it out with him, and catching shit for it.

        So, in sum, I think Ivan’s exceeding most fans’ expectations.

        • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

          I agree, he’s exceeding expectations. But only within his ceiling; he’s basically as good as he’ll ever be. Which, really, is fine.

          • Stan the Man

            Not sure what your comment means…you agree he is exceeding expectations but only within his ceiling??? Which other ceiling should he be exceeding?

  • LiterallyFigurative

    But, but….Nova didn’t strike out 10 batters, and his blah blah blah rating isn’t higher than Pineda’s. He stinks!

    The idea that we make snap judgements about a guys future career based off of a season (or two games, as we do here at RAB) is absurd.

    • mustang

      So agree.
      Now good luck getting that point across here…lol

    • mustang

      “The idea that we make snap judgements about a guys future career based off of a season (OR OFF HIS MINOR LEAGUE NUMBERS) (or two games, as we do here at RAB) is absurd.”

      • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

        Nova’s definitely outperforming some expectations, yes, but in reality, he’s EXACTLY what he was in the minors. He doesn’t strike out anyone, gets a decent amount of ground balls, and was league average. Nothing has changed.

        • SDM

          since he’s come back since the demotion he has been better. He strikes out an ok number of guys (about 6.6 k/9) he doesn’t walk anyone (almost 2 bb/9) and still gets those crazy numbers on ground balls

          • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

            All true, he’s been excellent in his 52.0 IP since coming back. I’m still willing to stack up his major and minor league career against this sample. Would be cool if it continued, though.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      The idea that we make snap judgements about a guys future career based off of a season (or two games, as we do here at RAB) is absurd.

      And yet that’s exactly what everyone’s doing here with Nova. He’s been perfectly league average this season but has been much better since coming back up from the minors. It’s been 7-8 starts.

      • Stan the Man

        Dude, you called for Nova to be banished to the minors in April/May…that would be an extremely small sample size, Nova is a major league pitcher and has proven he can handle the AL East, because he has pitched well all season, which by definition isn’t a small sample size since it is a season.

  • mustang

    The funnest thing is that if 2008 Phil Hughes would of done what Nova is doing now this thread would of been twice as long and mostly about him, but Nova barely gets a paragraph.
    Whatever! Just keep winning baby just keep winning.

    • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      Injured Phil Hughes didn’t get a chance to do this in 2008, but he did exactly this in 2007, three years younger than Nova is now, albeit in fewer innings.

  • Rich in NJ

    With regard to a Nova and Hughes comparison, I would like to see Hughes throw his curve as hard as Nova throws his. I think it would make it harder for hitters to pick up.

  • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

    Nova: 3.99 FIP (2% better than league average), 2.1 fWAR.

    Nova’s been solidly consistent, and he’s definitely outperforming expectations. He is far from being as good as people are making him out to be. A sub-6 K/9 is never anything to get excited about.

    • FIPster Doofus

      In an ideal world, everyone on the Yankees would be a strikeout pitcher, but you don’t to be a K/9 machine to have a prosperous career. Ask Tom Glavine.

      • FIPster Doofus

        *don’t have to be

        • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

          Glavine’s an interesting comp. I like it, too. The thing is, Glavine was merely an above-average pitcher during the years when he struck-out batters at a pace similar to Nova. It was when that rate spiked that he excelled. Interesting though.

      • http://www.twitter.com/hulkheyman HulkHeyman

        I would be ecstatic if Nova turned into Tom Glavine, he may not reach that but if he turns into a successful starter for the Yanks that’s all that counts.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      A sub-6 K/9 is never anything to get excited about.

      Whitey Ford’s career K/9 was 5.6, Catfish Hunter’s was 5.2, Wang’s is 4.0, and Greg Maddux’s career K/9 was 6.1.

      There is always more than one way to be effective.

      A high K/9 is looked upon so favorably because it is totally within the pitcher’s control; he’s not relying on his defense or BAPIP.

      • Kramerica Industries

        You have to take the context of era’s into account.

        I mean, I’m not well-versed on what the average K/9 rate was in the 50’s and 70’s, but I do know that strikeouts were much more of a rare occurrence in the days of Ruth and Gehrig.

