Yankees roughed up again in loss to Tigers


In what has become a theme early in the season, the Yankees neither pitched well nor hit well on Friday afternoon against the Tigers. The result was an 8-3 loss, the team’s third in its first four games of the year.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

No(va) Command
Although the results were mostly the same (four runs in 4.2 innings), Ivan Nova did not look like the guy we saw last year. Last season he threw a lot of strikes and gave up a ton of hard contact. On Friday it was death by a thousand cuts, meaning constant nibbling and deep counts. Of the 21 men he faced, five saw a hitter friendly 2-0 count, eight saw a full count, 12 saw at least five pitches in their at-bat, and only eight saw a first pitch strike. Nova needed 96 pitches (53 strikes) to record 14 outs.

One start, the first start of the season no less, isn’t the end of the world obviously. It sure would have been nice for Nova to come out and instill some confidence after his ugly 2012 season, but instead we’re left with the same questions and more. Was he nibbling because he was just off? Was he gun shy after getting hit so hard last year? Can he be an effective starter in the big leagues? Was the second half of 2011 a mirage? Who knows, but it’s pretty clear the team will give Ivan every chance to succeed. Too bad he hasn’t has much actually success over the last 18 months.

Death By Bullpen
I said the other day that Boone Logan scares me because of his barking elbow and last year’s workload and all that, but I guess we should add middle of the plate fastballs to that list as well. Brought in to face Prince Fielder and clean up Nova’s men on corners, two outs mess in the fifth inning, the team’s only lefty reliever left a fat two seamer up and over the heart of the plate — it was actually way up and out of the zone — that Fielder crushed for a three-run homer.

If Logan manages to retire Prince and preserves the lead, who knows what happens after that. Instead, the game was effectively over given the no-show offense. Just to make sure things were completely out of reach, de facto long-man Shawn Kelley allowed a two-run bomb to Fielder two innings later. The first dinger hit the short fence just over the yellow homer line, but the second one was a bomb that landed several rows up. Prince usually doesn’t get cheated. He worked the Yankees over on Friday.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Three Token Runs
Four games into the season, the Yankees have yet to score more than four runs in a game. It wasn’t until their 17th game of the season that they scored four or fewer runs for the fourth time last year. Yep, the days of a powerhouse offense are long gone.

The Yankees scored all three of their runs in the fifth inning, when Brett Gardner scampered home on a wild pitch before Kevin Youkilis clubbed a two-run homer to left-center, his first of the season. He’s the 69th player to homer for both the Yankees and Red Sox. The Bombers actually had plenty of chances against Detroit starter Doug Fister, putting a man on-base in all five of his innings and multiple men on-base in three of those five innings. They couldn’t touch lefty long reliever Drew Smyly though, he retired all 12 men he faced for the save. New York is very weak against southpaws right now.

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Eduardo Nunez left the game in the fourth inning after taking a Fister pitch to the right biceps. The replay wasn’t all that helpful and it was unclear if the ball hit him in the arm or the chest. Given the mound of pain he was in, I was worried it got the collarbone. Thankfully, x-rays were negative and it’s just a bruise. He’s day-to-day.

Robinson Cano hit a ground ball single through the right side, a ball that would have been scooped right up by the Red Sox’s infield shift. As Mark Simon was kind enough to show with a heat map, opponents have been pounding Robbie away this year — 43 of the 59 pitches he’s seen in the four games were on the outer third or off the plate away. At some point Cano will adjust and start lacing those ball to the opposite field … I think.

Youkilis had a single in addition to the homer while Travis Hafner singled — he tried to check his swing and wound up poking the ball into shallow left — and drew a walk. Brennan Boesch also singled and made a real nice leaping catch at the wall to rob Fielder of another extra-base hit. Lyle Overbay drew a walk, Chris Stewart slapped a single back through the box, and Gardner got hit by a pitch. That’s the offense right there.

David Robertson became the final member of the Opening Day roster to appear in a game, throwing a perfect eighth inning on just four pitches. It was just a “David needs work” thing, not a “we’re still in this game so let’s keep it close” thing, unfortunately.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
It’s the first FOX Saturday afternoon game of the year, so get ready for some Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Phil Hughes will be activated off the DL to make the start with David Phelps shifting to the bullpen to help an already overworked relief corps. Max Scherzer will be on the bump for the Tigers.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. The Real Greg says:

    So far the pitching has been the major disappointment with this team. We knew the offense was going to be meh but the pitching was supposed to be solid.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      CC shouldn’t surprise you. He does this every year.

      Impossible to judge Kuroda, although Warren’s outing was very encouraging.

