Orioles Games Are Supposed to Be Easier

Orioles take two of three in the Bronx

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, May 3, 2012  |  Updated 8:11 AM EDT
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Nova wasn't so super on Wednesday night.

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Wins are an inexact way of measuring the quality of a pitcher.

You can get wins without pitching very well and you can get losses or no-decisions while pitching splendidly, so the stat is obviously detached from the performance of just one player.

The 15-game winning streak Ivan Nova lugged into Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, then, wasn't just about Nova.

And the fact that it came to an end with Nova's first loss since last June also isn't just about Nova. He didn't pitch a spectacular game, but he pitched better than he has in plenty of games over the course of the streak.

The result was still a 5-0 loss, though, because the Yankee lineup's offensive threats are pretty much down to Derek Jeter. After scoring a rather unimpressive three runs through the first 10 innings of the series, the Yankees were shut out over the final 17 on their way to two straight losses.

Jake Arrieta was the guy shutting them down on Thursday night, a major change from the normal course of events when the Yankees meet up with the Baltimore nine. Pitchers like Arrieta have been launching pads for Yankee scoring jags in past years, but things are going well for the Orioles these days and they wind up with the rare series win in the Bronx as a result.

Series with the Orioles are usually the baseball equivalent of a spa retreat. You eat well and work out some, but really you just spend a few days recharging your batteries by doing things that make you feel better about yourself so that you can conquer the world once you're back at work.

The Yankees didn't get to do anything fun, they didn't get to taste anything other than gruel and they left feeling worse about themselves because every moment was spent focusing on their shortcomings.

Nova got through six innings allowing just two runs, but Joe Girardi pushed him an inning too long. Perhaps he was overly aware of the streak and trying to get Nova a win, but the seventh was the moment when a close game came apart.

Nova gave up a homer to Nick Markakis, hit Adam Jones and left after a Matt Wieters double made it a 4-0 Orioles lead. That was insurmountable thanks to the punchless wonders in the lineup, a lineup that lost another key part on Wednesday.

Eric Chavez likely suffered a concussion diving for a ball in the field, which is both predictable and cruel. Predictable because Chavez was overdue for an injury and cruel because the Yankees are already down two starters in a lineup that's struggling much more than makes sense right now.

Perhaps they just need to get away from the Orioles to find their games.

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