New York Yankees starter Ivan Nova has lost it. More than it, really. He lost the game, lost his edge, lost his ability to hold a lead and is more or less lost. Nova allowed a grand slam to Kevin Youkilis as part of a sixth-inning six-run performance as the Yankees fell to the Chicago White Sox 7-3.
The Yankees offense staked their starter to a 2-0 lead after Derek Jeter ripped Francisco Liriano‘s first pitch over the left field fence and Curtis Granderson added a run-scoring ground out. They could have had more with the bases loaded and one out, but for the second straight night they let the White Sox off the hook.
Nova slowly let the White Sox back into the game, while the Yankees offense remained stagnant for the better part of the rest of the game. They didn’t have many scoring chances going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position, but left seven men on.
Last night’s performance marked the fourth time in Nova’s last eight starts that he allowed at least six earned runs. He has given up 25 home runs on the season and it proved to be his downfall last night. The right-hander coughed up a solo homer to Paul Konerko which tied the game in the fourth and then the grand slam to Youkilis in the fifth which broke the game open. Nova also allowed a triple and a double as part of his seven hits allowed. In other words the hits off him weren’t cheap.
Nova has displayed an unbridled confidence all the way through and he’s been backed by his manager, but with the Tampa Bay Rays breathing down their neck, the Yankees may need to make a move where it concerns Nova’s rotation spot. CC Sabathia is due back on Friday, after a successful bullpen session yesterday, which eliminates a spot and right now Nova is unworthy of getting the ball every fifth day when there is a better option in David Phelps. We’ll have to see if Yankees manager Joe Girardi agrees.
The Yankees (72-51) maintained their four-game lead over the Rays in the American League East as the Rays were shutout in ten innings by the Kansas City Royals. The White Sox (67-55) remain two games ahead of Detroit in the AL Central.
In tonight’s series finale and the final game of a 20-games-in-20-days stretch, the Yankees send Phil Hughes to the mound with a chance to show he can win a big game. Hughes (12-10, 4.23 ERA) is coming off a seven-inning effort against the Boston Red Sox in which he allowed four unearned runs getting the win. He will have a tough task, as the White Sox look to Chris Sale to close out the sweep. Sale (14-4, 2.72 ERA) lost his last start allowing four earned against the Kansas City Royals.