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Archive for August 29th, 2010

After giving up nine runs in back-to-back games, the Yankees needed Ivan Nova to cool down the hot White Sox bats, and the young right hander complied. Nova did more than give the Yankees another well pitched ball game, however…he also gave them options.

Although Nova was eye opening in his first major league start on Monday versus Toronto, he was even more impressive today. Whereas Nova featured a mediocre curve ball in his first start, this time around, it more resembled the plus pitch that scouting reports had advertised. In addition to his breaking pitch having more bite, Nova was also able to throw it for strikes (54% of curves were thrown for strikes, compared to 33% last time out), making it the perfect complement for his fastball, which once again averaged 94 mph. Of his seven strike outs, three came on the curve (two looking) and four on the fastball. Because both pitches were working so well, Nova was able to shelve his hard change for most of the game, indicating that the young hurler has the poise to make adjustments based on what he brings to the mound.

Ivan Nova’s Pitch Breakdown

  Avg. Speed Max Speed Count Strikes Percentage
Changeup 87.3 87.3 1 1 100.0%
Curve 83 87.1 24 13 54.2%
Fastball 94.2 97.1 63 44 69.8%

 

Inning Pitches Strikes Percentage
1 12 9 75.0%
2 20 13 65.0%
3 15 10 66.7%
4 14 10 71.4%
5 16 11 68.8%
6 11 5 45.5%
Total 88 58 65.9%

Source: http://www.brooksbaseball.net

By giving up only one run in 5 2/3 innings, Nova was able to preserve a narrow lead that was built by another Marcus Thames home run in the second and a Brett Gardner single in the third. Because of Joe Girardi’s premature hook, however, the Yankees still needed 3 1/3 scoreless innings from a bullpen that was hit around in the previous game. Proving that last night was the exception, a trio of Yankees relievers carried the ball to Mariano Rivera, who slammed the door in the ninth for his 27th save. Along the way, Kerry Wood extended his scoreless streak to 11 innings and lowered his ERA as a Yankee to 0.77. Most impressive, however, was Joba Chamberlain, who topped out at 100 mph while throwing 1 1/3 innings of one-hit relief. It remains to be seen whether Joba will be able to permanently reclaim his eighth inning role, but the embattled reliever has done everything possible to warrant reconsideration.

What shouldn’t get lost during a day dominated by quality pitching was the performance of the much maligned (admittedly, nowhere more than here) Francisco Cervelli. In addition to going 4-4 and scoring the winning run, Cervelli also gunned down pinch runner Brent Lillibridge trying to steal second with no outs in the eighth. Fittingly, when Omar Vizquel popped up to end the game, the ball landed in the waiting glove of Cervelli. Although it really shouldn’t change the Yankees thinking about his role on the team, for one game, Cervelli proved to be a key contributor.

Still, Nova was the real star of the game. In addition to pitching in with two quality starts, Nova has also given Joe Girardi much needed options as he tries to sort out a starting rotation in disarray. After the game, Girardi announced that Ivan Nova would be given another start, which once again will come at the expense of Javier Vazquez because the Yankees manager also revealed that AJ Burnett will be making his next turn. Even though the status quo remains, the emergence of Nova has given the Yankees the flexibility to stabilize the pitching the staff as the team eagerly awaits the return of Andy Pettitte.

More than flexibility, however, Nova has the potential to make a major impact. With today’s win, Nova became the first Yankees starter since Mel Stottlemyre to earn his first major league victory against the White Sox. Why is that interesting? Because after Stottlemyre beat the White Sox on August 12, 1964, he rattled off eight more victories enroot to a 9-3 season. At the time of Stottlemyre’s promotion, the Yankees were 3 ½ games behind the division leading Orioles, but thereafter posted the best record in the league and won another AL Pennant. Although it is unlikely that Nova will play a similar role down the stretch this season, he certainly has the potential to make a positive impact. Of course, the Yankees have to hope nothing further comes of MLB’s reported investigation of Nova’s alleged B12 shot.

