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Postgame notes: “It’s not always going to be easy”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on Jun 12, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

An American League pitcher with a base hit. Give him seven scoreless innings that push his team into first place, and still nothing makes him smile more than a meaningless single to right field.

“I got (the ball),” Ivan Nova said, grinning like you wouldn’t believe. “It’s going right next to my bed. When I was young I wanted to be like a big big-league hitter.”

Nova settled for being a pitcher, and tonight he was an awfully good one. Which is to say, he was very nearly a bad one but found a way to pitch the Yankees back into a tie for first place in the American League East.

There’s nothing about the pitching line to suggest Nova was struggling. He went seven scoreless, walking one, striking out six and allowing five hits, all of them singles. The Braves put one runner into scoring position. But Nova also fell behind in the count a lot, and he put the leadoff man on base five times. His defense helped him out — including a fine play of his own — and Nova made big pitches when he had to. That’s what carried him, and the Yankees for that matter.

“I didn’t have my best stuff tonight, but I had a game plan in my mind,” Nova said. “I followed it really good today and I made a pitch when I needed it. … When you have your best stuff to pitch, it’s easy. When you don’t have your best stuff, you’ve got to fight.”

Tonight, Nova fought. And he won. He said his fastball command wasn’t particularly good, and that’s usually key for him. But he got away with a few mistakes, made a few big pitches and got huge plays out of Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano and himself (snagging a line drive to start a double play in the Braves two-hit third).

“Our innings were kind of long in between, so I’m not sure if he ever got to a real rhythm,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought he battled and gave us a strong seven innings. He got some big double plays, and he made the pitches when he had to. That says a lot. It’s not always going to be easy when you’re out there, where everything just goes your way, and you’re ahead of everyone, and you look up and you’re 1-2 on everyone, and there’s not a lot of runners on base.”

But enough of this pitching nonsense. Nova wants to tell you about his hit…

“I was ready to hack the first pitch, but he was throwing hard,” Nova said. “I see that ball like 100 (mph). After the second pitch I was just trying to make contact. I wasn’t thinking about getting on base or anything like that, I just wanted to make contact. I didn’t want to strike out. I got a pretty good swing on it. It was fun.”

It must have been fun. For so many reasons.

• Girardi’s perfectly accurate and perfectly hilarious assessment of Nova’s second-inning single and the following job to first base: “He hit a rocket,” Girardi said. “I found out he doesn’t have a lot of speed.” Nova didn’t argue about his time from home to first. “That’s why I’m pitching,” he said.

• Boone Logna closed out the win but didn’t get a save. All told, Logan, Cory Wade, Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley combined for two hitless, walkless innings with three strikeouts.

• Rafael Soriano said he’s never had a blister problem and could have pitched tonight if necessary. “I’ll come back tomorrow and do my work and my throwing and everything and we’ll see after that,” he said.

• Nova on the line drive that he turned into a double play in the third: “I don’t really see that ball. It went right into my glove. I just react. I can’t say I was real good and I went to catch that ball. I just reacted, and I got the double play.”

• Swisher on his leaping catch in the fourth: “McCann’s got some serious thunder that way. In a situation like that, we’re kind of playing a little deeper in that spot. I just happened to get up on it. White men can jump, you know?”

• Swisher’s far more honest assessment of his catch: “I made it look a lot cooler than what it really was.”

• The Yankees are winning — obviously — but this was another night of 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and Girardi took a different approach when asked about it. “Let’s not (talk about it) and let’s see if it changes,” he said. “Let’s try a different way, and let’s see if it changes.” When it was brought up again, Girardi literally screamed — he claimed to be doing a Kramer imitation — to signal that he didn’t want to talk about it. He wasn’t really avoiding the question, just having some fun with the writers, and it was honestly pretty funny. Truth be told, what more can he say about the RISP problem at this point?

• Would Girardi have sent Nova back out for the eighth inning if he didn’t have to hit in the top of the inning? “It would have been a question,” Girardi said. “First humid night we’ve had, and he had to work really hard. He started getting some balls up, so I probably would have made the change. He would’ve had one more hitter, at the most, in the American League game.”

• Robinson Cano was the only Yankees hitter with more than one hit. He had his 20th multi-hit game of the year and brought his hitting streak to nine games, during which he’s hitting .342. He’s had more than one hit in four of those nine games.

