Yanks rough up O’s, get first win of 2012

Pettitte goes three in first minor league outing
Robinson Cano and the Ian Kinsler contract

The Yankees finally got their first win of the season, though Monday’s game clearly proved that they just beat up on bad teams and can’t beat contenders. Isn’t that the narrative now?

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

What Do They Always Say About Spring Training?

Jeremy Hellickson allowed 20 runs in 20 IP this spring, then he damn near threw a complete game shutout against the Yankees on Sunday. Ivan Nova was nearly as bad as Hellickson in camp — 21 runs in 22.1 IP — but he also shook it off and came out throwing bullets on Monday night. The Yankees’ young right-hander wasn’t quite as dominant as Tampa’s young right-hander, but two runs over seven innings is more than enough to succeed in this town. Nova did allow ten hits — six for extra bases — but he struck out seven and walked zero. Seven grounders against seven fly balls is a bit out of character, however.

It was all about command for Nova, the one thing that most eluded him in Spring Training. He did a fine job of keeping the fastball down and was able to get weak swings at his breaking stuff when ahead in the count. The Orioles had runners on base in every inning but the second, so yeah, it wasn’t the cleanest game. This start was basically a bad Ivan Nova start from the second half of last year, and that’s still pretty good.

The Cap’n

(REUTERS/Patrick Smith)

Derek Jeter has led three of the four games off with a hit this year, including this one. It was part of a 4-for-4 night, which included three singles and big opposite field double. Although he only scored one run and drove in another, Jeter seemed to be in the middle of every rally the Yankees put together, either starting it or extending it. He’s got a robust .412/.444/.471 batting line through four games, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that two of those games were started by left-handers. The Cap’n still does his best work against southpaws, as we saw in this one.

Sadly, Jeter also dropped down a sac bunt in the sixth after the first three batters of the inning reached base. Four of the six men they sent to the plate reached base that inning, with the exceptions being Jeter on the bunt and Alex Rodriguez‘s inning-ending double play. Derek was 3-for-3 at that point, and it sure would be nice to see him swing the bat in that spot rather than “play the game the right way.” Nitpicking, I suppose.

The Adventures of Eduardo

I can’t imagine any utility infielder has ever been as polarizing as Eduardo Nunez. Starting in place of A-Rod at third base, Nunez managed to flub a somewhat routine ground ball in the third, make a diving catch of a line drive in the fourth, and run in circles before catching a pop-up in the ninth. He also singled, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and got hit by a pitch. The Orioles are throwing another southpaw tomorrow, and I’m willing to bet Nunez will be in the lineup again. I’m thinking second base this time.

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)


David Robertson and Mariano Rivera got their first work in since Opening Day, each throwing a scoreless inning. Robertson allowed two hits and struck out two, Mo went one and one. I was telling myself this morning that Joe Girardi would probably go all-in with his bullpen if they had a lead just to get that first win of the season. This didn’t really qualify as going all-in, but I can’t imagine we’ll see Robertson and Mo pitch with four runs leads all that often this year.

Every Yankee had a hit except for Nick Swisher (two walks) and A-Rod (one walk). Here’s a fun little factoid: four games in, the offense has drawn 25 walks while striking out just 18 times as a team. That’s pretty nuts. Al from Miami has six walks and two strikeouts on the season. Curtis Granderson doubled, Andruw Jones homered (off a righty specialist!), and a bunch of other guys had singles. Poor Brian Matusz had no chance, he had to work for every strike and the Yankees were making him pay when he made a mistake.

I don’t understand why both runners were on the move when A-Rod had a full count in the second inning. Matt Wieters is arguably the best defensive catcher in baseball — threw out 37% of base stealers last season — and they had Matusz on the ropes. A-Rod struck out and Jeter was thrown out at third. Rally and inning over. I don’t think teams send runners in 3-2 counts enough, but you have to pick your spots better. Not against Wieters.

As for that little dust up at the end of the game, apparently the Yankees felt Robert Andino was relaying location to the hitter while on second base and Russell Martin said something to him after the final out was recorded. Normally I’d say he might catch a fastball in the ribs for that, but Freddy Garcia and his nothingball are going on Tuesday. Words might hurt more.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score and no highlights, and ESPN the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees will look for their first winning streak of the season on Tuesday, when Garcia gives it a go against Taiwanese import Wei-Win Chen. It’ll be his big league debut after spending seven years in the Japanese league. Dude’s still only 26, he got started early. That’s another night game.

