Ivan Nova did that thing again. A year ago that vague statement would have meant something good. It really wouldn't need explaining if someone said that. A year later, it still doesn't need explaining, but it means something completely different. Nova did that thing again, so do the ear muff thing for any young kids in the room.
Extra-base hits were the story of the game for Nova, like they have been all season. He only, 'only', gave up four in six inning of work, but Chicago made them count. A.J. Pierzynski scored Alex Rios with a sac fly, Paul Konerko tied the game by somehow getting around on this pitch and Kevin Youkilis broke the game open with a grand slam in the fifth inning. That's a lot going on for one sentence, but it's for the best. The Yankees lost the game because of all those things, and yet, that's the secondary story.
Ivan Nova had a great 2011 season. The peripherals didn't line up with his actual performance, so we knew some regression was on the way. Some regression should not be a full blown nose dive into no longer a major league pitcher. Maybe he's injured, maybe he walked under a ladder is being subjected to all the bad luck possible; maybe he really isn't a major league pitcher. It could be something like one of those things or none of those things, but whatever it is, it needs to be figured out. While he figures it out, the team has to figure out what to do with him while he does. At this point, it's getting pretty tough to justify trotting him out there every fifth day.
There were a couple bright spots, I guess. Derek Jeter hit a home run on the first pitch of the game to continue his hot hitting, so there's that. And Russell Martin hit a baseball. That's a victory all by itself. The fact that it went for a home run is just a bonus. That's about it for the offense, though. Francisco Liriano somehow salvaged a six inning, two earned quality start after throwing 31 pitches in the first. That's poor form by the offense. The bullpen did the rest for Chicago.
Not a lot of good things to write about from this game. Not a lot of good things about this game even if you aren't writing about it. Nova needs to figure things out, a lot of hitters need to figure things out and I need to figure out how to end this. Wait.
Play of the Game: Kevin Youkilis' grand slam (-24.3%)