Yankees Game 5 starter Ivan Nova surrendered back-to-back homers on back-to-back pitches in the top of the first inning to Detroit’s Don Kelly and Delmon Young. He also yielded a leadoff double to Magglio Ordonez in the top of the second.
But the 24-year-old’s “stuff” didn’t look all that terrible and he was pounding the strike zone consistently, throwing only seven of his 31 pitches for balls.
Nonetheless, Nova was pulled at the start of the third inning in favor of long reliever Phil Hughes.
Was it a panic move by Yankees manager Joe Girardi? Was Nova settling in? The answer is probably “yes” to both questions. But Girardi has already made it known that staff ace CC Sabathia will be available in relief. Right or wrong, the fourth-year Yankees skipper is taking an inning-by-inning (or even batter-by-batter) approach to this series-deciding Game 5.
The Tigers lead 2-0 as we head to the middle innings. Follow our Game 5 Live Chat for more.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.