Pettitte goes three in first minor league outing
Robinson Cano and the Ian Kinsler contract
  • Jimmy McNulty

    Phew! I was worried they might go 0-162 for a second… At any rate, it’s odd that Nova had the shittiest spring but so far the best opening start out of anyone. Yay for that. Ivan Nova allowed too many XBHs, but 82 pitches in seven innings, no walks and ten Ks (though only five swinging strikes) is still mighty swell.

  • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

    Nunez screwed up again?
    I know it’s a huge punchline here, but what the hell? $200 million and they don’t have someone who can catch and throw a damn ball?

    • whozat

      …and swing a decent bat? Nope. Anyone who can play decent SS and swing a decent bat starts for someone else.

      If all they needed was someone who can catch and throw a damn ball, Ramiro Pena would be on the team instead of Nunez. But that is clearly not all they feel they need.

      • jim p

        They’ve got to look for a possible SS/3B fill in down that aging road. So why not try a guy with a bat who might be able to learn to field? It’s happened before that lousy-fielding young guys figure it out as they go along.

  • Plank

    I wouldn’t expect Robertson to pitch like he did last season, but what is the worst stat line he could put up this year that wouldn’t be considered a disappointment?

    Or, to put it another way: What’s the best stat line that he could put up that would be considered a disappointment?

    • Jesse

      Maybe a combination of his 2009 and 2010 seasons perhaps?

      3.60 ERA, 11.5 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, .8 HR/9

  • pat

    I like Nunez and there’s nothing you motherf*ckers can do about it. NOONEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

  • mustang

    Loved Nova and they are only 2.5 games of back with 158 games to go.

    Noesi ouch! So much for the sleeper in the deal, but he also has 158 games to go maybe.

    • mustang

      37 and declining

      LOVE IT!!!!

  • Voice of Reason

    Does this mean Nova can hold off on Tommy John surgery for now?

  • Darren

    is ozzie guillen done?

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      He’s gotta be the dumbest mother fucker who ever lived saying that ignorant shit about Castro in Miami of all places when the team is trying to fill a new ballpark.

      Some people just can never keep their mouths shut. It’ll serve him right if the Cuban population goes bat shit crazy and forces him to be fired.

      • Gonzo

        “I respect Ozzie Guillen. You know why? A lot of people have wanted Ozzie fired for the last 10 years, but that (expletive) is still here.”

        -Jay Mariotti

        • MannyGeee


    • Plank

      I don’t get why what he said is so bad. I just read the quotes and the apology.

      I realize saying anything that could be construed as positive toward Castro (which this wasn’t) in Miami is bad, but from an objective standpoint, what’s the big deal?

      • fin

        I think the big deal as far as a business stand point goes, is that one of the upper management of your organization is stupid enough to say anything like that, while trying to fill a new stadium with a bunch of Cuban immegrans that hate Castro. It really has to make them wonder if hes capable of handling his position.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        There’s nothing wrong with what Ozzie said. It’s just that my tios and tias play by a different set of rules regarding this thing called “free speech” than anyone else.

      • Dummies Playing With Balls (formerly Rainbow Connection)

        This is America, where you can be fired for having an opinion – even if someone asked for your opinion. America’s biggest export is fake outrage and people pretending to be victims of words.

        Ronan Tynan was fired from the Yankees for (in his own apartment building, not at work) saying Jewish women were…get this…Jewish women.
        Off with his head!!! Right Kabak?

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

          Let me guess, you’re one of those people that thinks “freedom of speech” means you can say whatever you want with no consequences?

      • nsalem

        No RAB or MLB in Cuba thats the big deal

    • MannyGeee

      How does this become part of the conversation with Ozzie Guillen? was part of the interview discussing dictatorship and its place in history? Were they comparing his management style? it really sounds like he was set up and the interviewer was looking to get Ozzie to say something stupid…

      And even then he worked too hard. just let him go on a rant, he’ll call someone an asshole eventually.

    • Ray Fuego

      I sure hope not. The media has a bias against anything Cuba related, that’s a part of their game. He didn’t say he loved communism/socialism. All he said was that he admired the man for still being alive after so many years of assassination attempts and being in power for so long. Although Hitler was a madman, a murderer and a lunatic, he was still a great speaker, Fidel is also. These people have done terrible things, no one is denying that, but they also had a few good qualities. It’s just a shame they didn’t put their talents to good use.

