Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ivan Nova: Ace

Today Ivan Nova stepped up and provided the Yankees with something they wouldn't have imagined coming from the right hander. Nova stunned the Orioles potent offense and went the distance in his second complete game shutout of the season and second complete game of his career. His first shutout came against the Orioles on July 5th in a 3-2 Yankees win, so Nova knows something about this Baltimore team that other pitchers do not because of his recent history against them. Nova was in one major jam throughout the whole game but when it happened in the second inning, Nova was able to get a key double play to put a runner at third with two outs then recorded the final out of the inning to keep the 1-0 that he was staked with in the first inning by the Yankees offense. Nova, in his start went nine full innings for his eighth win of the season. In the start he gave up nothing to the Orioles as he was able to get two key double plays which were part of his nine groundouts. Nova allowed nine fly ball outs but none of the nine fly balls were deep enough to reach the seats. He struck out five batters, so Nova's pitches were working the way they should have been. He was pitching to contact and the Orioles batters were flailing at the plate, grounding out and popping up. In August, Nova went 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA and allowed only one home run. Those are numbers of an ace and if the Yankees make the postseason Ivan Nova will be strongly be considered to start the wildcard game.

The offense was not very prominent in today's game but the Yankees were able to eek out just enough runs thanks to Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner. Gardner doubled off Scott Feldman to start the game and two batters later Robinson Cano hit a double down the right field line to score Gardner to give Ivan Nova the only run he would need to get the win. Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner had four of the Yankees seven hits and the runs were all courtesy of Cano as he was involved in both offensive plays. He made the decision easier for Girardi in the eighth inning when he homered off lefty Troy Patton and Buck Showalter immediately sprung out of the bullpen to get a right handed pitcher into the game to complete the eighth. Robinson Cano is on a hot streak right now he is carrying the Yankees. Cano is not showing any ill-effects of the hit by pitch he suffered on Tuesday in Toronto.

Andy Pettitte will be on the mound tomorrow afternoon as the Yankees go for the three game sweep which would be an amazing feat. With today's win the Yankees surpassed the Orioles in the standings and since Tampa Bay and Oakland are playing each other the Yankees will gain ground on one of the two teams. This teams is feeling good about themselves right now, and rightfully so. The White Sox are coming to Yankee Stadium on Monday and they have an awful record. The Yankees will have a chance to bury the Orioles with a series win against the Sox who swept the Yankees in Chicago just a few weeks ago.

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