Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ivan Nova could not have been any better Saturday afternoon, tossing a three-hit, complete-game shutout against the Baltimore Orioles. OK, maybe he could have given a few less hits. But either way, it was a dominating performance.

While the rest of the Yankees rotation has been seemingly at the heart of the discussion about why the Yanks won't be able to pull of the improbable playoff run to make it to October.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, since Nova begin his dominant run of great pitching on July 5th, his 2.06 is nearly a run and a half better than the rest of the Yankees' staff combined at 4.58.

And with Saturday's win, the Yankees vaulted vast the O's in the Wild Card standings, and now trail the Tampa Bay Rays by just 3 1/2 games for the second Wild Card spot. Going for the sweep on Sunday, the Yanks open up a three-game series against the terrible Chicago White Sox on Monday.

Today's Lineup vs Baltimore:

Gardner CF
Jeter DH
Cano 2B
Soriano LF
Rodriguez 3B
Wells RF
Reynolds 1B
Nunez SS
Stewart C
Pettitte LHP

Pitching Preview:

OK, I must admit something. Nova isn't the Yankees only starter that's been pitching well lately. Andy Pettitte has also been pretty good on the mound in his last few outings, having given up only only two earned runs in his last 24 innings

Pettitte is coming off one of his best starts of the season last Tuesday, when he tossed seven shutout innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, marking the first time this season that Pettitte didn't allow any runs in a start.

"He was really good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after his start on Tuesday. "He went through the lineup with not too many pitches the first time. He got some big outs when he had to. I thought he was sharp."

The last time the Pettitte faced the Orioles was back on July 6th -- the day after Nova began his dominating run -- when he threw 6 2/3 innings of four-run ball in a win over the O's.

Baltimore will counter with their own left-hander, Wei-Yin Chen, who;s coming off the worst outing of his career when he gave up eight runs in just 3 2/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park last Tuesday.

"It seemed like every time Wei-Yin made a mistake, he paid for it," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday. "He jerked some balls across the plate and left some out over there where he usually doesn't do it."


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