Results tagged ‘ Ivan Nova ’
It’s the beginning of an 11-game obstacle course that could very well determine if the Yankees have a chance at the postseason or not. Is this the most important stretch of the season? Sure feels like it.
Here are the early notes as the Yankees (75-64) and Red Sox (84-57) prepare to meet here at Yankee Stadium, with right-handers Ivan Nova and Jake Peavy matching up for the 7:05 p.m. ET start:
Who would the Yankees rather have on the mound than Nova, the reigning American League Pitcher of the Month? Nova went undefeated in six August starts, going 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA, and now he’ll look to continue that success into September.
“When you’re throwing the baseball like he is, you probably should feel some confidence out there,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s getting his strikeouts when he needs them, he’s getting a lot of ground ball outs, and that’s important in a park like this when you’re playing a team like this.”
Asked to expand on what Nova is doing differently than he was last season, Girardi responded:
“He learned to command his fastball down in the zone. Not worrying so much about hitting corners, but just having it down in the zone with movement. I think that has been really, really important to him. I also think the consistency of his curveball came back when he started throwing it a lot more, and he’s thrown his changeup a little bit as well. Maybe not 20 percent of the time or 30 percent of the time, but he has thrown it and gotten strikes, and it’s just another look when you’re going through a lineup the second, third or fourth time.”
The Yankees have been saying for days that they do not expect there to be any carryover from the last time these two clubs met, when right-hander Ryan Dempster earned a five-game suspension by intentionally throwing at Alex Rodriguez.
Those Sunday night events fired up the Yankees, who have gone 12-5 since the drilling. Yet for those expecting Nova to throw at David Ortiz or something along those lines, there might be disappointment. These games are so important to the Yankees that winning will likely be the main priority.
“No. We’re not looking to [retaliate],” Robinson Cano said. “We’re just going to go out there [tonight], play the game the right way that we have always been, and what’s in the past we’re going to keep in the past.”
OK. OK. What else would you have expected him to say? Stay tuned, but it doesn’t sound like Major League Baseball or the umpires plan on getting involved pre-game.
A few injury updates to pass along: Zoilo Almonte (ankle) is playing seven innings tonight for Double-A Trenton in their playoff game and is the most likely player to rejoin the big league club this month. Travis Hafner has done one simulated game, while Kevin Youkilis is only taking dry swings and is “the least probable” of the aforementioned three players to return in 2013.
Also, David Phelps and Michael Pineda are up to the bullpen stage, but it doesn’t sound like either one is coming back this year. Phelps might be back as a reliever in late September but that’s sounding more like a long shot, and the Yankees have been pretty mum on Pineda’s progress.
One last thought from Girardi:
“The big thing is you have to continue to play well. And as you look at it, we have a chance to control our own destiny, because we’re really three behind them in the loss column, and we have three games with. We have to play well. That’s the bottom line. So I don’t think you can get too caught up in what they’re doing, because there are other teams that are around us as well.”
My Beat The Streak pick tonight: Robinson Cano, who gets the honors for a second straight night after he went 3-for-4 against the White Sox last night. Cano is 3-for-7 vs. Peavy. My streak is at five, halfway to my season-high of 10.
It’s probably not the best way to endear yourself to a new fan base, but hey, let’s at least give Kevin Youkilis some points for honesty.
The new Yankee and former Red Sox third baseman briefly stopped by George M. Steinbrenner this afternoon to check out his locker assignment and drop off a few items, spotting his No. 36 jersey hanging alongside a few pairs of pinstriped pants.
This is the new reality for Youkilis, who is clean-shaven to satisfy team regulations and sounded like a Yankee when he said that he’s just here to “go out there every day and play hard and try to win a World Series.”
Oh, but nothing in the fine print of his one-year, $12 million deal with the Yankees mandated that he must put his Red Sox history through the shredder, and so Youkilis made it clear that part of him will always belong in Boston.
“To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I’d just throw it out the window — it’s not true,” Youkilis said. “I’ll always be a Red Sock.”
That quote won’t win Youkilis many friends among a fan base that, judging by early Internet reaction, seems to be unconvinced about his addition. But here’s what might win them over: if Youkilis is healthy and productive for New York, the same blue-collar qualities that made Youkilis such a frustrating opponent over the years are exactly what Yankees fans have been asking for.
Think about it — how many times have we heard the talk-radio rants that the Yankees need more players with Paul O’Neill’s brand of intensity, the unbridled fury it takes to assault a bat rack or water cooler without a second thought about the millions watching at home? Youkilis can be that guy. In other words…
“I’ll never be Alex Rodriguez,” Youkilis said. “I mean, Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters of all-time. I’m not going to be that same guy. But I can be a good Major League player who can help the team win, and that’s all you’ve got to do.”
