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.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.