>Nova Records Second Win in a Row and Yanks Look to Start a Winning Streak
Ivan Nova dominated once again in the Yankees 4-1 victory over the Rangers on Friday night. The offense did not bounce back but Curtis Granderson continued his hot start to the season. However, a win is all that matters, and the Yankees came away with one
Nova had his longest start of his career, pitching into the eighth inning for the first time, where he recorded one out and then was taken out. He allowed one run but it was unearned because of Mark Teixeira’s error and only two hits during arguably his best outing of his career. The Yankees could not have asked for any more from Nova over the last two weeks where he has pitched 19 innings over his last three starts and only allowed three earned runs.
He appears to be a starter who might be counted on for the long haul because four of his six starts have been solid. Nova’s confidence will help him when he goes through a dry spell because he will be able to remember early in the season when he pitched well. His strikeout to walk ratio of 18 to 16 does not seem promising at first glance but he is not really a strikeout pitcher, and in two out of his last three starts he has allowed two walks or less.
The combination of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera gave Nova his third victory while only allowing one hit combined in one and two-thirds innings. If Soriano and Rivera continue to pitch like they are capable they will likely have been the most successful set up and closer combination in baseball by the end of the season. Soriano now has nine “holds” and is inching his ERA back to respectability after a rocky start to the season.
Granderson pushed himself back into first place in home runs in the American League with his two upper deck home runs. Derek Jeter hit a single to leadoff the game and Granderson drove him in with his first home run, and then he hit a solo shot in the seventh. On the flip side, Brett Gardner, Jorge Posada and Mark Teixiera failed to record a single hit. The Yankees have scored the highest percentage of runs of the long ball out of any team in baseball and this was the theme once again.
In the second game of the series, the best bargain in baseball, Bartolo Colon, faces Derek Holland who only has a 4.66 ERA. Nick Swisher replaces Bret Gardner in the lineup, while Andruw Jones gets his second straight start against one of his former teams. Posada needs to start to string together some hits so that he can justify his spot as the Designated Hitter, since his average currently sits at .149.