Nova strong in return as Yankees hold off Rays

Thunder drop Game 4, lose Championship Series
Poll: Brian Cashman's job security

Source: FanGraphs

For the 20th consecutive season, the Yankees will finish the year with a winning record. They won their 82nd game of the season on Saturday afternoon, an important win over the Rays in a tight division race. Let’s recap…

  • Back-to-Back: Jamie Shields is as tough a right-hander as you’ll find in the league, but he can be a little homer prone. The Yankees took advantage of that weakness in the second inning, as Curtis Granderson (two-run) and Eduardo Nunez (solo) went back-to-back to open the scoring. Granderson’s homer was his fifth in the last six games and 39th of the season while Nunez’s was his first of the year. Raul Ibanez, who came into the game on a 3-for-48 skid, deserves some credit for working a walk ahead of Grandy’s dinger.
  • Nova’s Back: After roughly three weeks on the DL with a sore shoulder, Ivan Nova returned to the rotation and looked an awful lot like the guy he was in the second half of last season. He was limited to 80-90 pitches but still managed to strike out eight in six innings, allowing just one run on a solo homer by Evan Longoria with two outs in the sixth. No biggie. Nova was throwing hard (averaged 94.07 with the fastball) and got 15 swings and misses, including seven apiece on the fastball and curveball. The most important thing was his location — he kept the ball down and out of the middle of the plate, and his breaking pitches broke out of the zone instead of right into it. Ivan was very good and I really hope this is the guy we’re going to see the rest of the way. That would be an enormous help.
  • Bullpen Near-Meltdown: Things got a little interesting late, as Boone Logan (double, one out) and Joba Chamberlain (single, two outs) allowing the runner they inherited from Nova to score as well as one more for good measure. Luke Scott’s two-strike, two-out, two-run ground ball single through the right side off Joba was the back-breaker; it looked like they would escape the inning unscathed. David Robertson tossed a perfect eighth before Rafael Soriano put the tying run on-base in the ninth, though he got out of the inning without a run scoring. After Nova allowed six baserunners in six innings, but the bullpen put four men on base in three innings.
  • Leftovers: The Yankees went 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position as Derek Jeter plated Ichiro Suzuki (who singled and stole second) with a two-out, full count single in the fifth before Alex Rodriguez singled in Robinson Cano (who doubled on a ball that turned B.J. Upton around in center) in the eighth. Both singles line drives right back up the middle, textbook hitting in those situations … the only starter who failed to reach base was Eric Chavez, though Cano and A-Rod were the only players to reach twice. has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. The Orioles are out on the West Coast, and if they beat the Athletics they’ll remain tied with the Yankees for first place in the AL East and they lost to the Athletics so they are one game out in the divison. The Rays are four games back either way. Hiroki Kuroda and Matt Moore square off in the rubber game of this series on Sunday afternoon. Check out RAB Tickets for some last-minute ticket deals.

Thunder drop Game 4, lose Championship Series
Poll: Brian Cashman's job security
  • Robinson Tilapia

    An effective Nova and a healthy and effective Andy to go along with Phil Phucking Hughes and the certainly serviceable David Phelps in taking some of the load off a struggling (for him) CC Sabathia. That…..might actually be rotation that can build on a one-game lead the rest of the way!

    • RetroRob

      Depth is important. The focus will be on the return of Nova and then Pettitte next Tuesday, but that also pushes Phelps back to to the pen, which could be just as important by providing much needed help in a pen that’s blown quite a few leads. More Phelps (and, yes, even Freddy) means less Eppley, or better yet, Eppley being used in conjunction with Rapada as one-out pitchers.

      The loss of two starters forced two pen guys into the rotation, just as the Yankees needed more arms in the pen. The strain on the pen was as much a reason for the Yankees mediocre play as has been the hitting.

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    Slightly related: Orioles pitcher Steve Johnson threw a wild pitch.

    During an intentional walk.

    The A’s are winning.

    That is all.


    We can essentially knock the Rays out of the division race tomorrow with a W. It would give us a 5 game lead with 16 to play and no HTH games left with the Rays, they would be looking for a WC berth.

    Oakland up 5-2 in the Os in the 7th. They are getting the job done for us.

    • pepe

      We still have a 3 game set in Oakland. And O’s have a really easy schedule. 3 vs sea, 6 vs boston, 4 vs toronto.

      It could actually come out 3 al east teams in playoffs. Oakland still has 3 vs Detroit, 3 vs Yankees, and 3 vs Texas: all of which are on the road.

      This is gonna be a nailbiter. oakland is only 2 back from texas and detroit is only 1 back from the CWS. Even angels could make a move because they still 6 games vs texas.

      The NL it is only coming down to 1 wildcard slot, which is way less fun.

      • FIPster Doofus

        “We still have a 3 game set in Oakland”

        It’s in New York.

        Your point about Baltimore’s easy schedule is right, but aside from Oakland, NYY’s remaining sked consists of horrible teams – seven games against Toronto, and three apiece with Boston and Minnesota.