      Andy: Enough said.

      I don’t think anyone was claiming Ivan Nova was going to be a solid part of anything.

      Boone Logan was overworked to hell last year and is a question mark to just about every reader here. Cody Eppley and Shawn Kelley are ass-end-of-the-bullpen guys who you shouldn’t be seeing as often as you’re seeing them. They were idiots for picking either of those two over Aardsma. That move made this bullpen worse.

      Mo is Mo. Robertson is Robertson. Joba is Joba.

      I don’t see much surprising going on here. Perhaps others were OVERestimating the pitching.

    • dalelama says:

      Today in History for 5th April 1965

      - 37th Academy Awards – “My Fair Lady,” Rex Harrison & J Andrews win
      - Lava Lamp Day celebrated
      - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

    • Wolfgangs Fault says:

      Activating Hughes for tomorrow’s start dishes an unhealthy dollop of way too early season desperation; no? Gotta believe Hal, Levine, & the other geniuses in the FO are already throwing furniture around. Cashman better keep those crutches close by and handy.

  2. forensic says:

    The Logan appearance, and inevitable result, really seemed like a punch to the gut for the team. They looked completely defeated after that since they had finally just battled back to get the lead.

    On the plus side, it allowed me to get a little nap in after getting up early for the game knowing that it was, for all intents and purposes, over.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      It felt like a death blow at the time. For many reasons. Not the least of which is the anemic offense. Trying to make up an kind of lead is going to be tough for these guys.
      It was also just an emotional wallop. Hitting a big homer off the lefty “specialist” is huge.
      And the fact that Detroit owns us doesn’t help.
      After that inning the Yanks didn’t put a runner on base. That’s humiliating.

  3. LarryM Fl says:

    I watched the Nova interview offered by the Yes Network. He indicated that he didn’t pitch that bad. If he had to hit a barn from 60’6″, he would have a tough time. Pitch counts are important just as first pitch strikes. Someone please tell Nova.

  4. BrienTaylorsRookieCard says:

    I’m looking forward to some Tim McCarver tomorrow. Just kidding – I like baseball.

  5. forensic says:

    I saw for the first time a few days ago that he’s finally retiring after this year though.

    So sad to see him go…

  6. OldYanksFan says:

    DETROIT — It seems increasingly unlikely that Derek Jeter will play for the New York Yankees before May.

    Manager Joe Girardi said on Friday that Jeter was likely to need close to a “full spring training reset” once he is cleared to begin playing games again. Jeter, who remained behind in Tampa to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left ankle, currently has no timetable to return to baseball activities.

    • forensic says:

      This isn’t surprising. I expect the same thing for Granderson and Teixeira too. That’s why I don’t believe any of them when they say they’re aiming for May 1st.

      I expect (or at least hope, if they want to get actual hitters in the lineup when they return) each of them to take at least half of the 20-day rehab window when they’re ready to return.

  7. Kiko Jones says:

    Hmm…so Fielder got a 3-run HR off a pitch “way up and out of the zone”. How exactly is that Logan’s fault?

    The pitching will rise to the occasion, I’m not going to the ledge after 4 games.

    • Bubba says:

      Because it was in the middle of the plate to Prince Effin’ Fielder and his job is to get lefties out.

      I agree that going to the ledge after 4 games is a bit ridiculous.

      • Kiko Jones says:

        Hold on–it was either “way up and out of the zone” or “in the middle of the plate”. And if it was the former, again, not Logan’s fault.

        • Indiana Jones says:

          First of all, I don’t have a cousin named Kiko. Second, Logan’s pitch split the plate in half and was letter high. What Mike wrote was not, as you think, contradictory.

          • Kiko Jones says:

            How do you know we’re not related? Also, if the pitch was not a strike, it’s not Logan’s fault.

            • WhittakerWalt says:

              It was an elevated fastball with no movement and no zip on it. It was right over the plate, though above the strike zone. Fielder should have hit it.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Nor should you.

      The funny part about this all is that we heard all spring on here that the team was going to struggle and, now that they’re actually struggling, people are all up in arms about it.

    • forensic says:

      It was a few inches high, but right over the middle of the plate. Even worse, he was trying to go low and away and still left it up and middle.

      However you try to slice it, it was a terrible pitch.

  8. trr says:

    the trends are disturbing, the performances disappointing, but it is only 4 games. still, it would be nice if they could win one 1 of the next 2 games against 2 excellent pitchers….

  9. pat says:

    TJ seems inevitable for Boonie.

