You may have heard this stat going around about Yankees starter Ivan Nova. Something about how he hasn't been been the losing pitcher of record since last June or some mumbo jumbo. It sounds impressive, and maybe it is, but mostly because it means the Yankee lineup is capable of scoring a lot of runs. Surprise!
In games pitched by Nova this season, the Yankees have scored 29 runs, an average of 7.25 per game. They have not scored less than 6. In the sixteen games he pitched last season that fall under this streak, the Yankees scored 109 runs, or just over 6.8 runs per game.
So what's the secret to not letting the Ivan Nova escape tonight's game without recording a loss? Don't let the Yankees score a bunch of runs. Being given this task tonight is Jake Arrieta, who has been an enigma this season. He has alternated from brilliant to totally lost on the mound, often from inning to inning. Arrieta pitched seven shutout innings on Opening Day against the Twins, but he hasn't gone that deep in a game since. He also hasn't given up less than four runs in an outing since that day.
I know that Arrieta is capable of pitching a great game tonight, and I want to have confidence in him that he will. I want the Orioles to go out there and hand Nova the loss tonight. Not because it matters to me what Ivan Nova's W-L record is, or because it will change my opinion on how good of a pitcher he is. I'm just tired of hearing about it, frankly.
So far this season, the Yankees are averaging about 5.26 runs per game. Before putting up three runs in two nights against the Orioles, that average was over 5.6. It seems pretty unlikely to me, just based on the capabilities of the Yankees lineup, that they will be held to just one or two runs again. I would love it, but I don't get the feeling it will happen. If that ends up being the case, the Orioles will have to beat the Yankees at their own game.
Nova is coming off of a beating from the Detroit Tigers in which he gave up six runs in just 5 1/3 innings, and he's sporting a 5.18 ERA on the season, despite pitching seven innings against the Orioles on April 9th and only giving up two runs. FIP and xFIP paint a prettier picture for him, sitting at 3.76 and 3.15 respectively, but he's been gotten to this season and I believe the Orioles can get to him tonight.
The Yankees that I saw playing at the end of last night's game are not the Yankees I'm used to watching. They looked lackadaisical and sloppy in the field, like they really didn't want to be there. In fact, they looked a lot like the team we've all been following for the past several years. I enjoy seeing that Yankees that way, and I want to keep them there. A good start would be a loss to pitcher who can't be defeated, a shutdown start from another Orioles pitcher, and a O's series win in New York.
Let's Go O's!
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||New YORk YANKEES |
|Endy Chavez - LF||Derek Jeter - SS|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Curtis Granderson - CF|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Alex Rodriguez - DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Mark Teixeira - 1B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Raul Ibanez - RF|
|Nick Johnson - DH||Eric Chavez - 3B|
|Mark Reynolds - 3B||Andruw Jones - LF|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Russell Martin - C|