Tonight's 3-0 Victory in Three Points
- Ivan Nova made mincemeat of the Braves tonight, as evinced by both the boxscore (including his first hit) and the fact that the Braves' 3-4-5 hitters went hitless in nine plate appearances against him. Winner.
- Nova received great help from his defense, as Nick Swisher robbed one of those 3-4-5 hitters, Brian McCann, of a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Terrific catch.
- Another day, another bunch of RISP fail for the Yanks (aside from Cano's first inning single), but the offense was bailed out by Alex Rodriguez's baserunning and Raul Ibanez's proper handling of a hanging curveball from Braves starter Randall Delgado.
Tonight's 3-0 Victory in Visual Form
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Tonight's 3-0 Victory in Several Hundred Words
The Yankees got off to a quick start against Delgado, a 22-year-old rookie who's been up and down all season for them (the Yanks are really lucking out by avoiding Tommy Hanson and Brandon Beachy in this series). A-Rod doubled with two outs in the first and came around to score on an RBI single by Cano, a hit that was sadly the Yankees' only one with a runner in scoring position. Such is how life is going for the 2012 Yankees. I'm positive that they're such a good offensive team that they'll turn it around in those situations soon, but it's sure frustrating to watch them put so many men on base and have little to show for it. After a 1-2-3 first inning by Nova (aided by a Martin Prado double play), Ibanez slugged a poorly thrown curveball left out over the plate into the bleachers in right field to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Surprisingly, the dinger was Ibanez's first one at Turner Field--one would of that it would have happened during his time with the Phillies but that thinking was apparently ALL WRONG. Apologize.
Nova again retired the side in order in the second inning, and the Yankees mounted another rally in the third. They loaded the bases with one out on an A-Rod walk, a Cano double, and an Teixeira walk. Time to blow the game open against the rookie, right? Wrong. Ibanez struck out, and though A-Rod came home with the Yanks' third run on a wild pitch, the Braves escaped with only one run surrendered after Russell Martin popped up with the bases again loaded again. A heads-up double play turned by Nova on a liner back to the mound allowed him to get through another inning unscathed.
The game continued into the later innings without much change. Nova held the Braves off the board thanks to both Swisher's homer-saving catch and his own moxie (runners reached in the fifth and seventh innings, but were stranded through some groundouts and strikeouts). The Yankees got more men on base--runners on 1st and 2nd with one out in the fifth, runners on 1st and 3rd with one out in the sixth, and runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs in the seventh, immediately followed by bases loaded with one out in the same inning. On each occasion, they could not get a single runner to cross home plate. "RBI guy" Ibanez left five runners on. "Not here to hit" Martin left eight runners on. Enough with these shenanigans, Yankees. I know that despite what some media members claim about the "shakiness" of the team's offense (too reliant on homers, needs to bunt, play "smartball," worship Joe Maddon, et. al), it's not anything that's going to be permanent. They'll get there in due time. In the meantime, just take solace in the fact that they're doing so well even with these RISP woes. Hitting with runners in scoring position is a very fickle statistic, baseball's equivalent to flirting. In the meantime, here's the Angry Dome, but don't feel the need to use it much on nights where they win anyway. The Yankees' situation could be so much worse.
The 3CB Band took over in the eighth inning after Nova's departure. The righty bass player, Cody Eppley, made a brief appearance and induced a groundout from Andrelton Simmons before being replaced due to some National League-style
player burning gamesmanship. Eric Hinske was announced to pinch-hit for reliever Chad Durbin, so Eppley's other -OOGY half, lefty guitarist Clay Rapada. Hinske was then replaced by a second pinch-hitter, righty Matt Diaz, who ended the silliness by somehow striking out against Rapada. He then forced Michael Bourn to get lost at sea ground out to second to end the frame. In the ninth, drummer Cory Wade relieved Rapada (in place of the band's diva Rafael Soriano, who had a blister) and made some sick riffs to get Prado to strike out. In the last 'pen move of the night, Joe Girardi turned to 3CB Band's main singer, Befuddlin' Boone Logan for the final two outs and the save, a mission which he accepted and turned into a win. No word on when the 3CB Band will make its next appearance on tour, but they retired the Braves in order through two innings last night, so bravo!
With the win, the Yankees tied Tampa Bay for first place, something that doesn't mean much right now at the end of play on June 11th, but it sure does feel nice. Comfortable, even. They should lounge out here and not leave. The Yankees will turn to sluggin' CC Sabathia to hit some dingers and perhaps continue this streak of superb pitching, while the Braves counter with strugglin' Mike Minor.
Comment of the Game: MattF15 with a victory before it even started. Go Ukraine?