Spring Training results don’t matter, except when they do, and we’re getting into that time when quality of performance does begin to matter, at least a little bit, at least for the guys who might not necessarily be guaranteed starting positions, or even big league jobs. After his successful 2011 campaign, Ivan Nova definitely has the inside line on a spot in the Yankees’ rotation, but I can see a scenario in which he’s the guy who winds up without a chair, and his inability to command his fastball in his first two starts this spring has been one of the early story lines emerging during the exhibition season.
Against that backdrop, Nova took the mound against the Red Sox last night somewhat in need of a solid outing to build on, and for the most part he delivered. You wouldn’t have been at risk of confusing him with Roy Halladay or anything, but 35 of the 55 pitches he threw were for strikes, he didn’t walk a single batter in four innings of work, and the mistakes he did make generally weren’t bad enough to do any real harm. In fact, the only extra base hit the Red Sox got off of him (of only two hits he allowed in the outing) was a two out double on a fastball down and away that Jacoby Ellsbury was able to flare the other way to left-field. The pitch might have been a little bit flat, but Nova at least wasn’t making too many mistakes up in the zone last night.
On the whole, it was definitely a successful outing that probably puts Nova’s rotation spot back into the foregone conclusion category. For now. Continue reading Ivan the pretty good