The Yankees notched their first victory of the 2012 season at the expense of the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 6-2. Perhaps the opening sweep made me uneasy in anticipation of the first win, because this game was not the walk in the park the final score indicates.
Ivan Nova mixed in lots of hits, whiffs and double plays in just the right order to hold the O’s to two runs over seven innings. David Robertson picked up where he left off and had a scoreless but shaky eighth. Mariano got the final three outs but allowed another booming extra-base hit and the final out was a low screamer that almost cut Gardner off at the knees in left. Mo’s pitches were in the 88-90 mph range and mostly not that impressive.
After the two teams exchanged runs in the first, the Yankees grabbed the lead for good in the fourth. The Yankee offense generated pressure all night long, but untimely inning-ending, bases-loaded double plays by Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez in the sixth and eighth kept the score close.
Matt Weiters and Derek Jeter each had four hits. The only time either of them failed to reach base was when Derek Jeter got out on purpose in the sixth.
The unwashed masses might think the idea of getting out on purpose runs contrary to the goal of scoring as many runs as possible, but what they fail to realize is that the sacrifice is as much a gift to the gods as it is a gift to the other team. Pious managers and devoted players – nobody has to tell Derek Jeter to get out on purpose – offer up these gifts not so much to score runs or to win baseball games, but in deference to the mystic forces of playingtherightway. Amongst the observant, this is not a strategy but a mark by which they can declare themselves saved.
Back in the game where people were trying, each team was drilling the ball all over the park. The Orioles out hit the Yankees 13 to 11 but were terrible with runners on base. The difference was that Nova, Robertson and Rivera didn’t walk anybody and the O’s issued seven free passes. Two of them scored in the fourth inning rally and the Orioles never caught up.
Ivan Nova bagged the victory, and, though he wasn’t dominant or anything, he’s the latest example of why we shouldn’t give a flying fig about spring training stats. Are you healthy? Is your velocity at or near an expected level? Great, the rest is meaningless.
The middle of the order isn’t doing much thus far so hopefully they kick in gear and start up a winning streak. For now, here’s # 1, courtesy of a man called Nova.