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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Nova looks to end Yankees slump


The Angels and Yankees continue a 3-game series in the Bronx at 7 ET on Wednesday Night Baseball.

Fresh off a 6-4 win Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Angels will look to win its first series against the New York Yankees in the Bronx since May of 2007 (swept a three-game series). The Angels are 4-11 in their last 15 games in New York.

On the mound

Garrett Richards will make his major league debut Wednesday night. Richards was rated the sixth-best prospect in the Angels organization by ESPN.com’s Baseball Insider Keith Law. In 21 starts at Double-A Arkansas, Richards went 12-2 with a 3.06 ERA while striking out 100 in 141.0 innings pitched. The 2011 Texas League All-Star is 27-8 with a 3.10 ERA in 55 career minor league starts.

The Yankees counter with rookie Ivan Nova, who’s 6-0 with a 2.91 ERA in his last seven starts. Nova’s last loss was to the Angels on June 3. In his last start (August 4), Nova struck out a career-high 10 batters without issuing a walk against the Chicago White Sox. That effort earned Nova his 10th win of the season, making him the fourth Yankees rookie in the Divisional Era to win at least 10 games.

Player Focus

In 35 career games, Bobby Abreu is hitting .318 with seven HR and 26 RBI against the Yankees, including a .571 (8-for-14) average with two HR and four RBI in four games this season. Abreu recorded his 16th career multi-HR game Tuesday night, including the game-winning shot against Mariano Rivera in the top of the ninth.

Curtis Granderson hit his 29th HR of the season Tuesday night, one shy of his career high set in 2009. The HR was Granderson’s 15th at home, setting a single-season career high for HR at his home ballpark.

Stat of the Game

Two days after allowing the game-tying run to score in the 9th inning at the Boston Red Sox, Mariano Rivera took the loss Tuesday night after surrendering a two-run HR to Abreu. That was the first ninth-inning HR allowed AT HOME by Rivera that gave the lead to the opposing team since May 7, 2009 (Carl Crawford). Rivera has continued to struggle against left-handed batters this season, continuing a downward trend over the last four seasons.

For more information on Rivera’s struggles, check out the piece by Mark Simon of Stats and Information on Rivera’s struggles with his cutter.