Mel Stottlemyre’s 1964 Game Log

Date Opp Dec IP H R ER BB SO ERA GSc
Aug 12 CHW W(1-0) 9 7 3 2 1 1 2 63
Aug 16 BAL W(2-0) 8.2 5 1 1 5 2 1.53 67
Aug 22(2) BOS W(3-0) 9 6 0 0 4 1 1.01 72
Aug 26 WSA L(3-1) 8 4 2 1 4 6 1.04 70
Aug 30 BOS W(4-1) 6.1 9 3 3 1 2 1.54 44
Sep 3 LAA L(4-2) 4.1 8 4 4 4 2 2.18 29
Sep 8 MIN W(5-2) 9 9 1 1 1 8 1.99 72
Sep 12 MIN W(6-2) 9 5 3 3 4 1 2.13 62
Sep 17 LAA W(7-2) 6.1 5 2 2 2 5 2.2 58
Sep 22(1) CLE W(8-2) 8.1 8 3 2 3 9 2.19 63
Sep 26 WSA W(9-2) 9 2 0 0 5 5 1.97 83
Oct 1(1) DET L(9-3) 8 8 4 3 1 6 2.08 57
Oct 4 CLE   1 1 0 0 0 1 2.06  

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

  • Before the game, the White Sox retired Frank Thomas’ number 35 in an on field ceremony.
  • Francisco Cervelli’s 4-4 performance was the first four hit game of his career.
  • By earning his first major league, Ivan Nova became the first Yankees rookie starter to win a ball game since Alfredo Aceves beat the Angels on September 9, 2008.
  • Before Nova’s victory, the Yankees were the only team in the majors to not have a rookie record a victory.
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vs. Gavin Floyd PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Brett Gardner LF 3 0.667 0.667 1.000 0 0
Derek Jeter SS 13 0.273 0.250 0.273 0 1
Nick Swisher 1B 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Robinson Cano 2B 10 0.100 0.100 0.200 0 0
Marcus Thames DH 7 0.143 0.143 0.143 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 31 0.269 0.387 0.462 1 2
Austin Kearns RF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Eduardo Nunez 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Francisco Cervelli C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 67 0.211 0.266 0.316 1 3
             
vs. Ivan Nova PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Juan Pierre LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Alexei Ramirez SS 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Alexis Rios CF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Paul Konerko 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Carlos Quentin DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Ramon Castro C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Andruw Jones RF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Brent Lillibridge 3B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Gordon Beckham 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0

 

Yankees vs. White Sox    
Season: 2010 Season: 2009 Season: 2008 All-Time
NYY: 3-2 NYY: 4-3 NYY: 5-2 NYY: 1046-825

.

  Last 10 Last 20 Last 30
Yankees 6-4 11-9 16-14
White Sox 5-5 8-12 15-15

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  Road vs. RHP
Yankees 37-28 51-32
  Home vs. RHP
White Sox 38-26 54-42

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The Yankees looked to C.C. Sabathia to halt a losing streak and help remove the stench of another awful performance by AJ Burnett, but instead it was the bats that saved the day.

Things are looking up for Eduardo Nunez, who hit his first HR and knocked in 4 RBIs in Saturday's game against Chicago (Photo: AP).

In each of the first three innings, the Yankees belted a two-run homerun off talented lefty John Danks, building a 6-1 cushion for their ace. Included in the barrage were the first major league homerun of Eduardo Nunez, who ended the night with three hits and four RBI (see list below), another round tripper by Nick Swisher against his former team as well as the first of two long balls by Marcus Thames.

The Yankees power explosion was not the focus of the first three innings, however, because Mark Teixeira left the game before his second at bat. After the game, it was revealed that Teixeira had bruised his thumb on Friday, and it was that injury that forced him from the game. Teixeira stated  he had hoped to be able to play through the pain, but quickly determined he would not be able to help the team after experiencing discomfort in his first at bat. Teixeira is considered day-to-day, but for one night at least, the Yankees’ offense did not suffer without their slugging first baseman.

