Monday, May 13, 2013

The Kids Are Hot Tonight: Nuno, Warren Earn Split

When you've got Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and Kevin Youkilis missing from your everyday lineup, people need to step up their game. It's not just the seasoned veterans, but the youngsters as well. Pitchers Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren did just that Monday afternoon to lead the Yankees to a 7-0 win and a split of a "true" doubleheader with Cleveland Indians.

Another youngster, David Phelps, was outstanding in Game 1,but lost 1-0 to Justin Masteron. A Jason Kipnis first inning home run was the only damage done to the Yankees pitching. Nuno and Warren topped that performance by combining on a shutout that gave Nuno his first Major League win and Warren his first Major League save.

Nuno was outstanding in Spring Training and there was talk that he could make the team as a lefty reliever out of the bullpen. Having not pitched above Double-A, the Yankees felt it was better to have Nuno start every fifth day at Triple-A Scranton. Last month I spoke with Scranton RailRiders beat writer Donnie Collins who had this to say about Nuno: "He started tonight. I think he's a starter. Doesn't have great reliever splits."

Nuno threw 14.2 innings in the exhibition season and allowed just one earned run, 12 hits and four walks, while he struck out 13. He had made four starts for Scranton this season and was equally good. 23.1 innings pitched,  four earned runs, 13 hits, two walks, and 26 strikeouts. That translated to a 1.54 ERA, a league batting average of .157 against him, and a 0.64 WHIP.

The California native threw five innings in frigid Cleveland today and left with a 1-0 lead. He allowed three hits, three walks, and struck out three. Warren came on in the 6th and continued his impressive first month-plus in the big leagues. In a post last week I talked about how he has turned a lot of heads, including my own, after being so solid in the wake of a horrible Spring Training and a poor showing when he got called up for a cup of coffee last year.

Warren's allowed three runs in 18.2 innings, 14 hits, six walks, and has struck out 15. Today's outing lowered his ERA to 1.45 and his WHIP to 1.07. It was his third appearance of three innings or more innings as he continues to give the bullpen a break.

Nuno and Warren had to be spot on due to the Yankees lack of offense. After being shut out in the opener the Yankees managed to score just a single run (on Vernon Wells' RBI ground out) through the first six innings. Then the kiddie corps got it going again in the 7th inning. Corban Joseph, called up only because teams can add a 26th player for a doubleheader, reached on a lead off double. It was Joseph's first Major League hit. Austin Romine followed with a double of his own off start Trevor Bauer to pick up his first Major League RBI. You catching the theme here?

Jayson Nix, Wells, and Lyle Overbay each contributed RBI hits against to break things open against the Indians pen.

It was an especially big win after the Yankees had their four game winning streak snapped in the first game and with the prospect of having to face Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.


Wells is 10-26 (.385) over his last seven games with 3 HR and 9 RBI.

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