      • mike

        You, my friend, are so off base its a little scary someone lets you use a computer.

        Being a fiery speaker while demonizing your own citizens, then using bogeymen to subjugate, imprision and execute a class of people or ethnic group to cover your own failures is criminal, immoral and likely would get you tried at the Hague for crimes against humanity.

        Ozzie is Venezuelan, and their country has been simpatico with Cuba since the Soviet Union cut off Cuba – the Cubans trade their educated doctors and teachers (and dignity) to Chavez’s oil. When Ozzie says he loves Chavez and Castro, its not outrageous because he and his countrymen are reaping a benefit according to the state-controlled media in both nations since us evil Yanquis are the source of all evil.

        I just hoped that a millionaire professional who has lived and enjoyed the freedom of the US would not be such an imbicile…but again what do you expect froma big-mouth imbicile

    • Brendan

      The Marlins gave him a five-day suspension — kind of like throwing red meat to the local fans in Miami. There were reports that government officials in Miami-Dade have asked the Marlins to fire him.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Solid win all the way around.

    Agree with Mike that it was ridiculous for Jeter to sacrifice when he’s been on fire lately. Absolutely no reason to give the Orioles a free out.

    Decent game by Nunez though he still has to tighten up that defense.

    Also nice to see Nova miss some bats tonight. K’s, ground balls and no walks gives him a lot more room for error.

  • Brian S.

    Think Russ gets beaned tomorrow for getting in that spat with Andino?

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

      I don’t think the Orioles are in a position to hand out free baserunners, but Showalter likes to act tough.

      • Pat D

        I’d say charge the mound in retaliation, but they can’t afford to lose Martin.

        So long as Garcia plunks Wieters or someone else as payback should it happen. Damned umps better not call a warning if Martin gets hit first.

      • fin

        I cant see Buck ordering a beaning. He has no skin in the game, and one of his players will eventually take one in retaliation if Russ gets hit. I think he would loose respect if he did that. What the players will do, who knows. I doubt Russ gets beaned though.

  • https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q8RFNa3jDuU1oiw_aTiNs7N9SjwYgFJ-U_UPaUrlpA8/edit Johnny

    Everybody had a good game. Girardi managed well—I thought the move to go to his defensive players (Gardner for Jones) once the lead was locked down was a good one. Nova seemed really good. I was wrong for thinking that his poor spring was due to a lingering injury or something. Even the position players were great. Jones proved he could hit a righty; Gardner a lefty; Jeter hit four times; Teixeira drove one to opposite field. Even Nunie redeemed himself.

    Writing all that, this was a GD great performance.

    Still unclear why Jeter decides it’s a good idea to drop bunts down, but if he goes 4-4 I guess we can let it slide.

    • https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q8RFNa3jDuU1oiw_aTiNs7N9SjwYgFJ-U_UPaUrlpA8/edit Johnny

      Also, this Matt Wieters character becomes a free agent in four years. Fingers crossed the Orioles don’t pull some Joey Votto-like voodoo. Prepare the checkbook ready, Cashman.

      • fin

        Hard to imagine that the O’s dont give him a monster extension and keep him, sometime during the next year or two. If they plan on ever contending you would have to think hes the guy they build around.

        • The Scheister

          Normally you describe a great throwing catcher as having a “cannon for an arm”, but great cannons are described as “firing like Matt Wieters”


  • Tom

    A bit off topic, but since there’s no open thread, hope it’s OK….

    Ian Kinsler agreed to a 5y/75mil deal with the Rangers (starts in 2013 and replaces his 2013 contract year)

    While Cano will command more than 15mil per, maybe this will keep things a bit under control? (of course we’re talking a Boras client so it may be completely irrelevant what Kinsler got)

    But I’m wondering if the Yankees should do the same… Starting the contract in 2013 (and tearing up the club option) may give a very small benefit on the AAV calculation. Probably no more than a mil, but it still would help.

    • Guest

      You don’t switch to Boras as free agency approaches without trying to go big. Really big.

      My guess is Boras will be looing for 10 yrs 200 mill and will be able to find one team that is willing to go 8 yrs 160.

      I am not saying that 8 yrs 160 is a prudent contract for Cano (it isn’t), but I would be very surprised — given the other big time contracts — we have seen recently if Cano signs for a penny less.

