On the other side of the coin, I’d like to see Ivan Nova keep the ball off the plate against Delmon Young. Young swung at the first pitch in 11 of his first 13 plate appearances in the ALDS. Both of his homers and three of his four hits came off the opening pitch of an at-bat. In Game 4, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes stayed well out of the zone and, though Delmon somewhat surprisingly managed to lay off several pitches, he finished 0-for-3 with a BB. I expect he’ll be itching to get the bat off his shoulder tonight and Nova needs to let him beat himself.
In all other situations, however, I think Nova should attack Detroit’s hitters. He had a unusual number of swinging strikes in Game 1, including swinging strikeouts of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Austin Jackson, and Ryan Raburn. Through his first six innings, very few balls were put in play with any authority. He only got himself into trouble when he gave up free passes, as he did in the 5th and 9th. Nova needs to make the Tigers prove they can get an extra-base hit off of him before he starts nibbling.