Friday, May 20, 2016

Nova Rolls Over Oakland, 4-1

     Tonight, the Yankees faced off against the Athletics in game one of a four-game series in Oakland. Pitching to his first win as a starter his last time out, Ivan Nova toed the rubber for New York in hopes of improving upon his first two starts, where he went 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA. Against the White Sox, Nova's sinker induced 13 ground ball outs, and in order to be effective tonight, his best pitch would need to be equally effective. Taking the ball for Oakland was right-hander Kendall Graveman, sporting a record of 1-5 with a 5.84 ERA. Graveman, a sinker-baller himself, has also allowed a team-high 10 home runs this season, which is an alarming statistic considering he's supposed to be a ground ball pitcher. And Graveman's struggles would continue.
     New York struck first tonight, coming in the top of the third inning. With two outs, Brett Gardner walked and came around to score when the next hitter, Carlos Beltran, lined an opposite-field double down the left-field line that gave the Yankees a one run lead. A Yankee mental error, which, unfortunately, would be a recurring theme throughout the ball game, cost them what could have been there second run of the inning when Brian McCann hit a ball deep to right field that was misplayed by Josh Reddick, bouncing off the right-fielders glove. But, Beltran apparently forgot how many outs there were(two) and only advanced to third base. Reddick would atone for his fielding miss cue when he tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on a solo shot to right field.
     The mental errors for New York reared their ugly heads yet again, this time coming in the top of the sixth. Chase Headley led off the inning with a single, but would get picked off of first, trying to take too large of a secondary lead. After Dustin Ackley followed with the second straight hit of the frame, Didi Gregorius hit a third consecutive single that moved Ackley to third, but was gunned down in plenty of time while trying to advance to second base. But, Aaron Hicks would pick up his teammates as he lined a double to left field that scored Ackley, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead and forcing Gravemen from the game.
     On the flip side, Ivan Nova was magnificent again tonight for New York. With the exception of the Reddick homerun, Nova kept the ball on the ground throughout the game, only allowing four total hits with no walks and three strikeouts. With C.C. Sabathia set to return from the DL tomorrow, Nova has pitched brilliantly in his three starts, well enough to stay put in the rotation, even with the impending return of Luis Severino.
      The Yankees would add some insurance in the top of the ninth inning, when Carlos Beltran hit a two run homerun that gave the Yanks and insurmountable 4-1 lead. Additionally, for the second consecutive night, all three members of No-Run DMC would pitch for New York, locking down a win in the series opener. Delin Betances allowed a leadoff baserunner, but would go on to retire the next three batters. Miller worked a perfect eighth and Chapman shut the door on Oakland, Recording his fifth save in pinstripes. It will be interesting to see who, if any of the trio, makes an appearance in tomorrow nights game, considering Girardi is notorious for not letting a reliever throw on three consecutive nights . And, again, since C.C. Sabathia will be activated from the DL and is slated to start tomorrow nights game, one or all three pitchers may be needed.
     The drama unfolds tomorrow night, with first pitch scheduled for 10:05 PM ET.


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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)