Just when we think he's out of the rotation, he keeps pulling himself back in.
Last night was a masterful performance by Ivan Nova. There's really no other way to say it. He passed the eye test from anybody who watched the game, throwing all 4 pitches for strikes, and working brilliantly off of his changeup and that cutter/slider hybrid thing that we haven't seen much of lately. And he certainly passed the stat test, putting up an 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K line on 105 pitches (70 for strikes), with a 15/3 GB/FB ratio, 10 swinging strikes (a 9.52%), and a first strike thrown to 18 of the 28 batters he faced. Last night was easily Nova's best start of his career from any and every possible angle and once again solidified his spot in the rotation and reaffirmed the Yankees' and Nova supporters' (like myself) belief that he can be a productive pitcher at the Major League level.
The fact that Nova set up the heart of the Reds' order with his offspeed stuff the first time through the lineup helped him actually be stronger the 2nd and 3rd times through because he hadn't shown them the fastball yet, something that bucked what has been the trend and biggest issue with Nova this year. He pitched with the kind of intelligence and attacking style that we haven't always seen from him, but when he does he's always been successful. They aren't all world beaters, but Nova throws 4 pitches and when he's mixing them all in and throwing them for strikes, he's tough. And yeah, it was a National League team, but it was one of the better teams in the NL and a team that features the defending NL MVP and a few other above average-to-very good Major League hitters, so last night was no fluke.
And don't look now, but Nova has a 4.13/4.14/4.23 tripleslash and has a high WAR than A.J. Burnett. I'm more than happy to take that from the 5th starter. For a night, Ivan was The SuperNova again. And now I get to break out this Photoshop that hasn't been used in a while.
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