  • Joe

    Solo top the division!

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    A’s win!

    Alone in first!

    Down to 17, motherfuckers!

    • Joe

      17 is the magic number and the number of games left right?

  • Get Phelps Up

    Good job, A’s. We appreciate it.

  • tipsie

    Man, the A’s are tough. At least when they whooped us in July, it wasn’t a mirage.

  • Kramerica Industries

    Oakland does the deed.

    They’re only two games behind Texas. And the Rangers sure as hell aren’t collapsing. What a ridiculous run they’ve been on. And the Rangers and A’s still meet seven more times this season.

    • pepe

      I’m sure glad that we face the sox the last 3 games of the season while the O’s and Rays will be going head to head.

  • DERP

    Baltimore is starting Randy Wolf tomorrow lol

  • jim p

    It seems to me more than once in the last years, a pitcher stopped throwing for two weeks, near the middle part of the season, and came back strong. I wonder if that’s something a manager would engineer if they had the starting depth, if it would be a wise thing to do.

    • pepe

      a 162 game season is very tedious and exhausting. They are certainly refreshed, but how many teams have the depth, and say CC at 70% strength is still better than most minor leaguers.

      • toad

        I’ve had the same thought as jim P.

        It might not be as hard as all that. Give a guy two weeks off after a start and you lose 2-3 starts. That will cost you, on average, maybe one win in those games.

        Is it worth that to get a regular starter a break and a chance to get back to full strength? Seems so to me, though I could be wrong.

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    Playing the A’s is going to suck.

    • Brian S.

      Their pitching won’t be as tough away from the Coliseum. But yeah they are arguably a better team than we are.

      • Kramerica Industries

        Oakland was just on a 12 game road winning streak.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It’ll be even sweeter, then.

      • Rocky Road Redemption

        I’m not sure how arguable it is right now.

        • G

          Well on paper the Yankees are still quite clearly a better team than the A’s. It’s just they’ve been getting everything right lately. I certainly wouldn’t call them a better built team.

      • DT

        Hotter team. By the numbers…the Yanks are better.

        • pepe

          Some of the players that have gotten significant time is nuts. Who thought that coco and gomes would absolutely revitalize their careers. Yet they are still have offensive black holes at Catcher, 2nd, ss, and 3rd.

          Losing Colon and McCarthy is going to really hurt this last 2 weeks of the season. Its crazy though, People go down and they bring up rookies like straily and griffin who immediately get it.

  • pepe

    Nunez is filling in very nicely for jeter. Also nice to see nova has his mojo back.

    • Kosmo

      one 6 inning stint does not mojo make, but it´s a good sign.

    • TheLastClown

      Aside from his blowing the first game in this series, sure.

  • JLC 776

    I’m not looking forward to playing Oakland again. They terrify me.

  • Jose M. Vazquez

    It’s good to see Arod going back up the middle with two strikes instead of swinging for the fences. That’s what he used to do when he was a .300 hitter with Seattle and Texas.

    • TheLastClown

      He hit .300 three times as a Yankee.

      • Jose M. Vazquez

        Yes but he had stopped going up the middle with two strikes at least during the past 2-3 years.

  • JohnC

    Sucks that we didn’t get Cespedes

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Real easy to say now. Much harder to say when all you knew was YouTube box-jumping.

      • CP

        Box jumping is the key to a successful MLB career.

  • Joe

    Good morning first place!

  • David K.

    Nova has the best stuff on this team: best combination of velocity plus late movement on his fastball, late break on his breaking pitches. He has ace level stuff. A lot of it is learning how to pitch and not losing his head during the 2 or 3 difficult parts of a game. He’s definitely got more talent than Phil Hughes. I can’t believe this guy was thrown in the garbage heap twice but that we got him back. We better hang on to both Nova and Hughes for the next few years. We might be seeing our No. 1 and 2 starters for the future.

    • Monterowasnotdinero

      Agree with this. Great stuff, great demeanor, great length, great age, great contract.

      Also Nunez has a helluva arm and is/will improve with playing time and less jitters and pressure.

    • Bo Knows

      I generally agree with you, but it’s not Nova head that’s getting in the way it’s his command. He really does have the best pure arm on the team (if Pineda is able to come back strong he’ll have the best raw stuff) but his command this year took a huge step back to the point that you would be better suited calling it “batting practice”.

      I’ve said it before many times that if he can marry his command from last season with the strides that both his breaking pitches have made as knock out weapons he can be a well above average pitcher (probably not Ace caliber but a strong #2 is certainly possible) hopefully next year he’ll be able to do it; because so far he’s had one good year with bad peripherals, a bad year with good peripherals

  • oldmanalex

    what are the numbers for AROD after coming off the DL? I know he isn’t exactly carrying the team, but visually he looks like he’s pretty damn good (minus a few times where he’s been getting blown away).

  • Gio

    Nova allowed 2 runs – the Longoria homer and the man he allowed to get on to start the 7th.