(AP) — The New York Yankees have benefited from some spectacular starting pitching as they’ve won a season-best four straight. Ivan Nova would like to continue that run – and remain in the rotation.
Nova gets the ball Friday night when the Yankees face hard-luck Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver.
Since Nova (4-3, 4.67 ERA) allowed four runs in 3 2-3 innings of Saturday’s 5-4, 12-inning loss at Seattle, starters CC Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and A.J. Burnett have all gone at least seven innings while combining for a 1.74 ERA. They’ve helped the Yankees (31-23) win four in a row for the first time since an 8-0 run Aug. 28-Sept. 4.
Nova would like to keep that streak going, but he’s allowed 16 runs and 30 hits over his past four starts while lasting just 18 2-3 innings. The right-hander has nearly as many walks (24) as strikeouts (27) this season.
“I don’t want to make (manager Joe Girardi) look bad, because he gave me the opportunity to stay in the rotation and keep pitching,” Nova told the Yankees’ official website. “If he says I’m not pitching in the starting rotation … I have to keep doing my job, it doesn’t matter.”
Weaver (6-4, 2.10) is taking the same approach as he goes for his first victory since April 25.
After becoming the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2002 to win six of his team’s first 23 games, Weaver went 0-4 with a 3.38 ERA in six May starts to match the longest winless streak of his career.
Los Angeles (29-29) scored 13 total runs in those contests, including only seven when he was on the mound.
“Every guy who goes to the plate wants to get that big hit for him,” catcher Jeff Mathis said after Weaver threw nine innings of two-hit ball in Saturday’s 1-0, 10-inning loss at Minnesota. “There’s no excuse for not pushing a run across or getting more hits or anything. You want to get in there and battle for him, the way he’s throwing the ball.”
Weaver has been especially good in June, going 15-5 with a 2.84 ERA. He’ll try to extend his streak of pitching at least six innings to 21 in his first matchup with the Yankees since posting a 4.26 ERA in three appearances (one start) during the 2009 AL championship series.
Weaver is 4-2 with a 5.88 ERA in seven regular-season starts against New York, including victories in two outings in Anaheim.
Curtis Granderson, among the major league leaders with 17 home runs, is 6 for 14 with four solo homers off the right-hander. Granderson, though, went hitless in eight at-bats as New York dropped two of three in its last trip to Angel Stadium from April 23-25, 2010.
Los Angeles has won 20 of 28 at home in this matchup.
Alex Rodriguez is homerless in his last 43 at-bats, but his 67 homers against the Angels are 11 more than he has versus any other club. Rodriguez is 5 for 15 with four home runs off Weaver.
The Angels right-hander also will try to slow down Derek Jeter’s push for 3,000 hits. The Yankees captain, 16 shy of that milestone, is 2 for 17 against Weaver but hit .351 with two homers and seven RBIs in eight games versus Los Angeles last season.
Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, hitting a team-best .322, is not expected to be activated from the disabled list (strained right hamstring) until Saturday.
Updated June 2, 2011
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