(Courtesy of the AP)
A good pitching day it was not for the Yankees yesterday. Ivan Nova, making his first start of the year, didn't turn in the type of performance anybody was looking for to instill confidence that he had overcome last season's command problems. And the bullpen continued to expose its soft underbelly with a less-than-effective job behind Nova. The offense wasn't much help either, failing to score more than 4 runs for the 4th straight time.
- There was trouble right out of the gate for Nova, who allowed a run and multiple baserunners in each of the first 2 innings, throwing 52 pitches in the process. His fastball and slider had great life, evidenced by his 4 Ks, but he just couldn't locate them with any kind of consistency.
- The lineup had chances to score against a near-equally shaky Doug Fister, but didn't until the top of the 5th. With runners on the corners and 1 out, Brett Gardner scored on a wild pitch and then Kevin Youkilis followed with a 2-run HR to make it a 3-2 Yankee lead.
- The lead wouldn't last long, though, as Nova and Boone Logan combined to give it right back with a 2-out HBP of Miguel Cabrera and a towering 3-run jack by Prince Fielder on a fastball up from Logan.
- There was a scary moment for Eduardo Nunez the inning before, who left the game after getting plunked in the upper body. X-rays were negative and he's day-to-day.
- After going down 5-3, the offense never sniffed a comeback, going down in order in the final 4 innings against Detroit reliever Drew Smyly.
- As for their relief pitching, it wasn't very good. Shawn Kelley gave up a monster HR of his own to Alex Avila in the bottom of the 6th, then another 2-run shot to Fielder in the 7th to put the finishing touches on Detroit's scoring.
- Youkilis: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. The only real Yankee offense.
- Nova: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. He had a chance to get out of the 5th with 2 outs and then plunked Cabrera. All could have been forgotten if he handles that shutdown inning, but that HBP turned it into what has become an all too common outing for Nova. He needs to start throwing his 4-seamer for strikes if he wants to get better.
- Kelley: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. What good is keeping a guy who can throw multiple innings if he's going to give up runs in all those innings?
- Ichiro: 0-4, 2 LOB. Has looked absolutely shot at the plate so far. But at least he saw 20 pitches yesterday.
Second game of this series is this afternoon, with Phil Hughes getting called up off the DL to start against recent Yankee dominator Max Scherzer.