A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova have become close friends this year. Now, they have a chance to pitch the Yankees to a third-straight ALCS.

Going into the season, that was a very unlikely scenario, but Nova could close out the series for the Yankees tonight and advance to face the Rangers for the second-straight season.

“Their relationship has taken off this year and they do a lot of things together at the ballpark — the running and the working out,” Yankee manager Joe Girardi said. “It's good, because A.J. has been a guy that has logged a lot of innings in his career in the big leagues and understands what it physically takes to get through that.”

Not many thought the Yankees would have that opportunity after CC Sabathia’s disappointing Game 3 and Burnett starting an elimination game. Not many thought that after Burnett loaded the bases in the first inning. But Burnett earned the win and has handed the baton to Nova.

 

“Tomorrow I got the most important game in my life. I think tomorrow is the time to do what I've been doing the whole year,” Nova said during Wednesday’s press conference. “Tomorrow is the time to step up for the team, because that's the game that we'll, you know, we keep in the playoffs or we go home.”

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