Can Nova pitch a meaningful game right now?

The easy answer is that, no, they obviously can’t send someone who has been as bad as Nova has been this year and can’t even be counted on to so much as keep the Yankees’ in the game for 5 or 6 innings out to start a pivotal late season game. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. As Sherman notes, the Yankees don’t have any obviously better alternatives to Nova. David Phelps wouldn’t have started in three weeks by the time next Tuesday rolls around, and may be needed out of the bullpen between then and now anyway. Starting Hiroki Kuroda on three days rest isn’t guaranteed to succeed either, and would potentially force the Yankees to choose between starting Nova and Andy Pettitte on short rest in the event that Game 162 was a must win.

These are very reasonable concerns but, depending on context, I don’t think they outweigh the concern involved in calling Nova’s number. If the magic number entering that game is one, meaning that there would be three other games (counting possible Baltimore losses) in which the Yankees could clinch the division, I’d probably go ahead and take my chances with Nova, but short of that I think you have to roll the dice with Kuroda, and maybe Pettitte too. The relative value of winning the division and avoiding the one game wildcard playoff is just too high to leave in the hands of your fifth starter in the final series of the season. In effect, all games would be playoff games at that point, and playoff games mean that you have to win or lose with your best players.

So what about you? If the Yankees haven’t clinched the division by the time Nova’s next turn comes up, do you go ahead and start him, or do you call on someone else

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

6 thoughts on “Can Nova pitch a meaningful game right now?

  1. Maybe run with a shorter leash than last night, and play starter by committee? The YES guys last night were blathering on how Joe left Ivan in so he could "work things out." No way they could have avoided the first two runs, but there was sufficient warning that he could have been pulled before the next pair of runs.

    That still requires the team to score more than two runs – but if they can't do that, does it really make any difference?

  2. He has the stuff to succeed. Whether Nova can pull it together when his confidence has to be shot and the team's confidence in his has to be shot (not to mention the fans), Nova would be the biggest crap shoot in the entire crap shoot of the last six games of the season. If it comes to it, the Yankees won't have any choice to try to coax four or five decent innings out of him and have the bullpen cranked up in every inning just in case.

    And Jay, the Yankees ran into a really talented pitcher at the top of his game last night. Tip your cap to Morrow on that one.

    • OK….

      I'm just getting so tired of the Yankees running into a pitcher on a good night, seemingly every night we face them. I'd be happy if every team we played put Deunsing (or Garcia, or even Nova) on the mound every time we faced them.

  3. Here's a thought. It seems earlier in the season Nova was striking a lot of guys out. Don't have any stats to back that up. it's just my perception. Given his penchance for self-delusion (like thinking he pitched well when he didn't), I'm wondering if he thinks he's somehow morphed into a strikeout pitcher, that's why he gives up so many extrabase hits on pitches up in the zone. When he was hot he relied on getting ground ball outs. Just me speculating, of course.