Saturday, May 14, 2016

Nova Runs White Sox Into the Ground, Gets Fitst Win, 2-1

     Trying to even up the series at a game apiece, the Yankees took the field against the White Sox on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. One out away from earning his first victory his last time out, Ivan Nova took the ball for New York in hopes of getting his first win of the season. Opposing New York was another familiar Yankee farmhand Jose Quintana. All Quintana has done this season is lead the American League in ERA(1.34), allowing only one long ball all year. The Yankees didn't get any favors last night drawing the match-up against Sale. So today, even squaring off against the ERA leader, they were glad to be facing anyone else, and showed it.
     While both pitchers cruised through the first inning, the Yankees broke open the scoring in the bottom of the second and were actually the team finally doing the two-out damage for a change. After recording the first two outs quickly, Quintana walked the six-hole batter Chase Headley. The next hitter Aaron Hicks torched a ball over the head of right-fielder Adam Eaton, scoring Headley and giving the Yankees a one run lead. Didi Gregorius followed suit by lining another hit to Adam Eaton that scored Hicks, extending the lead to 2-0. They would have scored a third run when Austin Romine followed with a shot of his own, but the ball took a White Sox bounce and hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double, sending Gregorius back to third base. The Sox got one of those runs back in the top of the fourth when Point Pleasant, New Jersey native Todd Frazier blasted a solo shot off of Nova.
     Ivan Nova pitched exceptionally well today, slinging his sinker with tremendous accuracy as he kept Chicago off-balance all afternoon. Nova is having a career year in terms of ground ball rate, sitting at 65% of all balls in play against the righty are on the ground, where as the league average hovers right around 45%. Today, he sported a 79% ground ball rate by the time he was pulled with two outs in the top of the sixth. Nova left with an impressive final line of 5.2 innings pitched, allowing one run on just four hits, walking one and striking out two. Delin Betances came on in relief of Nova and immediately got the Yankees out of the inning by striking out former Yankee Melky Cabrera.
     After giving up the two runs in the second, Quintana went on to silence the Yankees bats for the next five innings. The Columbian native allowed only five hits all afternoon, with three of those hits coming off the bat of Didi Gregorius. A career .214 hitter against left-handed pitching, Gregorius was perfect against the AL ERA leader, going 3 for 3 with two singles, a double and an RBI. Upping his season average to .354 against lefties.
     Today, we finally got to see what we have been waiting for since the Cuban Missile Aroldis Chapman was activated on Monday, what YES Network's Jack Curry coined as "No-Run DMC". Delin struck out all four White Sox he faced. Miller pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out two in the frame. And Chapman struck out two of the three batters he faced, topping his fastball out at 103 mph. It was a lot of fun to watch these three pitchers dominate, striking out eight out of the last 10 White Sox of the afternoon.
     Here's to hoping Tanaka can lock down Chicago One more time as the Yankees try to win the series tomorrow afternoon, beginning at 1:05 PM ET.

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