  • David Ortizs Dealer

    Jeter’s bunt was just wrong,… huge hole on the right side why not hit and run instead of just give up an out.

  • Matt :: Sec110

    “and run in circles before catching a pop-up in the ninth.”

    I like the failure to mention that the wind was crazy at the end of the game and carried that ball.

    • Monterowasdinero

      Yes-Nunez is the goat right now here but he does something good in just about every game he plays and the net result with him in the lineup has been quite good. If ARod or DJ get injured for a month I don’t think we suffer in the win/loss column. Nunez also doesn’t seem to let pressure or a failed defensive play get him down either. Good attitude, good teammate, good hustle, not a head case.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Martin at least gets brushed back but only CC (tomorrow) would retaliate.

      Jeter will bunt with no outs first and second all year. Get used to it. Second and third one out with #2 and 3 hitters up is high leverage in the binder.

      • Steve (different one)

        Right, except Jeter is most likely doing that on his own, as he has admitted many times in the past. but I guess next to Nunez, the binder is the next biggest goat….

        • Monterowasdinero

          I was at the game and Jeter looked down for a sign before the bunt. I guess the sign was:

          “Do whatever the hell you want”

          • Jim Is Bored

            To be fair, Jeter looks for a sign before every at bat. Not just that one. Frequently the sign actually is “Do your thing”.

  • the Other Steve S.

    Top of the 8th would have been a good spot to see Tex or Grandy break out the bunt. But why do that when you can hit into the shift and make an out?

    • jjyank

      I’m torn on the subject. On the one hand, I would love to see Grandy (less so Tex) lay down a bunt or two and make the shift look stupid. On the other hand, Both of those guys could go yard in any given at bat, and a home run > a bunt single. I see the argument from both sides. As far as Tex goes, I don’t think his problem is not bunting, but he needs to re-learn how to go the other way. We kept hearing all offseason that he is aware of the problem and he’s going to fix it. Before he came to the Yanks, Tex wasn’t a deal pull hitter that had a Giambi-shift on him at all times. He admitted the Short Porch has influenced his style of play, and what he needs to do is to figure out how to hit to the opposite field again.

      • MannyGeee

        I would put money on Granderson laying down a bunt next time they play the Tampa Shift.

      • the Other Steve S.

        My point is, it’s late in the game, you have a 4 run lead, Mo is warming up, what better time to try it out? Send that message! Hell, there’s not even a short porch in Camden. Just do it! I hope MannyGee is right. I think Grandy will try it. Tex? I think all the bunt talk was just bluff from him. He thinks he’s the Babe.

        • jjyank

          Yeah I agree that if they’re going to try it, that would have been a good situation to do it in. Tex worries me because I don’t have any idea when the last time he bunted was. Can he even do it in a game situation? It would have to be a good bunt too, he’s slow and he would have to be sure to get it past the pitcher otherwise he’s out anyway.

          On the flip side, maybe just the mere attempt helps diminish the shift in the future? I have no idea. Probably not against Maddon, but maybe other managers. Who knows.

          Grandy on the other hand has some speed and can get away with a less-than-perfect bunt.

    • Robinson Tilapia


      • jjyank


  • jjyank

    Glad to get that first win out of the way. Nova looked pretty good, nice to see yet another example of not paying attention to spring training stats. I know it was against the O’s, but if Nova can pitch like that all year, that’s a huge plus for this rotation. He was getting some nasty looking swings on the breaking ball.

    Hope Jeter can keep up the pace too. Considering he won’t actually get moved down in the lineup, it would be nice if he defy Father Time.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    It’s only one start but Cy Noesi got killed by Texas last night.

    Also wondering where his 98 MPH fastball we were hearing about went since PitchFx had him averaging 92.4.

    • MannyGeee

      and Jesus is 3-16 on the season.

      and Pineda has a sore shoulder…

      but Campos is tha Truth!!!!!


    • Mike HC

      Same. I was also expecting the consistent 95mph heat from what we were hearing, which was basically non existent. He was throwing about as hard as last year.

  • nsalem

    If Nunez continues to play at this pace (which I think is a good idea) do you think Pena would be more valuable to us than Chavez because late inning defense will become more of a factor as the season goes on. If he doesn’t settle down, late innings will become a scary propositions with him out there. The other option would be giving up the DH if indeed the player he is replacing that night is the DH.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I remember at least one awful Pena defensive blunder last year. The grass is always greener.

