The only good thing about these offensively inept Yankees is that their games no longer take four hours. Let’s recap the 1-0 loss:
- SuperNova: For the third time in four starts since officially returning to the rotation, Ivan Nova pitched very well. He held a high-powered Rays offense to one run — via an annoying two-out bloop single by Kelly Johnson — on six hits and three walks in seven innings while striking out eight and getting nine outs on the ground compared to four in the air. He got 15 swings and misses out 105 total pitches, including 12 on his 39 curveballs (30.8%). That pitch really has been the difference for him of late. Nova is definitely on the short list of things going right for the Yankees at the moment.
- Sterling: The Yankees hit two balls hard against Chris Archer: Lyle Overbay’s fifth inning single and Brett Gardner’s sixth inning ground-rule double. Ichiro Suzuki reached on an error in the fourth and that’s all the base-runners. Archer threw just 97 pitches in the complete-game shutout — his second in the last three starts — the second time New York was shutout on fewer than 100 pitches in the last month (Derek Holland on June 27th). The Yankees were shutout in a nine-inning game on fewer than 100 pitches zero times from 1998-2012 (!), and they’ve now done it twice in the last month.
- Leftovers: The homer-less streak is up to nine games — all played in hitter’s parks, mind you — their longest since going ten straight in April 1984 … Alfonso Soriano is 0-for-8 in his two games back so far … the Yankees didn’t draw a single walk and only two batters (Chris Stewart in the third, Gardner in the ninth) saw a three-ball count … 19 of their 29 plate appearances ended in three pitches or fewer … the Yankees were shutout for the ninth time this season, their most since 1997. There are only 58 games to go … did I mention the Yankees haven’t hit a homer in nine games yet? Because they haven’t.
Check out MLB.com for the box score, FanGraphs the other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The loss dropped the Yankees to eight back of Tampa in the loss column, and the outcome of tonight’s Red Sox-Orioles game will determine if they’re three back of the wildcard spot (O’s lose) or four back (O’s win). Phil Hughes and Matt Moore is your pitching matchup for Hideki Matsui bobblehead day on Sunday afternoon. Check out RAB Tickets if you want your mini-Godzilla.