Mood Music - Dilaudid by the Mountain Goats
After a day off and with the full lineup behind him, Ivan Nova threw a masterful six innings, allowing no hits or walks (runners reached base on a hit by pitch and an Alex Rodriguez fielding error). Nova mixed in all of his pitches, struck out four, and induced numerous ground balls, a product of keeping the ball down and excellent sinking action on his fastball. I only remember one ball actually leaving the infield in his six innings of work (a flyout to center by Mark Reynolds), but there may have been more.
After Nova, Mariano Rivera, Mark Prior, and David Robertson all pitched scoreless innings. All looked sharp, with Robertson pitching a clean inning, Prior giving up one walk, and Rivera allowing the only Baltimore hit of the game to Vladimir Guerrero.
Offensively, there were contributions up and down the linuep. Mark Teixeira (who is quietly having an excellent spring) went 2-2 with two doubles, Alex Rodriguez hit a long home run, and Nick Swisher chipped in two hits as well. As a defensive replacement, Jesus Montero sharply singled in the 8th inning, as well as looking solid behind the plate.
During an interview on YES after he had been removed from the game, Ivan Nova talked about keeping the ball down and working with Russell Martin for the first time. While I never take anything that players say to the media at face value, the Yankees pitchers seem to be feeling perfectly comfortable pitching to both Russell Martin and Jesus Montero.
The New York Yankees will next be in action against the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow at 7:05.