Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Nova-Centric Mini-Linkapalooza

After last night's fantastic first 4 innings and meltdown of a 5th, Ivan Nova has now become the wildest of wildcards in the Yankee pitching pecking order, both for the remainder of this season and looking to the playoffs.  Naturally, Nova was a hot topic of discussion around the blogosphere and the best in the business were all over it.

- First, Chad a LoHud takes a look at what caused things to fall apart for Nova last night.  Particularly telling about how Nova's starts have gone was this inning-by-inning comparison:

First inning: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 K — 1.80 ERA
Second inning:
5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K — 0.00 ERA
Third inning:
5 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 2 K — 3.60 ERA
Fourth inning:
5 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K — 3.60 ERA
Fifth inning:
4.1 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 4 K — 18.69 ERA
Sixth inning:
2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 K — 0.00 ERA

- Building on that breakdown was Joe Paw's piece on RAB examining Nova's approach the second and third times through the order last night.  As Joe states, Nova's strong starts to outings and struggling finishes point more to his inexperience than flaws in his stuff.

- Building on his own dissection of Nova's outing last night, Joe Paw followed up his first post with another questioning Nova's potential effectiveness out of the bullpen in the postseason.  His .194/.275/.306 tripleslash against in the first 2 innings of each outing this year and his .238/.327/.429 tripleslash against with runners on base could be good predictors of success in shorter outings, small sample size aside.

- Stephen R. at TYU takes the 'Nova out of the 'pen' concept a bit further by comparing Nova to all the other options for the 10th and 11th playoff pitching staff spots.  I agree with Stephen that Javy is making the roster one way or another, but Nova could very well be the best option for the "other" long man role.

He's hit a few bumps in the road lately, but I'm still very high on Nova.  His stuff has played up extremely well against Major League hitters and he thinks and operates on the mound mentally better than a 23-year-old rookie should.  Teams are starting to learn his approach right now and they're keying in on him, so he clearly has some work to do, but Nova should still be considered a vital option for the Yanks as either a starter or a reliever.  And since I can't say it any better than these guys already have or point to any advanced stats that they haven't already come up with, I'll just do what I do best and end this with the "Nova the Terrible" Photoshop picture.

K-Rod Still F'n Up

Apparently Francisco Rodriguez doesn't understand how a restraining order works, otherwise he wouldn't have sent over 50 texts to his girlfriend in violation of said restraining order since the time he decided to kick the shit out of her father right in front of her.  Here are some of the gems of the collection, via the WWL: 

•  "I know this message could get me in trouble again, but I already lost you, my house and my children"
•  "I do not want to have problems with your family, all I want ... is to recover you and my children and continue forward"
•  "Lets find a solution to this conflict, baby if you really loved me do not deny me the opportunity to fight for you and my children"
• "Tell your father and mother, so that the three of us can get together and reach an agreement and leave things as they are and I can recover my house and my job, please lets find ... way to solve this."
• "Thank you for sinking me turning your back, take good care of my children ... and now I see that your were with me because of the money to see that your family ..."
• "Your parents are manipulating you like a marionette ... You are already a woman who can make her own decisions"
• "You are already a woman who can make her own decisions and because of that, our home in spite of its ups and downs we built it together no longer exist because of their greed. I pray to God that is not too late for you to open your eyes and reconsider."
• "Daian, I understand that perhaps I made a mistake, the biggest mistake of my life for doing what I did but I love you"
• "Things like this should not be done especially when your parents have what they have because of me, even clothes."

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!  This would almost be sad if it wasn't so incredibly hilarious.  What an asshat.  First off, dude, if you're going to blatantly violate a court order, you might want to not use your own phone to text.  And if you're trying to apologize to the mother of your kids, you might want to refrain from accusing her of turning her back on you, accusing her of being a gold digger, comparing her to a puppet, and attempting to play off the seriousness of the situation because you supposedly provided her parents with stuff.

Now I've done my fair share of apologizing to girls in my life, sometimes when it was warranted and sometimes when it wasn't.  And I can say from experience that a well-written, honest, remorseful text message is a good starting point.  But to then turn everything around and insinuate that you shouldn't have a restraining order against you because you bought the old dude who you kicked the crap out of a t-shirt or two is definitely not the correct next step.

It's just a never-ending calamity of errors for the Mets, on and off the field.  Even as a shitty baseball team they are still entertaining.  And now it appears that in his personal life, just like he often does on the mound at the end of a game, The Pitcher Formerly Known as K-Rod has trouble closing.  And if there's one rule we follow here at AB4AR, it's A-B-C.

Always Be Closing.

Tell him, Blake.

Bigger Than A Win

(Photo courtesy of The AP)

Last night's win was big for the Yankees.  Let's not try to pretend it wasn't.  Sure they've all but locked up a postseason berth, but this team expects better; they expect to win the division.  And the quality baseball they had been playing over the last 10-14 days was not championship-caliber baseball, so to jump out to a big lead on the road early and then scrap back to tie and re-take the lead in the late innings is big.

But bigger than winning the game was the emotion the Yankees showed last night throughout the affair.  Everyone was into the game and focused from the first pitch, and the emotion built up as the game continued on.  You had guys jumping around for A-Rod and Cano's homers early.  You had Dave Robertson practically losing his shit after Granderson made that great catch in the 9th.  You had Swish freaking out over Jorge's go-ahead homer to the point that the casual fan may have thought Jorge broke some kind of record.  You had Jorge almost separating his shoulder with an agitated fist pump after Jeter couldn't hold onto the ball on Crawford's steal attempt.  And after the indescribably awesome Golson-to-The Horse DP to end the game, you had the entire team celebrating like they had just won a playoff game.  Shit, even Mo was fired up and you only see him show emotion when he closes out the World Series.

Regardless of the outcome, the Yankees were in it to win it last night.  There had been a noticeable lack of emotion over this recent weak stretch, so to see them come out last night with playoff intensity was a good thing.  And to have that energy and focus and emotion rewarded with an extra-innings victory, well that's the kind of stuff that can propel a team and motivate them moving forward.  They're still banged up, they still have questions in the bullpen, and they still have more questions in the rotation, but last night the Yankees may have just gotten their swagger back.  If they can come out later tonight and thrash James Shields, we'll know for sure.

P.S.- How much did Greg Golson help his playoff roster chances last night?  100%?  500%?  1,000%?