  10. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Ugly game made even worse by it pretty much draining the battery on my IPhone, which I forgot to plug into the charger while listening. Not only was the bullpen drained, but so was my phone.

    Buckle up. No one said this would be easy or pretty.

  11. DInnings says:

    Mike, if the Yanks had scored 7 runs, 6 runs, and 7 runs again on Monday, Wednesday, and today, respectively, for 24 runs in the first four games and an average of six runs a game, they still would’ve lost 8-7, 7-6, and 8-7 again.

    These three losses are bullshit like this:

    Loss #1: Sabathia had a typical bad Opening Day and the first of five maybe six bad starts he’ll have for the year out of 30-33 starts.

    Loss #2: Kuroda was knocked out of the game after only an inning and a third.

    Loss #3: Joe Girardi reverted into Binder Joe mode and didn’t let Nova face Fielder for a chance to get out of the inning, hold the lead, and qualify for the win, that’s right, you leave in Nova clean up his mess.

    If Sabathia is on and Kuroda is healthy, the Yanks are 2-2 or 3-1.

    Oh yeah, here’s an idea for Joe next time Fielder is up to bat with two men on and two outs again: WALK THE MAN!!! I don’t care if it loads the bases as the man on third scores on anything that isn’t an out anyway. ‘Say Girardi intentionally walked Fielder. That’s a man on second who could be thrown out at the plate on a single (Cabrera) and a man on first who could be thrown out at third on a single and thrown out the plate on a double (Fielder.) Who is more likely to make it 5-3 Detroit, Fielder or the guy after him? FIELDER! So you don’t pitch to Fielder!! Let’s see him go from first to third or score. Let’s see Cabrera score from second.

    • Indiana Jones says:

      Victor Martinez was the next hitter. He’s a better hitter than Fielder and he kills the Yankees (as an Indian, Red Sox, or a Tiger). I agree Joe shoulda stayed with Nova. It also makes you see why Logan, regardless of whether he’s injured or not, is not a LOOGY. Guys like Rapada are death on lefties precisely because they throw slow and low. Challenging Fielder with heat anywhere over the plate is stupid. Stewart shoulda called sliders to set him up, then go up the ladder hard.

      • forensic says:

        Victor Martinez is not a better hitter than Prince Fielder.

      • vicki says:

        nova had thrown 96 pitches (in his first start of the season) and had just hit cabrera. if you’re going to carry boone logan on the roster that was the time to use him.

        • DInnings says:

          Ninety-six pitches schhminety-six pitches, Nova could’ve got Fielder out with one pitch. So could Logan, but check this:

          ‘Say Logan gets Fielder out, threat averted, and Fielder is the only batter Logan faces. It’s still only 3-2 Yanks through only five innings and you’ve used your only lefty reliever. What if the Yanks need Logan to protect the lead later in the game? I say stop babying Nova and have him face Fielder, or IBB Fielder. Was it a certainty Fielder would’ve slammed a double or more off Nova? No, cuz last I check he makes out more than he doesn’t like all batters.

      • DInnings says:

        Who said Nova had to challenge him period.

        IBB Fielder and face Martinez who is less likely to hit a grand slam or a triple than Fielder is likely to hit a three-run homerun.

        ‘Say Martinez slams a double, the biggest hit he is most likely to get. Fielder is slow thus could be thrown out at home, Yanks down only 4-3, inning over.

    • forensic says:

      if the Yanks had scored 7 runs, 6 runs, and 7 runs again on Monday, Wednesday, and today, respectively, for 24 runs in the first four games and an average of six runs a game, they still would’ve lost 8-7, 7-6, and 8-7 again

      That’s not necessarily true as depending on when they scored the runs the bullpen management would’ve been different with likely better pitchers in the game thereby not letting some of the late extra add-on runs to score.

      • Tom says:

        Even looking beyond that, his analysis is completely one sided.

        They scored 2 runs in the first game. CC doesn’t simply have to be “on”, he has to throw a gem and allow only 1 run (and the bullpen come in with 0′s). Last year in 28 starts, Sabathia gave up less than 2 runs a total of 3 times (5 times if you look at earned runs).

        In the Kuroda game they scored 4 runs, so at first glance it’s easy to say “Kuroda and the bullpen for 3 runs or less? Sure”. The main flaw is 3 of the Yankee runs came in the 8th inning off Aceves, and he’s not pitching the 8th inning if the game is close (it’s Bailey and then Hanrahan).

        And the game today… let’s say Nova gets out of it in the 5th with a 3-2 lead. Who pitches the 6th inning? Assuming Mo is available, they still need an inning out of some combo of Kelley/Logan/Eppely (the first two gave up runs in the game); and then you have to assume Jo//Ro/Mo shuts it down – a fair chance, but not a given.