With a 6-1 lead, it looked easy sailing for the Yankees, but last night was open season on talented lefties. Not to be outdone by Danks, Sabathia also got in on the act of surrendering two-run bombs, yielding one in the third and fourth to narrow the score to 6-5. After being touched for the two blasts, however, Sabathia slammed the door on the White Sox, retiring 12 of the final 15 batters, including seven on strikeouts.

While Sabathia was restoring order, the Yankees were rebuilding the  lead against reliever Tony Pena. In the top of the fifth, the Yankees immediately restored their five run advantage by plating four two-out runs, the first two scoring on a Posada double and the last two on Nunez’ second hit of the game. With Sabathia dealing and the Yankees bullpen impenetrable of late, the middle of the game seemed to be played as if it was formality. The late innings, however, would prove otherwise.

Sabathia departed after seven innings, turning the game over to the bullpen, but not before the Yankees extended their lead to 11-5 in the top of the inning. Entering the game, the Yankees bullpen had posted a sterling 1.80 ERA in August, but on this night they would struggle. Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan were both shaky in the eighth, but wiggled out of trouble after surrendering only two runs. Thames got one run back in the ninth when he went deep for the second time, but in the bottom of the inning, David Robertson could not retire a batter before leaving with two runs in and a man on first.

With the game no longer firmly in hand, Joe Girardi was forced to awaken his sleeping bear. In typical Sandman fashion, Mariano Rivera seemed to immediately put the White Sox rally to bed with a quick double play ball, but Chicago wasn’t quite ready to call it a night. After the twin killing, Rivera allowed a single and walk, which brought Mark Teahan to the plate as the tying run, but Chicago’s hope was only short lived. Rivera’s cutter handcuffed Teahan, who lined out softly to second base, giving Mo is 26th save and the Yankees a much needed win.

With the Rays winning, the victory enabled the Yankees to hold onto their share of first place. From a personal standpoint for Sabathia, the big lefty assumed the major league lead in wins with 18. Despite not pitching particularly well last night, Sabathia has shown a knack for “pitching to the score” in 2010, and yesterday might have been another example. Although such an ability is probably more on the mythical side, Sabathia does seem to lock things down when a lead is put in jeopardy. Admittedly, this perceived quality has very little place in a Cy Young debate, but from the standpoint of a team with a rotation in shambles, Sabathia’s ability to stay ahead of the opposition is just what the team has needed.

  • Marcus Thames homered twice in a game for the ninth time in his career. His last two homer game was as a Tiger against the Brewers on June 19, 2009.
  • Despite surrendering four runs in only two innings, the Yankees’ bullpen leads the major leagues with a 2.22 ERA in August.
  • Eduardo Nunez’ four RBIs was the first time a Yankees rookie recorded at least as many in one game before his tenth starts since Shelley Duncan also knocked in four runs on July 22, 2007, the fourth game of his career.

Yankees Rookies with At Least RBIs in One Game Before Starting 10 Games, Since 1920

Career Games Player Date Opp PA R HR RBI
3 Brian Dayett 9/18/1983 CLE 5 1 0 4
4 Shelley Duncan 7/22/2007 TBD 6 2 2 4
4 Charlie Keller 5/2/1939 DET 6 4 1 6
4 Tommy Henrich 5/16/1937 PHA 5 1 1 4
5 Jesse Hill 4/25/1935 BOS 6 2 1 4
5 Allie Clark 8/13/1947 PHA 4 0 0 4
6 Steve Whitaker 8/28/1966 DET 4 1 1 4
7 Hideki Matsui 4/8/2003 MIN 4 2 1 4
7 Gil McDougald 5/3/1951 SLB 6 4 1 6
9 Eduardo Nunez 8/28/2010 CHW 5 2 1 4
9 Phil Linz 5/23/1962 KCA 3 2 1 4

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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