Technically, it is not Nova’s first time pitching in the Bronx, but it is his début as the official fourth starter in the 2011 pitching rotation.
Nova popped up mid-pennant race last season for seven starts; he posted a 1-2 record, a 4.50 ERA, striking out 26, over 42 innings pitched. He walked 17 batters and allowed 21 earn runs, but Nova’s overall performance wasn’t as bad as the stats make it seem. Still, the Nova from last year would not have been named as the Yankees fourth starter.
Nova improved from the experience and worked hard this off-season, as the pitcher that showed up in Spring Training was the Nova that won the job.
The game is at home and Yankee fans are hoping for a big performance from the 24-year-old in the Bronx, just like the Nova that posted a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings in Spring Training.
Nova did pitch one scoreless inning in relief against Minnesota last May.
The Yankees bats hit nine home-runs over the weekend, three from a typically April-slumping Mark Teixeira. The Yankees took two of three from the heavily loaded Detroit Tigers in their first season’s series; and even in the 10-7 loss, the Bombers were hitting as Jorge Posada went yard twice
As for the Twins, things haven’t been so smooth, dropping two of three to Toronto to avoid a sweep by winning on Sunday 4-3. It was closer Joe Nathan’s first save since 2009, but it was a little too close for comfort.
The Twins-nation has a major bone to pick or at least to break with the Yankees.In case you forgot the last time these two teams met was in the 2010 ALDS, where for the second season in a row, the Bombers made the Twins look out-of-their-league sweeping them right out of the playoffs.
With the team’s best hitter Justin Morneau, the better half of the M & M boys, coming off an 0-9 drought until he broke a bat in his last plate appearance, will make it tough for the Twins to beat anyone.
The other ‘M’ being catcher Joe Mauer is not as essential, because in my opinion Mauer is overrated. Sharing a nickname does not mean Mauer is in the same league as Morneau, but some people seem to think it does.
Also, if the Twins think sending SP Scott Baker out there is going to silence the hot bats in the Bronx they have another thing coming. Baker went 12-9, posting a 4.49 ERA last season. He finished 2010, winning five of his last 10 starts, with the team winning nine of those games. The one loss just happen to be against the Yankees, where Baker allowed 10 hits and five runs.
Jim Souhan of the Minnesota Star Tribune reported, that after the Twins first win yesterday skipper Ron Gardenhire had this to say about the series against New York:
“Some people say it’s great to get them out of the way, but … it might not be great to get them out of the way. We just have to play — play the schedule out. We just want to survive and get home to our field.”
If you have a moment read Souhan’s article, Hey, Twins: Minnesota Nice just doesn’t cut it in New York because it is not only informative, but hysterical too.
All I can say is that confidence, or a lack there of usually starts at the top, and if Gardenhire doesn’t shake the Yankee demons it is going to be a long trip back to a bunch of ticked off Twins fans. Considering the manager couldn’t even fake-it for the sake of his players and the state of Minnesota is absolutely mind-boggling.
So, my prediction is that Nova gets his first big win at home and Yankee fans will see a Super-Nova light up the sky right before their eyes.
Yankees win 6-1 over Twins.
- 2011 MLB Team Preview: Minnesota Twins (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- Bats: Mauer Has Advice for Yankees’ Montero (bats.blogs.nytimes.com)
- The Yankees Don’t Need Francisco Liriano in Their Rotation (bleacherreport.com)
- Old routine nets 2 HRs (nypost.com)
- Source: New York Yankees asked Minnesota Twins about Francisco Liriano (sports.espn.go.com)
- You: New York Yankees Tried To Acquire Francisco Liriano from Minnesota Twins (bleacherreport.com)
- Yankees Still Desperate For Pitching, Begin Pursuit Of Francisco Liriano (businessinsider.com)