• Raul Ibanez’s second-inning homer was his 10th of the year, but his first since May 20 against the Reds.

• Wise words from Ibanez on winning the series opener: “It’s always important to win the first one,” he said. “And equally important to win the second one.”

• And leave it to Swisher to come up with the good quote about being back in first place. “It’s nice to kind of be back in this spot,” Swisher said. “Because this is where we feel we belong.”

Associated Press photos

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55 Responses to “Postgame notes: “It’s not always going to be easy””

  1. G. Love June 12th, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Since Andy Pettitte came back and got his foothold again in this clubhouse, both Hughes and Nova have been pitching so much better.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

    They better not get cheap with him if he wants to pitch again next year. He’s pitching himself into a 15-16 million dollar 1 year contract.

  2. Pat M. June 12th, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Rumor has it that in early December when Cashman called and visited Andy Pettite to tell him that if he wanted to pitch in 2012, he had to tell Cash by weeks end otherwise he’ll make a full court press for Kuroda…..In fact there was dome bit%ching about Kuroda not making up his mind when in fact it was everyone waiting on Andy Pettite with a 10 million dollar deal for 2012…..Andy says he’s not ready to make that commitment……Cashman goes out and trades for Michael Pineda and then signs Kuroda…….Andy now wants to pitch again for The York Yankees once again as he;s blowing guys away during inter-squad and sim game………Cashman tells Andy I’ll see if I can find some money to sign you……….NO CAN DO 10 MILLIONM aNDY…….how’s about 1.5 million with a few bonuses down theroad…

  3. Rich in NJ June 12th, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Somehow, someway they need to find a way to add some high end young hitters. There are signs of vulnerability in key spots in this lineup. Maybe they can skate this season, but probably not beyond it.

    Sherman reports that the Yankees think teams overpaid for Cespedes and Soler. That seems curious for a franchise that vastly overpaid for AJ, A-Rod, Tex, Soriano, Brackman, etc. Yet they pull back for guys like this, who are still young, have huge talent, and play a position of need.

  4. GreenBeret7 June 12th, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Anyone that’s drooling over the thoughts of andre Ethier patrolling right field in Pinstripes, for get it. He’s signed for 5 years at $85 mil and a vesting 6th year to move it to $100 mil

  5. Jerkface June 12th, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Heybrain saying 85/5 for Ethier and the Dodgers. Something something everyone gets re-upped before FA something something.

  6. jacksquat June 12th, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Swisher is probably around 5/70-75 then.

  7. Pat M. June 12th, 2012 at 1:54 am

    Maybe ten of us Lohuders who really feel that they can put forth a plan to get The New York Yankees payroll below 189 that has been mandated by the new Boss, same as old boss”””,but I’ll pick up my guitar and play…but we don’t get fooled again,,,,,So maybe those interested will by The All- Star break with Have a ball club that is presentable to Hal Steinbrenner with a 189 salary cap………….WOULNT BE FOOLED AGAIN.

  8. darbodla June 12th, 2012 at 1:58 am

    Jerkface June 12th, 2012 at 1:38 am
    “Heybrain . . . ”

    Hysterical coming from a stat geek in a basement with no life.

  9. Pat M. June 12th, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Cano and Granderson are going to ne very expensive baseball players…….Cano 6 / 160………Granderson 5 / 125

  10. m June 12th, 2012 at 2:29 am

    First! (place).

    Awesome. In fact, tied for first in the league. The Rangers run differential is much higher than ours thanks to their offense. Our pitching has been better.

    Let’s steamroll thru interleague and try to get some separation from the wannabes in the division.

    We may disagree and fight on many topics, but we all root for Yankee wins and Boston losses. Plenty of both lately.

  11. butterball June 12th, 2012 at 4:18 am

    So the other day I went and visited the LoHUd Mets blog. SURPRISE! There really isn’t one. Just some guy writing bad haiku or something.

    Are Mets fans not allowed on the internet? Too rowdy and uncouth, or what?

  12. roselora June 12th, 2012 at 5:14 am

    I really love what you do, congratulations! Thank you very much for sharing with us this article.
    Voyance pure

  13. Mike Ri June 12th, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Good Job Yanks !

  14. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Soler is a cub… fricking fracking Theo… >:-(

  15. RadioKev June 12th, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Rich in NJ June 12th, 2012 at 1:35 am
    Somehow, someway they need to find a way to add some high end young hitters. There are signs of vulnerability in key spots in this lineup. Maybe they can skate this season, but probably not beyond it.