        If CC pitches a typical CC game and Kuroda pitches 6-7 innings, there’s probably just as good a chance that the Yankees are still 1-3. At this early stage, the issue is both the offense and the pitching.

        • DInnings says:

          Huh? Typical CC + 6-7 from Kuroda = the Yanks could still be 1-3? True, but 1-3 is far less likely to happen with that scenario than if Sabathia posts 5 IP 4 ER and Kuroda gets only the first four outs.

          By you logic if Kuroda pitches 7 innings and the Yanks are up, there’s an equal chance that D-Rob and Mo could blow the game or the Yanks could lose if Kuroda pitches 1.1 IP. Stop.

          Math doesn’t lie or are you gonna argue that 8 > 7 > 6 is not true?

          Btw NOVA could pitch the 6th. It’s called he’s in his mid-twenties, he’s not a kid anymore, it’s the first game of the season, and the Yanks are leading 3-2. Let Nova at least open the sixth and if he doesn’t get the guy out, ok, take him out. Girardi is married to the pitch coun, having starting pitchers pitch under the gun, and demoralizing them like he did to Nova today. IBB Fielder to get to the one less likely to make it 5-3 you jarheaded robot!!!

          Btw you forgot Chamberlain could pitch the sixth and maybe the seventh then D-Rob and Mo take over, no Eppley/Logan etc.

          • DInnings says:

            * It’s Nova’s first game of the season.

            A pitch count in Game 4 for a guy in his mid-twenties – really?

          • Tom says:

            Please read more carefully….

            The Yankees scored TWO (2) runs in game 1. Unless your definition of typical CC is 1 run or 0 runs, how is that game a probable win? Again, for reference he gave up 0 or 1 run in just 3 of his 28 starts last year. Rounding a bit that’s about 10% and not what I would call “typical”. You can say 8>7 or 154>152, but when you score 2 runs in 9 innings you have to give up 0 or 1 to win the game.

            In game 2, the Yankees had 1 run entering the 8th inning in Kuroda’s start. Kuroda gave up 1 run in the first inning… so the best case scenario is it’s 1-1 in the 8th. And that’s based on the assumption Kuroda doesn’t give up any runs after the first inning – certainly possible, but probable?

            My point which completely went over your head is 3 of the 4 runs came against pitchers Boston wouldn’t have had in the game in the 8th inning of a 1-1 or 2-1 game. But at 7-1 the Andrew Miller’s and Aceves’ of the world pitch instead of their setup man (Bailey). We have no idea exactly what happens if Bailey pitches but it is basically the odds of Bailey pitching a scoreless inning vs Kuroda throwing 5-6 scoreless innings. As much as I like Kuroda, those aren’t great odds. Apparently your math says getting 5-6 additional shutout innings from Kuroda is higher probability than 1 scoreless inning from Bailey. I think most people would disagree with you.

            And Giradi is not sending Nova out for the 6th inning in the first start of the season after throwing 100 pitches through 5 innings. You can say it’s possible and it’s dumb to have a pitchcount, but it’s a silly strawman because you know Girardi isn’t going to do it. It’s the same thing with Chamberlain coming in in the 6th inning – thing about it for a second. Mo pitched yesterday, so with 2 days in a row in your hypothetical, he’d be unavailable Saturday. Joba pitches 2 innings in your hypothetical which would mean he’s unavailable Sat. So Girardi is going to have his main 3 bullpen arms go 4 innings and then only have 1 available (Robertson) the next day? Another silly strawman.

            Math doesn’t lie, but as you’ve now show a few times, it can be misapplied…

      • DInnings says:

        The fact remains 7, 6, and 7 runs in the losses means the Yanks still lose those games.

        I could give you a million ways to Sunday how the Yanks could lose by those scores with their pitching and you would have to, too.

        The Yanks hitting has NOTHING to do with their pitching.

        • LK says:

          Yeah, but 3, 5, and 4 runs allowed in the losses also means the Yanks still lose those games. You’re right that the hitting doesn’t have to do with the pitching, but they’ve both been bad, and that’s why the team is 1-3. There’s still plenty of time to turn both the pitching and hitting around.

    • dalelama says:

      Wish in one hand and shit in the other and tell me which one gets filled first.

    • Kiko Jones says:


  12. jobas fat stache says:

    Hal is in a selling mode Stop whining and accept mediocrity

  13. Kosmo says:

    I wonder if Nova will be on the trade block come May 1st. Million dollar arm and a ten cent brain ?

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