I was going to write a longer post on Ivan Nova’s latest horrible outing last night, from my fifth-inning prediction that Nova was done, to my dad’s tepid support of Nova (give me a break, Dad) to the grand slam he gave up to Kevin Youkilis five minutes later. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of time today. So I’ll simply say that watching Nova pitch is an unpleasant experience, both as a Yankee fan and a consumer of baseball games. He has no mental fortitude, so when a borderline call goes against him (like it did in the first inning) or an inning starts to get away from him (like the fifth), he implodes mentally and throws one of three pitches.
1. The breaking ball five feet out of the strike zone
2. The hanging breaking pitch that resembles a batting practice offering
3. The flat fastball up in the zone.
All three stink, and all three are routinely punished by hitters facing Nova. Honestly, the entire notion of supporting Nova’s baseball chops is predicated on not knowing (or not caring) about advanced baseball stats, ALL OF WHICH point to Nova being far worse than his combined 25-6 record in 2011 and the first half of 2012 would indicate. His postgame comments during this appalling poor stretch indicate a tone-deafness that has no place in the majors, certainly not for a below average pitcher. If he starts a game in the playoffs, it will be because Andy Pettitte couldn’t come back and the pu pu platter of Freddy Garcia/Phil Hughes is even worse. I could go on, but suffice to say Nova’s pitching lately is the epitome of ugly baseball.
Anyway, the Yankees lost 7-3. Keep reading for tonight’s pitching matchup, which most definitely does not favor the Yanks.
–A week after ex-Yankee Melky Cabrera got suspended for PED use (and gave us the worse fake website ever), another former Bomber, Bartolo Colon, was also suspended 50 games for PEDs. While Melky was most likely not juicing while on the Yankees (his numbers spiked after he left the team), Colon almost certainly was. Damn, I knew that butt fat story was too good to be true.
–C.C. Sabathia’s bullpen session Tuesday was positive enough to signal a Friday return for the big fella. Not a moment too soon.
–On the other end of pitching news, the team is considering sending Joba Chamberlain to the minors to re-open a roster spot for Sabathia as he comes off the DL. It’s a good plan all around, because Joba could use the work but can’t be allowed to pitch in meaningful major league action at this point.
–Nick Swisher’s invocation of Jayson Werth’s seven-year, $126 million contract as a benchmark for his desired offseason deal is legitimate only if you consider Werth’s contract to be a good one. Me? I think it’s among the worst contracts in baseball history. Paying Swisher, who will be 32 this offseason, $126 million would be akin to walking into a Vegas casino with bags of money and handing the bags to the pit boss. Paying him $63 million would barely be acceptable given his lifetime postseason splits of .169/.295/.323 (in a healthy 38-game sample no less).
–Tonight’s game against the White Sox in Chicago starts at 8PM ET. Phil Hughes opposes White Sox ace Chris Sale, who’s 14-4 with 2.72/1.06 splits and a 3.9:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The broomsticks will be out, unfortunately.
AL EAST STANDINGS (info on Pythagorean winning percentage here)