    Sherman reports that the Yankees think teams overpaid for Cespedes and Soler. That seems curious for a franchise that vastly overpaid for AJ, A-Rod, Tex, Soriano, Brackman, etc. Yet they pull back for guys like this, who are still young, have huge talent, and play a position of need.
    ———————-

    So you’re saying they should continue to overpay guys?

  16. blake June 12th, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Great game last night…..the rain held off and Nova was really good…..made pitches when he needed them like he does and really was in control most of the game.

    Yanks did a nice job running Delgado’s PC up…..they left a lot of runs out there….Bourn saved two runs or more with that catch he made.

    I was pretty close to Swisher’s catch and I still cant believe he caught that or that it hung up for hin to even reach it…..it looked way gone off the bat.

    Girardi continues to be masterful with the pen….he just somehow always makes bullpens work.

    As others have mentioned…..lot of Yankee fans at the Ted…..probably not 50-50 but 60-40 Id say…..

  17. Cashmoney June 12th, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Rich, I dont know how either cepedes or soler fits within 14 mandate and Yanks overall plan in regarding signing their own stars such as Gman and Cano. But I said this, if there was any room left in their budget, I would have gone after Soler and Cepedes. You certainly face risks and chances of overpaying on unknown raw talents (hitter in this case) which you have alluded is an area Yanks sorely needs (prolly in not so immediate future). To me, both of those contracts in terms of length and amt in consideration with the both player’s tool sets and potential are reasonable risk to take. But, I don’t own the team and certainly it’s not up to me to spend their money. It remain to see how will the Yankees procure talents henceforth.

  18. Yankee Trader June 12th, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Blake-

    Are you back in NC?
    Girardi played by the NL rules and the pen did do a great job. Nova would have come out for the 8th if it was played in YS. Logan might have to be the closer if Soriano is affected by the blister.

  19. blake June 12th, 2012 at 7:55 am

    I dont want the Yankees to overspend for players…..but its kinda annoying that they knew the rules were changing and they did nothing to exploit the old system before it went out.

  20. Giuseppe Franco June 12th, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Rich is right about their focus should be to invest in younger talented position players. Sure, stockpiling young arms is wise but they also need guys who can also hit because the upper levels of the farm is still bare and the price of keeping Cano and Granderson is going to be very high.

    Plus, I can’t say I have a ton of confidence in this organizations ability to develop young arms.

    Some of us have argued time and time again that the aging lineup is going to come back and bite them long term. It’s getting harder and harder to find available position players. Teams are locking them up before they hit free agency.

  21. blake June 12th, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Trader….back in TN. Drove back after the game and am.running on fumes about now. Girardi has the midas touch with bullpens…..that really covers up a lot of the other stuff he does…..

  22. austinmac June 12th, 2012 at 7:58 am

    It is great to see the team winning, but it is quite disappointing, although not surprising, to lose out on Soler. I never saw Ethier as possible due to cost. I have no idea how they can be competitive in 2014 with impending potential losses of four of their starters, each of whom will likely command more than the Yankees think they are worth.

  23. Yankee Trader June 12th, 2012 at 7:58 am

    It remain to see how will the Yankees procure talents henceforth.
    ——————————–
    Cash-

    They might have to start by trading away Granderson for a cost controlled young OF bat.

  24. austinmac June 12th, 2012 at 8:02 am

    When are they going to move up any of their Charleston guys? They are the only, remote hope for 2014, but if they are all starting in Tampa next year that seems most unlikely.

    I am getting my outfielders glove out of the closet. My team will need me.

  25. Giuseppe Franco June 12th, 2012 at 8:02 am

    For a team that has been far from hitting on all cylinders until the last week or two we’ve got to be thrilled with their record to this point.

    And they have done so with a number of big guns missing significant time – Pineda, Mo, Robertson, Joba and Gardner.

  26. mick June 12th, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I am getting my outfielders glove out of the closet. My team will need me.
    ============================
    Torii Hunter come on down.
    Yanks are looking for that missing piece, not building or rebuilding.