Here’s some more of Thursday’s notes and quotes from Tampa:
- Newly acquired right-hander Shawn Kelley is expected to join the team shortly after being traded by the Mariners on Wednesday evening. Kelley is a power arm with a plus slider and figures to compete with Cody Eppley for a bullpen role. He has a Minor League option remaining, so he could also start the year at Triple-A.
- Don’t leave the lights on for Alex Rodriguez here in Tampa; Brian Cashman said that A-Rod will not join the Yankees at any time this spring. He’s supposed to arrive in New York tomorrow from Miami to continue his rehab, so it sounds like the earliest anyone might see him around the ballpark is April 1 against the Red Sox.
- As we discussed earlier on the blog, Michael Pineda has progressed to throwing full mound sessions and the Yankees are optimistic that he could be helping at the big league level in late May or June. A lot can happen between now and then, and setbacks are an expected part of the process, but he’s on track so far. Pineda will start throwing to hitters in March, but isn’t expected to pitch in any Spring Training games.
- Dellin Betances took a step backward last season, but the Yankees haven’t given up hope on the hulking right-hander, hoping that a good showing in the Arizona Fall League can right his ship. Cashman said that the power, physicality and stuff are all there for Betances. One glaring problem has been fastball command, which is why Betances found himself demoted to Double-A Trenton last year.
- Ivan Nova said he doesn’t know why his strikeout rate jumped to 8.1 per nine innings last season after he posted 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011. He said he was just trying to pitch his game, not worrying about strikeouts. The number that still bothered Nova was his 5.02 ERA; the Yankees have scored him plenty of runs, but that’s too many to ask.
- Funny note from Girardi, who was recounting the uncomfortable moment he had to tell Nova that they were leaving him off the playoff rosters last year: “It’s not like he flipped my desk over or I felt threatened, but I could see the disappointment. I have a pretty big desk.”
Here is the official word from the Yankees:
RHP Ivan Nova was seen today in New York City by Dr. Christopher Ahmad and underwent an MRI at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
He has been diagnosed with inflammation in his right rotator cuff, and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. Treatment will consist of medicine and rest. He will not play catch for five days.
Last week in Anaheim, Ivan Nova stood in front of an Angel Stadium locker and slammed his performance against the Angels, saying that his outing – despite the Yankees’ 6-5 win – was unacceptable and that he had to pitch better.
This one qualified as an improvement. Nova limited the Rays to four hits over eight-plus innings, allowing just a ninth-inning run as New York posted a 4-1 victory. Nova was certainly in better spirits this time around.
“I had to step up. I had to do my job. I had to be better. Especially when everybody is pitching good, I don’t want to be the guy [left] behind. I want to be the guy pitching good, helping this team win games. That’s what we’re here for. I’m glad they’re pitching good and I’m glad I pitched good today. Hopefully I can continue it in the next start and the rest of the season.”
Nova said he had a few pep talks from teammates after a rough recent stretch that had seen him allow five earned runs or more in five of seven starts.
“After the game in Anaheim I had a nice conversation with Robby Cano. He was telling me I had to start pitching good. I had to be ready. I had to prepare myself more if I need it. Andy [Pettitte], even when he came out of the game yesterday, he told me, ‘Your turn tomorrow.’ He was waiting for me to pitch today, even though he pitched. He came out and the first thing he said was, ‘Your turn tomorrow.’ That motivates you when guys like that want you to do good.”
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild likes what he is seeing out of the Yankees’ starters, who seem to be pushing each other. New York’s starting five are 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA through the last turn of the rotation dating back to June 1, and healthy competition isn’t a bad thing to Rothschild.
“I think there’s something to that. I think it helps that one guy leads the way and the other guy wants to do better than him. It changes the thought process of a pitcher a little bit, and takes the emphasis off of some things that they probably shouldn’t be thinking about to put it in a more positive way.”
Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova left tonight’s game with a contusion and sprain of his right ankle. X-rays were negative. We’ll have more information when possible, but this sounds like the kind of injury that could cost Nova at least his next start.
Additionally, left-hander Clay Rapada left tonight’s game with a viral infection, the Yankees said. Rapada was spotted by television cameras needing help to return to the clubhouse.
Ivan Nova started against the Blue Jays’ Triple-A lineup on Thursday in Tampa and allowed three runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out five. He threw 63 of 94 pitches for strikes, and catcher Russell Martin said he came away pleased.
“He’s been progressing,” Martin said. “He’s been getting more and more consistent as we go along. I think he’s going to have a great year; that’s my personal opinion. He went above expectations last year with what he did, so he’s got maybe a little bit more pressure on him to try to do that again.
“If he keeps the same attitude, that’s what I recognized from him last year the most – his intensity on the mound. He’s a guy that wants the ball and never backs down. He wants to stay out there that extra inning. That’s what I want to see from Nova.”
