This is literally the 2nd game that either of tonight’s starters have started all season. The Angels starter is a fresh call-up from their AAA affiliate, and Ivan Nova is finally back in the rotation after 14 months off for Tommy John surgery. Honestly, they both did pretty good, but the Angels’ starter did better.
Nova’s 85 pitches took him 5.1 innings, giving up 8 hits, 2 runs, and 2 walks, and striking out 7 batters. Nova was cruising along scoreless right up until what would be his last inning — the 6th. To start the inning, he gave up back-to-back solo home runs. After his 7th strikeout and a double, the Yankees opted for a new face in the bullpen (though a familiar face on the mound this season) Adam Warren to finish out the game for the Yankees. (More on this move in a moment.)
Warren would complete the 6th and pitch the next two innings to keep the Angels at just those 2 runs and adding his own 2 strikeouts to the total of 9.
To compare numbers, the Angels’ pitchers also got the Yankees to strikeout a total of 9 times, 7 from the starter and 2 from the closer. The starter’s 95 pitches took him 7 full innings, giving up 2 hits, 2 walks, and just 1 run — Mark Teixeira’s lead-off solo shot in the 2nd. It would be the only run the Yankees would score all evening. The Yankees just aren’t hitting right now.
But they are rather dominant on the field. Brian McCann hit the mark once again in a sharp shot to get a runner going to 2nd. Despite a challenge and review, the out was upheld, and the awful fishing puns ensued (due to the runner being Mike Trout). But McCann was back to being on-point once again.
And of course, there was the ridiculousness that is Mark Teixeira’s defense at 1st base. In the 1st inning, Teixeira scooped up a poorly thrown ball for an out. And then in the 7th, Headley grabs a ball and almost falling backwards throws it to a waiting to Teixeira who grabs it just in time for the out (and stayed true through an umpire challenge). Basically, the Yankees are a bit spoiled with Teixeira at 1st because if you throw anything within his range, he’ll grab it for the out.
Final score: 2-1 Angels.
Before the game, the Yankees made the decision to move Adam Warren to the bullpen. With players like Tanaka, Sabathia, Eovaldi, Pineda, and Nova hired to be the starting rotation, even an excellent starting pitcher like Warren must find a home somewhere. A reliable long-arm reliever is definitely needed from the bullpen, as that seems to be the one weakness from that area. While disappointing, Warren didn’t have to wait long to contribute to the Yankees’ pitching staff as a reliever, playing 2.2 innings in tonight’s game, and doing so with the same tenacity and consistency we’ve come to expect from him.
And on a weird swing in the 5th inning, Carlos Beltran felt a weird twinge in his side, coming up off a big swing a little off-center. He ended up grounding out on that at-bat and then was replaced in the game. Apparently, it’s a “ribcage injury” and his availability for tomorrow’s game is still uncertain. They may opt to rest him anyway with the day-off on Thursday to give him extra rest.