(Up top. Courtesy of the AP)
The team's supposed best pitcher can't get through 5 innings without taking a beating these days. Their supposed 5th starter has been the best pitcher not named Kuroda on the staff since late June. Yesterday that 5th starter, Ivan Nova, was back out on the hill trying to get his team back in the win column. He, and the rest of the Yankees, were without Derek Jeter, who was held out due to lingering soreness in his quad and some apparent new soreness in his calf. Whether there's another DL trip on the horizon for him remains to be seen. What mattered yesterday was that Nova was dealing and with a little help from C-Grand he led the Yankees to victory.
- It was a bit bumpy for Nova early. He gave up 2 singles in the bottom of the 1st before striking Jedd Gyorko to end the inning, and he had to work around a leadoff double in the 2nd.
- The sailing was much smoother for San Diego starter Tyson Ross. He retired the first 13 batters he faced in order, including a stretch of 5 strikeouts in a row and 6 out of 7 into the 5th.
- Nova settled down after the 2nd and really started to dial in his command. He was working almost exclusively fastball-curveball and he was hitting his spots down with the heater to set up the curve nicely as the out pitch. From the 3rd-6th, he sat down the Padres in order to keep the game scoreless.
- The offense finally showed up in the top of the 7th against a tiring Ross. Alfonso Soriano singled to start the inning and Curtis Granderson showed his hand is feeling good by smacking a 2-run homer to right to give New York the lead. Got a fastball in an obvious fastball count and didn't waste it.
- Nova gave up a double and a walk in the 7th but kept runs off the board again. Joe must have seen something in that inning that he didn't like though, because Nova was out after 85 pitches and the game was in the 'pen's hands. When those hands belong to D-Rob and Mo, that's a smart decision.
- C-Grand helped tack on an insurance run in the 9th on a leadoff single, stolen base, and a GB single by Jayson Nix to plate him.
- Nova: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Simply marvelous. This new and improved version of Nova is better than the Nova from the end of 2011. He's throwing the ball hard, he's hitting his spots, and his curveball has been unhittable. Very encouraging for next season.
- C-Grand: 2-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 1 K. Nice little day at the plate for Curtis in just his second game back. Nice to have that power in the middle of the order again too. 6 innings of barely anything against Ross and Curtis changed that with 1 fastball. He needs to stay on the field for the rest of this season.
- THE Chris Stewart: 0-4, 1 K, 3 LOB. They can't all be winners. Maybe Romine will show him how it's done today.
Rubber match of the series this afternoon and it's a fun pitching matchup. Former top Yankee prospect Ian Kennedy, making his first start as a Padre, will face soon to be former top Yankee prospect Phil Hughes.