All three of Nova’s runs allowed came in his final two innings of work (two in the seventh inning and one in the eighth).
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been talking up Hector Noesi on a pretty consistent basis this winter, and on Tuesday told the New York Daily News’ John Harper that he is expecting big things from the right-hander, who will turn 25 in January. He’s also counting on another good year from Ivan Nova.
“Nova arrived sooner than expected,” Cashman told the Daily News. “When you’ve got the tools, that can happen. He knows now that he can dissect a major league lineup and go deep into games. He’s a legitimate weapon every five days.
“And Noesi is the next Nova. He’s throwing the (heck) out of the ball in the Dominican Winter League right now, hitting 98 on the gun with his fastball, and commanding his stuff. He’ll be ready to step in next season if we need him.”
Noesi was 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA (56.1 IP, 28 ER) in 30 appearances (two starts) over four stints with the Yankees this year. It’s worth noting that Noesi isn’t untouchable by any means; he could also be valued as a chip to help the Yankees go acquire another piece, especially with Cashman believing there are other big-league ready pieces in the Minors right now.
TORONTO — Will Canada see history? Well, there’s at least a chance. Joe Girardi was asked pregame today if there was any way he’d put somebody else in if there’s a save situation so that Mariano Rivera can get the saves record at Yankee Stadium (where the Yanks begin an eight-game homestand Monday). The answer was what you’d expect: Not a chance.
Girardi did nail down his rotation for early next week: Ivan Nova will pitch on Tuesday, CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes will start Wednesday’s doubleheader (not sure what order yet) and Bartolo Colon will go on Thursday. As for the lineup? Joe wants to give some guys a little rest.
“The guys have been going so hard, I figured we have an important 10 days coming up, try to give them a little bit of a blow,” Girardi said. “[Curtis Granderson] and [Derek Jeter] have really struggled against [Brandon] Morrow in their career, and I just thought today would be the day.”
Without further ado …
Brett Gardner, LF
Eduardo Nunez, 2B
Robinson Cano, DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Nick Swisher, RF
Eric Chavez, 1B
Russell Martin, C
Chris Dickerson, LF
Ramiro Pena, SS
Pitching: RH Freddy Garcia (11-7, 3.71 ERA)
BLUE JAYS (76-75)
Mike McCoy, SS
Eric Thames, LF
Jose Bautista, RF
Adam Lind, DH
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B
Kelly Johnson, 2B
Brett Lawrie, 3B
Colby Rasmus, CF
J.P. Arencibia, C
Pitching: Morrow (9-11, 5.23 ERA)
Some links from Saturday …
* Yanks win, Mo ties the save record, A-Rod goes deep, Grandy gets to 40
* Rivera one away from saves record
* Yankees Notebook, on A-Rod, Hughes, CC, Posada, etc.
* Mo can set record as Yanks try to lower number
Updated to reflect Derek Jeter’s last minute scratch (right knee):
August 28, 2011 – Oriole Park at Camden Yards — 7:35 p.m. ET (YES, WCBS 880 AM)
Derek Jeter SS Brett Gardner LF
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones DH
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez 3B Eric Chavez 3B
Brett Gardner LF Eduardo Nunez SS
RHP Ivan Nova (13-4, 3.97)
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Vladimir Guerrero DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Adams 2B
Nolan Reimold LF
Robert Andino 3B
Craig Tatum C
LHP Brian Matusz (1-6, 8.92)
CHICAGO — It can’t be easy to stay in the moment when considering what’s coming up.
The Yankees, winners of six straight, have already wrapped up a series win over the White Sox by taking the first three. And tomorrow, they’ll be in Fenway for a critical three-game weekend series against the Red Sox — a team they’re 1-8 against this season and they trail by only one game in the American League East.
Joe Girardi openly talked pregame about the importance of that series, even though they have over 50 regular-season games left.
But he wants to keep the focus on today.
“You want to just focus on tonight and continue to play well as we’re going into Boston,” Girardi said. “Don’t get too far ahead of yourself because wins are important, and tonight’s an important game.”
In tune with Joe’s advice, we’re going to keep our focus on the present, too. So, here are tonight’s lineups for the series finale against the White Sox — in what is no doubt a big start for Ivan Nova …
Pitching: RH Nova (9-4, 4.01 ERA)
Pitching: RH Phil Humber (8-7, 3.44 ERA)
Some slugs from earlier today …
* Girardi and Guillen — the ying and the yang of baseball managers
* A-Rod has first workout
* MLB to interview A-Rod over gambling issue
And here are some slugs from last night …
* Yankees romp despite Burnett’s struggles
* Yankees Notebook, on Jeter, Tex and the 6-man rotation
* Nova focused on White Sox, not future role