Forget all that “Girardi is panicking” talk.
According to beat writer Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger, the Yankees announced in the press box during the top of the sixth that Game 5 starter Ivan Nova was pulled after just two innings due to “right forearm tightness.” Not because manager Joe Girardi was displeased with the early results.
Nova allowed back-to-back homers to Detroit’s Don Kelly and Delmon Young in the top of the first inning and a leadoff double to Magglio Ordonez in the second. But he did appear to be settling in and his stuff was far from out of control. In fact, the 24-year-old right-hander threw 24 of his 31 total deliveries for strikes. Phil Hughes came on in relief, then entered Boone Logan. Now it’s CC Sabathia.
The Yankees trail the Tigers 3-0 as this series-deciding Game 5 heads to the bottom of the sixth.
Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.
According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.
It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.
The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.