Through his first four starts, Ivan Nova has found himself as the poster boy for the “regression to the mean” debate. To some, his unsightly 5.18 ERA – which ranks third on the team among starters, by the way – and 1.48 HR/9 are demonstrative of his youth, or inconsistency, or lack of talent, or whatever reason one feels appropriate to explain away generally poor face value numbers. To others, Nova’s stellar 9.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, and 3.15 xFIP, coupled with a sky-high .421 BABIP and uncharacteristically high HR/FB (sitting at 14.8%) portend future success … and hopefully sooner, rather than later. Which side is correct?
In reality … neither. Yes, Nova’s ERA is likely to decrease, as his underlying performance has been quite strong – though, it should be noted that his groundball numbers are way down, from 52.7% last year to 42.5% thus far. Yes, many of those liners and bloopers that have led to high hit totals will find gloves next time around. However, Nova has also been hit pretty freaking hard thus far, allowing roughly 23.8% line drives (more than 5% above the past two years) and 33.8% fly balls (also 5% above the norm). FIP and xFIP do not quite adjust for this, so the true performance of Nova – that is, the performance our expectations should be predicated upon – lies somewhere in between.
In the field, it is quite a relief to see only one of Ibanez and Nunez roaming the outfield, and it is very nice of good ol’ Buck to start Mark Reynolds at the hot corner – a fine way to prod Mark Teixeira to go the other way.
Onto the line-ups:
|Baltimore Orioles||New York Yankees|
|Endy Chavez, LF||Derek Jeter, SS|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||Curtis Granderson, CF|
|Nick Markakis, RF||Alex Rodriguez, DH|
|Adam Jones, CF||Robinson Cano, 2B|
|Matt Wieters, C||Mark Teixeira, 1B|
|Chris Davis, 1B||Raul Ibanez, RF|
|Nick Johnson, DH||Eric Chavez, 3B|
|Mark Reynolds, 3B||Andruw Jones, LF|
|Robert Andino, 2B||Russell Martin, C|
|Jake Arrieta, SP||Ivan Nova, SP|
The first pitch is scheduled for 7:00 pm, on YES and ESPN – let’s go Yankees!