Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Nova, Yankees put win streak on line
By Jeremy Lundblad
Denny Medley/US Presswire
Ivan Nova is 8-2 on the road this season and has won 6 straight road decisions.
The New York Yankees look to complete its first three-game sweep at the Seattle Mariners since August 13-15, 2009 on Wednesday Night Baseball (10 ET, ESPN). The Yankees are riding a three-game winning streak while the Mariners have lost four straight. New York is an AL-best 44-30 on the road this season.
On the mound
Rookie Ivan Nova (15-4) takes the mound for New York. According to our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau, since 1950, only four rookies have won at least 16 of their first 20 decisions in a season - Bob Grim (1954), Jack S. Sanford (1957), Wally Bunker (1964) and Tom Gordon (1989). Each started 16-4 in their rookie seasons.
Nova started the year 4-4, but has won 11 straight decisions, the longest streak by a Yankees pitcher since Roger Clemens won 16 straight in 2001. Prior to his Sept. 8 start against the Baltimore Orioles (a no-decision in which the Yankees lost), the Yankees had won his last 12 starts.
Jason Vargas, who has lost three of his last four decisions, will start for Seattle. Vargas is 0-3 with a 7.86 ERA in six games (five starts) against the Yankees in his career.
Since pitching two shutouts in four starts (June 3 against the Tampa Bay Rays and June 19 against the Philadelphia Phillies), Vargas is 3-9 with a 5.38 ERA in his last 14 starts.
Matchups to watch
The No. 1 hitter in the batting order is just 11-for-71 (.155 BA) against Nova this season. Cleanup hitters are hitting .339 with four HR against him.
Vargas hasn’t been able to finish off right-handed hitters with his two-strike changeup as he has in previous years. From 2009-10, right-handed batters recorded 72 outs against 24 hits against his two-strike changeup. This year, righties have made 45 outs against 23 hits against the pitch.
Stats of the game
Mariano Rivera recorded his 600th career save as he joined Trevor Hoffman as the only pitchers with that many saves in the Yankees 3-2 win over the Mariners on Tuesday. His next save will tie Hoffman for most all-time (601). Rivera has notched all 600 of his saves with the Yankees, the most career saves all with one team. The next-highest is Jeff Montgomery, who had 304 for the Kansas City Royals.
ESPN's Stats and Information's Mark Simon brings you more on Rivera and his quest to tie Hoffman.
Derek Jeter needs one hit to reach 150 for the season, which would extend his streak of collecting at least 150 hits to 16 straight years. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only four other players in major-league history have had 150 or more hits in 15 consecutive seasons: Hank Aaron (17), Pete Rose (16), Honus Wagner (15) and Stan Musial (15, not including the 1945 season which he missed due to military service).
Mark Simon contributed to this post