Ivan Nova's start Sunday perhaps lacked aesthetic charm -- he was wild and couldn't command his curveball, a key pitch for him -- but it nonetheless continued a hot stretch for Yankee starters.
The rotation, perceived to be a potential pinstriped weakness -- beyond CC Sabathia, anyway -- has recorded a 2.44 ERA over the past 13 games, allowing 23 runs in 85 innings while the team has gone 9-4. Overall, Yankee pitchers have allowed three-or-fewer runs in eight of the last 10 games.
"Love it," Yankee manager Joe Girardi said. "To consistently win, your rotation has to give you distance, has to shut teams down, has to make big pitches in games. That's what's going to sustain you during the course of a season, because you're going to run into those days where you don't swing the bats well. Teams are going to shut you down.
"If you don't have starting pitching, it's going to be hard to win on a consistent basis and get into the 90-win column. Our guys have put in a nice string here."
Nova allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays, but successfully pitched his way out of trouble several times. Bartolo Colon will try to keep the string of fine performances going Monday night in Detroit.
Not bad for a team that has taken a huge hit in the starting five with Phil Hughes pitching poorly in three starts before he was shut down because of injury. The Yankees have filled in the rotation with retreads Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, who have been solid, and A.J. Burnett is fashioning a bounce-back season.
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