  • Bronx Byte

    Build on the lead. Step on the necks of Boston and let their shitty pitching do the rest.
    All questions with Nova have been answered. The guy belongs and knows how to pitch for a 24 year old. He’s didn’t get the hype of Chamberlain, Hughes, or Kennedy which proves how good hype really is.

  • Damix

    Is Swisher or Andruw better defensively in RF?

    • Monteroisdinero

      I would take Jones. I think he is better at the wall and coming in on line drives. They are both slow with below average arms.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Andruw definitely does not have a below average arm, not even close.

        • Monteroisdinero

          Haven’t seen him throw out anyone this year but I’ll trust your opinion on this Mike-as long as you are with me in saying Swish has a below average arm.

          • CS Yankee

            Swish has the release of Dan Marino but couldn’t throw a rope to first if he was playing second.

            Jones arm is average, he is poised and well positioned but seems to “dog” it running. I would rather have Swish in the lineup as he keeps the team loose and is a switch-hitter. Glad they are both here this year though.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Nice win with fine contributions from the budget friendly Nova, Gardner and Nunez (in the field). I have liked Nova since seeing him pitch up close in a AAA game at Durham 2 years ago. Great stuff, long arms, smooth mechanics, great demeanor, resilient and now the confidence that comes from experience and some faith that his manager won’t pull him at the slightest sign of trouble.

    I noticed him working super quickly in a few innings last night and making Jays hitters look overmatched with huge movement on his curve. Impressive.

  • Coach J

    I have been saying this about Nova from the first time I saw him stand up against Joey Bats. He knows he plays for a story franchise and he has to represent the pinstripes. Basically we don’t back down for no one! The way he is pitching have me thinking some times that he is our #2, but pitches like he wants to take CC’s job as the ace of this team. Soon we will be rid of that next bust of a pitcher who got all that money because of Dice-K performance n we lost the bid for him to sucks.

  • Kramerica Industries

    Remember our concerns about the Yankees road-heavy 2nd half schedule?

    They’ve passed that test in flying colors.

    Here are their road records based on the according splits:

    Since the 2nd 81 games began: 21-15

    Since the 2nd half post-ASB began: 20-12

    In the month of August: 13-7 (they played 20 of 28 games on the road)

    They’re home record is 42-26, while their road record is 41-27. And, of course, they have a near 10 game cushion on a playoff spot with only 26 games left in the season. The only race that matters now is the division race.

    • Kramerica Industries

      I should note that their road:home ratios for the following are 36:19, 32:16, and as mentioned on the last one, 20:8.

      And this seems to be the same thing with the Red Sox. After last night’s loss, the Red Sox are 42-26 on the road, but 41-28 at home. Furthermore, since the 7/25, the Sox are 10-10 at home, 11-6 on the road. Interesting.

      I will say that, after the Yankees won on Thursday, that I’ve actually wondered that, as far as Yankees/Red Sox goes, if Yankee Stadium actually favors the Red Sox more-so than even Fenway does. The numbers speak for themselves: 4-5 at Fenway, which is pretty respectable and easily could’ve been 5-4 sans Mo’s blown save, but 0-6 in the Bronx, and only a couple of those games really being of the “could’ve gone either way” variety.

      We’ll have a better idea in three weeks I suppose.

  • ArchStanton

    One thing I like about Nova is when he was sent down in a numbers game, instead of pouting in AAA, he worked on his slider and made himself better. Says a lot about him I think.

    • CS Yankee


      Also this is the first time I recall that the FO was honest (or were they) or correct when they touted a guy that MSM & the fans overlooked.

      Bubba is our starting CF’er, etc.

  • Cuso

    Doncha f*ckin know!

    • Cuso

      reply FAIL

  • Coach J

    I want to call out the yankee pitchers n let them know that they have yankee fans around the world permission to beam Ortiz, gonzo, Elisbury, pedoria in their knees. This Tex 2nd game he is missing n As a yankee I am really piss because every yr the dirty red sucks always seem to hit our hitter with intensions to injured our players. Enough is enough it’s time for some payback n maybe their hitters will get on their pitchers to stay in the strike zone. AJ u have our permission. Maybe the commissioner or what the heck joe torre getting paid for.

    Go yankee!