  27. Yankee Trader June 12th, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I’m now concerned about Gardner. I thought he was seeing Andrews today, but apparently he saw him yesterday and the Yankees aren’t releasing any info until he sees the other TJ specialist in Cincy on Thursday for the agents request of a 2nd opinion. If he needs surgery for anything the Yankees need to find a corner OF’er as I can’t see them relying the rest of the season on Jones/Ibanez/Nix/AAA.

  28. Against All Odds June 12th, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Plus, I can’t say I have a ton of confidence in this organizations ability to develop young arms.

    —————————–

    Neither do I but Nova and Hughes are starting to make strides

  29. Cashmoney June 12th, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Logically, I could see the Yanks taking a step or two back in not so immediate future. The salient question is and will be going forward whether the Yanks can replenish within as their marquee hitters age and erode in skills. In terms of duration, I see it as a 2-4 year period.

  30. Yankee Trader June 12th, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Have to go. Have a great day.

  31. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Is it me – or does this sound a lot like Joba?

    http://espn.go.com/boston/mlb/.....e-happened

  32. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Oddly – the player that concerns me the most is Arod. He doesn’t seem to have the lift anymore (or power). Think those knee and hip surgeries really dorked up his swing.

  33. trisha - true pinstriped blue June 12th, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I believe in the ability of the Yankees to do what they need to do. It’s like some of you actually think you’re onto something and the Yankee organization has abolutely no clue about what they need to do to be successful.

    Perhaps there are people who do not have the ability to appreciate the moment and feel good that an organization that has existed for a very long time and has made the postseason for a very long time will find a way to do what it needs to do – despite the fact that your crystal ball may be foggy. You’re acting like there’s nobody out there who knows how to hit, other than the ones who are “sewn up”. And you’re acting like you know that nothing will emerge in the future.

    Some people were complaining about the trade and predicting the demise of the Yankee season because there was no young impact bat. Now that you see you’ve gotten that wrong, you need to project it out into the future.

    ***********

    Were you doing this in 2010, worrying about 2012? Did you have a clue that Ivan Nova would be around and doing what he’s doing? Did you know that Raul Ibanez would be important to the Yankee season? The point is you don’t know who or what is around the corner or who or what will emerge in the next two years that could make a difference.

    The Yankees are paid to figure that out. So far they’ve been pretty successful at it. My guess is that they’ll continue to be successful at it.

  34. PacoDooley June 12th, 2012 at 8:22 am

    The NYY are now tied for the best record in the AL. Imagine where they would be if they could have salvaged a few of those close games where they failed to get hits with RISP, or they could have avoided a few of those absolutely disastrous starts (like several of Garcia’s starts). Just amazing. Hopefully their pitching staff has sorted itself out and they can get healthier and continue to win from here on…

  35. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Cliff Cocoran: Cliff Lee is good on a bad team, Ivan Nova is bad on a good team

    http://mlb.si.com/2012/06/11/c.....=mlb_wr_a1

  36. blake June 12th, 2012 at 8:22 am

    If Ethier got 85 then that would put Swisher’s market somewhere between 60-75 Id think…..

  37. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Still need to work on hitting with RISP… especially when the bases are loaded.

  38. blake June 12th, 2012 at 8:24 am

    People who think Nova is bad are dumb.

  39. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I wouldn’t go that far, but it is fair to say Nova is no Cliff Lee… maybe a better phrase is Nova has had the benefit of playing for the Yankees. If he and Lee had swapped places, Nova would probably be 0-3 and Lee 10-0. Maybe.

    “Cliff Lee has a 3.18 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, has averaged just over seven innings per start and leads the National League in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.69), having struck out more than a man per inning while walking fewer than two per nine. Ivan Nova has a 5.09 ERA, a 1.47 WHIP and is allowing 1.7 home runs per nine innings, having already matched his 2011 total of home runs allowed in 94 2/3 fewer innings.”

  40. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Gotta admit – the Yanks have scored almost twice as many runs for Nova’s starts than the Phils have for Lee’s starts.

    “The Yankees have scored 6.04 runs per start for Nova. The Phillies have scored just 3.21 per start for Lee.”

    That definitely helps. :)

  41. blake June 12th, 2012 at 8:34 am

    “I wouldn’t go that far, but it is fair to say Nova is no Cliff Lee… maybe a better phrase is Nova has had the benefit of playing for the Yankees. If he and Lee had swapped places, Nova would probably be 0-3 and Lee 10-0. Maybe.”

