(Be the ball, Ivan. Courtesy of Getty Images)
It was Yankee Pitching 3 Texas Hitting 0 coming into yesterday afternoon's series finale against the Rangers. But at long last, the Texas bats managed to wake up and put together the kind of offensive day we all know they're capable of. Ivan Nova wasn't as sharp as his last outing in Toronto, especially not with his offspeed stuff, and the bullpen wasn't much better behind him. But a 3-1 series win is still pretty damn good against Texas, so that end result makes yesterday's dud a little easier to take.
- Nova struggled right out of the gate yesterday, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in the top of the first, including a badly hung curveball to Josh Hamilton, and it looked like it was setting up to be over quickly.
- The top of the 3rd was even uglier, as Nova loaded the bases with no outs on a leadoff double and back-to-back walks. But in a display fitting of his "works out of trouble" rep, Nova struck out Hamilton and David Murphy and got Adrian Beltre to ground out to strand all 3 runners.
- For their part, the lineup didn't do much to help Nova through the first 5 innings. The only baserunner they managed was a single by Jayson Nix in the 3rd. Derek Holland had his sinker working, and the Yankee bats were lifeless against it.
- Nova couldn't repeat his 3rd-inning escape in the 6th, giving up 2 more runs on a collection of hits, walks, and hit batters. He couldn't locate his curveball where he wanted to and his fastball command was not very good, and Nova didn't make it out of the inning, leaving with a 4-0 deficit.
- In the bottom half of the 6th, the Yankee offense finally solved Holland, striking for 5 runs to take the lead. A bunch of singles got the action started, and the big blow was a 2-run HR by Andruw Jones that I honestly didn't think even needed to be reviewed in the first place.
- Boone Logan came on to hold the lead and basically puked on his shoes in giving it up in 4 batters. Joba Chamberlain came on to replace him and wasn't much better through the 8th. He's allowed 17 baserunners in 6 innings since coming back.
- The Yanks got 1 run in the 7th on a Mark Teixeira groundout, but that was as close as they would get again. Just a tough day for the pitching staff all around.
- Derek Jeter: 2-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 LOB. The Captain continues to stay productive at the top of the lineup. Should bypass the suspended Melky Cabrera for the Major League hits lead this weekend.
- Ichiro Suzuki: 3-3, 1 R. Not sure what he was trying to do with that sac bunt in the 3rd inning, but a 3-hit day from Ichiro at the bottom of the order is always a good thing.
- Nova: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K. I know Texas is a tough lineup, but I was really expecting more from Ivan after his great start against Toronto. His command was nowhere near what it was in that start, and 12 total baserunners allowed is way too many in less than 6 innings of work. Nova's not out of the woods yet, and he needs to keep working on getting right.
- Jones: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K, 2 LOB. The HR was nice, but the rest of Andruw's game was pretty bad. The strikeouts were both ugly, and that lost ball in the sun didn't help Nova's cause at all and Jones looked like he got shot when he fell to the ground. Like I said yesterday afternoon, he's not doing a whole lot to earn more playing time right now.
The Rangers head out of town to make way for the Bahhston Traveling Circus, who come in pretty much looking to be put out of their misery. At 13 games out in the AL East, they're right on the cusp and it would be nice to see the Yankees be the ones to officially cut the throat of their 2012 season. Phil Hughes and Franklin Morales kick it off tonight.