(It was a good day for a return to form for Nova. Courtesy of The AP)
It has not been a good go for Ivan Nova in the month of August. He had gotten shelled in his last 2 starts before taking the mound in Toronto yesterday, to the point that it was almost universally agreed by bloggers and fans alike that he would benefit from being sent down to Triple-A to work on his issues if the Yankees had a replacement option for him available. Things have been starting to trend back up for the Yanks after 2 straight wins in Detroit and a beatdown of Toronto on Friday night, so another Nova bombjob outing would have been a step back. Fortunately, the good Ivan showed up yesterday afternoon.
- The first time through the order was unkind for the Yankee offense, as they got very little going against former short-time Yankee Aaron Laffey. Nova matched Laffey with 3 perfect innings of his own.
- The offense broke through in the top of the 4th, and once again it was with 2 outs. Jayson Nix singled home Mark Teixeira to put the Bombers on the board, and newest Yankee Casey McGehee followed up with a 3-run HR to open the gap to 4-0.
- After a strong first 3, Nova stumbled a bit in a shutdown bottom of the 4th, giving up a pair of singles and a balk to give 1 run back to Toronto. But he would recover to end the inning on a strikeout and a groundout.
- McGehee got the next scoring run started with a 1-out double in the top of the 6th, and came around to score on a Derek Jeter ground-rule double to make it 5-1.
- Nova was outstanding after the 4th, and pitched all the way into the 8th inning before tiring out and giving up another run. His slider and curveball were absolutely dominant, and for the first time in a while he was able to keep them down in the zone. Nova got 15 swinging strikes out of 66, K'd 10, and looked the best he has in over a month.
- D-Rob and Soriano finished things up for the win, and the Yankees have now won 4 games in a row.
- Jeter's RBI double in the 6th gave him 150 hits for the season for the 17th straight year, tying the MLB record for most consecutive 150-hit seasons with Hank Aaron. Regardless of what anybody thinks about Jeter, that's an impressive record.
- Nova: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, W. This is the type of game that reminds us of how good Nova can be when he can locate and keep the ball down in the zone. It's also the type of game that makes it so frustrating to watch him struggle with command in his bad outings because the stuff is clearly there.
- McGehee: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI. Between him and Chavez, the Yanks have a pretty damn good replacement platoon for A-Rod going at third right now.
- Swisher: 0-4, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 LOB. Hasn't exactly thrived since getting bumped up into the 2-hole in the lineup.
That's 4 in a row for the Yankees now, and they've got a potential sweep in the cards today as Phil Hughes toes the rubber against J.A. Happ. The news of CC's latest DL trip puts a bit of a damper on this turnaround in play, but another win can help lessen the blow if it helps them maintain their division lead.