Long ball haunts Nuno at Stadium
Probably a lot that could be written about Vidal Nuno this year would be similar to what pertained to Phil Hughes last year. He may not be suited for Yankee Stadium. There is a big difference, however, and it is not favorable for Nuno. He is left-handed.
Traditionally, the Stadium has favored lefthanders, much more so many years ago when the left-center field fence at the original yard was 467 feet from the plate, much deeper than the 399-foot power alley at the current Stadium.
The Orioles smacked four home runs Saturday in a 6-1 victory over the Yankees with only one of the drives, an opposite-field job by Nelson Cruz, dipping into the right-field porch. The home runs off Nuno by Adam Jones in the first inning and Steve Pearce in the fifth both landed in the left field seats as did J.J. Hardy’s first homer of the year, in the eighth off Jose Ramirez.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi acknowledged that Nuno is “a bit of a fly-ball pitcher,” the same handle once attached to Hughes, who was often victimized by the long ball at the Stadium. Nuno is now filling that role. He has allowed 13 home runs in 39 1/3 innings at the Stadium this year compared to two in 28 innings on the road.
“He made some mistakes,” Girardi said. “Unfortunately, when he is making mistakes, they are hitting them out of the park.”
“I left fastballs up that were supposed to sink,” Nuno said. “I have no regrets about my approach, but they got to my fastball.”
Did the Orioles ever. Baltimore’s home run derby made it another dark day for Nuno, who remained winless in eight starts since May 7 at Anaheim when he earned his only victory of the season. Nuno is 0-4 with a 4.37 ERA since his last victory. His record at the Stadium this year fell to 0-3 with a 7.09 ERA.
Naturally, Girardi had to field questions about Nuno’s place in the rotation. The skipper has not changed his view. Michael Pineda’s snail-paced return from shoulder soreness creates the need for Nuno in the rotation. Pineda still has inflammation in the area and does not appear to be close to returning.
Adam Warren remains an option, but Girardi is comfortable with the righthander in the bullpen. I don’t blame him. If Warren goes into the rotation, who would do what he does in the pen? Nuno? I don’t think so.
The debate is a waste of time because Girardi is not about to make a change.
“It’s not like there are starting pitchers lying around out there,” he said. “This is our rotation and what it will be.”
A home run also accounted for the Yankees’ only scoring. Mark Teixeira clouted his 12th of the season in the fourth inning off eventual winning pitcher Bud Norris. That the Yankees could do no more damage and that Nuno could not keep the ball in the yard put an end to their four-game winning streak.