James Shield is one of the best pitchers in the American league and very consistent. He is very tough and hardly loses but the Rays seem to lay back too much when he pitches. Their run production is minimal and Shields has to pitch tight games and with practically no mistakes. Last year Shields had his best season but was only 16-12. He had 11 complete games, 4 of them shut-outs. He pitched 249.1 innings and yielded only 195 hits, 78 earned runs, struckout 225 and had an E.R.A. of 2.82. Those are great numbers and this year, going into this game, he is was 5-0. Shields is off to another great start but fell short in this one because the Yanks were able to capitalize on three of the four hits Shields gave up. Ibanez hit a two-run shot and Granderson hit a solo. Nova helped the Yankee cause by scattering 6 hits while pitching 7 complete innings, allowing 2 earned runs and striking out 8 batters. The Yanks hung in as Soriano was his usual scary self and Robertson came through in his new role of a closer. Get use to it, it’s not going to be easy, Mariano is not there. Yanks Win!
NEW YORK — Yankees starters have been spoiled for the last decade-plus, allowed to hand off the ball knowing that the greatest closer to pitch a ninth inning is waiting to put the final flourishes on their victory.
Ivan Nova didn’t have Mariano Rivera to trust on Tuesday, and yet he wasn’t chewing his fingernails. David Robertson didn’t make it look as effortless as his predecessor might have, but the end result was the same as the Yankees defeated the Rays, 5-3.
“I felt really good,” Nova said. “Mo is Mo; you can’t replace Mo, but I know Robertson can get the job done. He did it today. I hope he can keep doing it, we keep giving him the chance and we keep winning games.”
Nova did his part, getting back on the victorious path one start after having a streak of 15 straight winning decisions snapped to remain undefeated in his career against the Rays.
Raul Ibanez homered twice and Curtis Granderson slugged a solo shot, his team-leading 10th, as the Yankees toppled a tough James Shields and encountered a save situation for the first time since Rivera’s season-ending right knee injury last week in Kansas City.
“I was a little nervous, once again knowing you don’t have anyone behind you — or at least you don’t have Mariano behind you,” Robertson said. “I would have liked for it to be a real quick inning; it started off real well, but walks kill you.”
Trusted with keeping the lead from Nova’s seven strong innings of eight-strikeout ball intact, Robertson loaded the bases before striking out Carlos Pena for his fourth career save.
How rare is it not to have No. 42 jogging out of the bullpen in that spot? Since Rivera took over the closer’s role in 1997, Ramiro Mendoza ranks second in Yankees saves with 16. The Yankees hope Robertson’s chances aren’t all this nerve-wracking.
“I think it’s important for him,” said Joe Girardi, who won his 400th game as Yankees manager. “He looked comfortable. He doesn’t seem comfortable unless the bases are loaded. He threw strikes; that’s the most important thing. If he was all over the place, I would have had concern, but he wasn’t.”
Neither was Nova, who looked sharp in what he agreed may have been his best start of the year thus far. The righty carried some purpose — and more importantly, all of his pitches, in effective fashion — as he carved up Tampa Bay…..Read More
Box Score and Highlights:
In other baseball news, Hamilton hits 4 Home Runs: