Our Relatively Short Yankee Nightmare Is Over

Ivan Nova polishes off Orioles for first win of the season

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Four hits for Jeter equals one win for Yankees.

    Exhale everybody, the Yankees aren't going 0-162 this season.

    No one really though they were going to go 0-162, of course. Even the most pessimistic of Yankee fans had to admit that much during the opening sweep in Tampa, although they probably wouldn't have mentioned it until they were well down the list of horrible things about the Yankees that never would have existed if George Steinbrenner was still alive to hold everyone accountable.

    Big Stein isn't here, but Ivan Nova is and that was more than enough on Monday night. Nova struck out seven and didn't walk a batter over seven innings to beat the Orioles 6-2 and give the Yankees a chance to shake hands with one another in the middle of the diamond.

    Nova wasn't very good during spring training, largely because he couldn't command his pitches well enough to get the results he needed to get outs.

    There was no sign of those troubles on Monday night at Camden Yards (which is now 20 years old which makes your correspondent feel old and makes the trend of building stadiums based on that template feel even older) as Nova kept the ball down and got the outs he needed even as he allowed plenty of Orioles to reach base.

    There's plenty of celebrating about Nova this morning, but the narrative police have decided to make Derek Jeter their prime suspect for changing the Yankees' fortunes. It is because of the captain's steely interior that the Yankees didn't panic and pack up the tents three games into the season, you see, and not because it was just three games in a season that isn't done until you play 162 of them.

    You can never go wrong by making Jeter the story, but there's really not much reason to reach for a story like that after the first win of the season. You could just focus on the fact that Jeter set the tone for the whole night by going 4-for-4 and starting a game with a hit for the third time in four tries this season.

    That's the kind of offensive output that makes winning games a little bit easier, even if Joe Girardi still prefers it when Jeter drops down a sacrifice bunt instead of swinging the bat in the middle of a rally. Nothing like playing small when there's a chance to blow a game wide open when you're using Girardi's binder of doom.

    Panic or not, it's nice to get the first win of the season out of the way. Everyone can breathe a little easier which should make the next win come a little quicker and, all of a sudden, you're back to a winning record before you know it.

    Not as fun as firing someone or making a trade or firing off an epic tirade, but surprisingly effective when you have a very talented baseball team at your disposal.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.