    Obviously Lee wouldnt be 0fer still with the Yankees…..but some pitchers have a nose for wins….Nova has that quality and Lee although a great pitcher really doesnt as much.

    Saying Nova is a bad pitcher is an ill formed statement.

  42. blake June 12th, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Nova isnt as good as Lee…..but thats just an irrelevant statement….just because Nova gets more run support than Lee doesnt make him a bad pitcher……the Phillies won 103 games last year and Lee won one more game than Nova did.

  43. trisha - true pinstriped blue June 12th, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I think Nova is great. And I think he is only going to get better.

    When Cliff Lee was Nova’s age he had an ERA of 5.43 and a WHIP of 1.5. And I don’t know whether he was striking out 11 batters in any game.

  44. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 8:40 am

    The main gist of the article was that wins are irrelevant and I can see that point using those examples. I don’t think it should be weighed so heavily when measuring the quality of a pitcher – i.e., cy young…

  45. trisha - true pinstriped blue June 12th, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Pat M – could you do a rewrite of your 1:54 a.m. post?

    :)

    Thanks.

  46. blake June 12th, 2012 at 8:49 am

    “s. I don’t think it should be weighed so heavily when measuring the quality of a pitcher –i.e., cy young…”

    I dont think so either….but I dont think its irrelevant. There is a reason why Halladay is on the same team as Lee and wins 20+ every year and Lee doesnt……some guys just win more games…..they make pitches to keep their team ahead etc….

  47. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 8:50 am

    True – but when your team doesn’t score any runs – hard to be perfect all the time. Do feel bad for my friends who are Phillie fans. (They’re more despondent than my Red Sox fan friends)

  48. trisha - true pinstriped blue June 12th, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Sorry I didn’t see the reference article when I posted the stats about Lee and Nova.

    Still good to know.

    :)

  49. blake June 12th, 2012 at 8:55 am

    This thing with the Phillies has been coming for a couple of years now…..it was easy to see….the injuries have sped it along but there window was closing anyway. The Sox are in much better shape going forward than Philly……

  50. Melkmanisinhotlanta June 12th, 2012 at 8:56 am

    We are very lucky to have Super Nova on our team as he is going to become one of the founding fathers of the new core.

    As far as Grandy and Cano, it might make sense to trade them at their high and get young superstars can’t misses. Cano has seen his better days and will only become a 30 something schlub. The question, is he as good as Jeter and will be great up to age 37? I doubt it.

  51. luis June 12th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Good morning,

    Trisha,

    We were and are concerned with the teams future. Most of us agreed that the problem wouldn’t surface in 2012, but in 2013 and beyond. The bad part was that their aging/decline has been worse than anticipated. So there is nothing new on cashmoney’s or Rich’s comments, they are just in line on what was discussed in the off-season right after the trade. Nobody said that not having the impact bat would prevent the team from winning now, but in the future.

    As for being wrong, the rotation has been great, without any of the pieces involved in the trade. But the offense sure looks like it needs a good bat or two.

  52. trisha - true pinstriped blue June 12th, 2012 at 9:10 am

    luis, I totally disagree on the offense needing anything other than to figure out how to break their bases-loaded curse!

    And luis, this isn’t directed at you because I know you are an extremely humble guy – but I think it takes a lot of hubris for fans to believe they have a pulse on something that the Yankees don’t. And yes, there were people who said that the impact bat would prevent them from winning now. They seem to have faded into the woodwork, as happens when people who have been screaming about the end of the world find that the sun is still coming up.

    The thing that drives me the craziest is that nobody here knows what this team is going to look like in 2013 and beyond. Yet there are all these predictions of doom and gloom! There are a heck of a lot of players swinging bats, and there will continue to be. Yet people are acting like the Yankees won’t ever again have players who can swing hot bats. I think it’s crazy.

    They’ve won all these years without fan input. Do fans get that?

  53. randy l. June 12th, 2012 at 9:10 am

    $209,792,900 35-25

    $ 63,627,200 35-25

  54. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I think what everyone is concerned about is that Arod has become a singles hitter who seems to have lost the ability to lift the ball. Tex is going to be a guy that will have a .220 ish BA with 30 ish homers, and Grandy will be the big homerun guy with big Strikeouts to match. Cano is going the be THEE guy from 2013 onward. The fearsome 3-4-5 isn’t as fearsome as it should be. Or was?

  55. sunny615 June 12th, 2012 at 9:18 am

    new post

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