(Winnah! Courtesy of The AP)
I scoffed when Ivan Nova said he wanted to get away from his new strategy that had made him a big strikeout pitcher and also a big XBH pitcher this season. I thought he just needed to tighten up the command of his stuff in the zone and he could be a dominant pitcher. Well what the hell do I know? Since then, Nova has looked more like the version of himself he was in the second half of last season and he's been silly good in the process. Yesterday, he put together another great start and got the Yankees their 2nd straight road sweep and 9th straight win in the process.
- As they've done a lot during this recent hot streak, the offense got off to a fast start and got Nova an early lead. Derek Jeter led off the game with a single, Curtis Granderson followed with a double, and the Yanks were in business with no outs in the 1st. They only managed to score 1 run on a Mark Teixeira sac fly, but a 1st-inning lead is still a great thing to have.
- Nova made one mistake in the bottom of the 2nd, a fastball up to Adam LaRoche that he hit for a HR, but otherwise he was on his game early. He got into trouble in the 3rd with runners on the corners and 1 out, but induced an inning-ending DP ball from Danny Espinosa to end the threat.
- The lineup put pressure on Edwin Jackson, but couldn't convert on their opportunities through 4 innings. It wasn't until non-home run hitter Curtis Granderson led off the 5th with a HR that they regained the lead.
- As they did with Gonzalez and Zimmerman, the lineup worked Jackson out after 6, and once he left they struck. Robinson Cano hit a 1-out HR off of reliever Tom Gorzelanny in the 7th, and Mark Teixeira doubled and came around to score on a passed ball to make it 4-1.
- Those 4 runs would be all Nova needed. He was efficient, he got ahead in the count, and he did a good job of locating the ball down in the zone to get those GBs he loves. He had the curveball working and really tried to use that as his out pitch, and was brilliant through 7.2 innings before giving way to Boone Logan in the 8th.
- RISP Fail will continue to be a talking point for the offense, and justifiably so after the team went 0-12 yesterday in that situation, but when you get the kind of outing they got from Nova, that masks a lot of problems.
- Sour Puss picked up his 4th straight save since the BS against the Mets last Sunday, and 2nd in as many days, in a clean 9th.
- Nova: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. This Ivan Nova that we've seen in June is much more like the one that was the team's #2 starter in last year's postseason. In his effort to cut down on his hits allowed and strikeouts, he's also limited his walks, so maybe he was onto something with his idea of getting back to who he was in 2011.
- Cano: 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB. The Nationals handed out a lot of free passes to Cano this weekend, and for good reason. When they did pitch to him, he fucking murdered them.
- C-Grand: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 LOB. I can't wait to see him take on Cano in the final round of this year's HR Derby.
- Teix: 3-4, 2 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 LOB. Won't get a lot of ink tomorrow because of the 3 guys mentioned above, but Teix had a solid day at the plate. He's almost got that OPS back up to .800.
- Raul Ibanez: 0-5, 7 LOB (0-4 w/ RISP). Raul was the failsiest of RISP Failers today. Had plenty of ducks on the pond and didn't drive a single one in. Oh well, the team still won.
The Yankees are straight rolling right now. I'm talking sittin' on 22's, murdered out windows, gangsta lean in the bucket seats-style rolling. They just finished up smacking the Braves around last week and now they get to welcome Atlanta to their place for Round 2. I know I'd love to see the winning streak get to double digits, and with the game being on the Worldwide Leader in Fraud Sawx Fans again, I might just have another live blog in me.