      You either work with Nunez to get better or find a vet. Ramiro Pena grows on trees.

      • jjyank

        This. If I am remembering correctly (I may not be, who knows), I seem to recall Nunez getting better defensively as the season went on and he got more playing time. Hopefully regular reps can shore up his fielding, because Nunez would be a pretty valuable bench piece if he can. Plays 2B, SS, 3B, can fake an OF spot in an emergency, has some pop in the bat.

        I’d rather role the dice with Nunez than Pena.

      • nsalem

        Pena had a bad day last summer where I think he made two errors in one game, but he has been
        here for parts of 3 seasons where he has played well defensively so referencing one game isn’t exactly fair. Nunez will have probably get better in time but right now I think he is a candidate for needing to be replaced for defensive purposes in the late innings. I don’t blame him. Until last year he only played 6 games at third in the minors, so I don’t think he was properly prepared to play that position on a major league level. True a John McDonald type may be a better option then Pena, but I don’t know if the organization would be looking to spend the extra million or so to bring in a vet during this period of austerity.

    • MannyGeee

      nah, Chavez is a manimal with the glove. and can hit a lick.

      (if healthy)

      (HUUUUGE if)

      • nsalem

        My worry about Chavez is there are very few roles for him on this team. If he was here to back up A-Rod and get in 30 to 40 games over the year with some DH action that would be find, However Nunez is getting the back-up 3rd base spot and Ibanez has the lefty DH role. There seems to be little need for him here other than late inning replacement for Nunez and to PH for a catcher (something Girardi is usually reluctant to do unless the situation is desperate. Someone who is solid defensively at 3rd short and second may be better suited for this team than Chavez.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    The usual gang will always find something to hate (XBH, reaaaaally?), but Nova was flat-out awesome last night. Got himself out of every jam and was mowing them down. Went seven, just like he was doing at the end of the season. How could you ask for anything more?

    • Adam Parker

      Toy Yoda!

  • JohnC

    NUnez might be better off in the long run as an outfielder. He is a gifted athlete. COuld be shifted to RF next season if they don’t re-sign Swisher

  • JW

    Question for those who watched: did Nova really pitch that much better than Hughes, or was it just a matter of facing a far inferior team?

    • jjyank

      I thought he looked better than Hughes. It’s hard to tell when its the Rays vs. the O’s, but it seemed like Nova was keeping the ball low more often than not, hitting his spots, showing a nice looking curveball that got some ugly swing and misses. And he was efficient too, despite allowing all the hits. He probably could have pitched the 8th he needed to.

      Hughes didn’t look bad at all either, and maybe that is a function of the better team. But Nova looked better to me last night.

  • bill

    As a yankee fan how can you not love nova? Has that arrogance/cockiness that every good pitcher needs and after all of the “great” pitching prospects we were supposed to have this guy wasn’t protected from the rule 5 draft, goes to the padres, comes back and is one of the more reliable arms in our rotation. Ada boy Nova

    • jjyank

      I love the guy who wasn’t a big time prospect come up and exceed expectations. What would we have all said here on RAB if I had told you the year Nova was selected in the Rule 5 draft that by 2011 he would be pitching game 2 of the playoffs for us?

  • gc

    If other teams continue to stockpile their lefties and throw them against the Yankees as they seem to do, then Jeter’s massive expected decline might be held off for a while.

  • Monterowasdinero

    Nova is young, healthy, cheap and homegrown. I love the guy. I have met him too and he is funny and has a great demeanor. I still remember him joking with Igawa at SWB telling all the kids that Kei was Ichiro. He has 4 quality pitches. I can’t fault him for throwing a 2-0 changeup that Weiters hit out down the line. Phil won’t throw many 2-0 changeups (yet).

    Remember when Nova couldn’t get through the magical 5th inning? Thank God he has put that in Girardi’s rear view mirror.

    • jjyank

      On the last point, I think that had a lot to do with Nova’s slider. He was a different animal when he came back from his demotion and that improved slider has really helped him get through the lineup as it turns over a couple times.

    • mustang

      I like the fact that he kind of came out of nowhere with little fanfare and not much expectations from the so call experts.
      Also at his young age he has managed to keep his nose clean. No public off the field problems or bitch sessions when he got sent down just doing his job, acting mature, and enjoying the game its very refreshing to see.