A closer examination of Ivan Nova

It is all but certain that Ivan Nova is going to make a playoff start for the Yankees this season. Given the erratic recent play the Yankees have gotten from Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, it is entirely possible that Nova will be asked to take the mound early in a postseason series, against a more established pitcher. With that in mind, it is high time to take a look at how Nova has done this season.

In 151.1 innings of work, Nova has pitched to a 3.81/4.05/4.12 ERA/FIP/xFIP slash line, which translates to a 92 ERA- and a 99 FIP-. That is solid regular season performance, comparable to the 91 ERA- and 92 FIP- that the Yankees got from Andy Pettitte in 2009. While most of the talk of Nova’s performance has focused on his wins total of 15 this year (yawn), the real story is that a pitcher who was slightly below average in 2010 (103 FIP-) has improved this year, albeit not by as much as the media would make you think.… Click here to read the rest

Yankee bats make like it's 2010; go silent against mediocre lefthanded junkballer in yet another extra-inning loss

Guys, you do realize you faced Felix on Monday, right? (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

I thought we were done with this. One of the banes of the 2010 Yankees’ existence — the lefthanded slop artist — was something this year’s team has convincingly put behind them, which is perhaps why watching the Yankees do absolutely nothing against Jason Vargas — a mediocre pitcher having a bad year (he came into this game with a 4.49 ERA over 180.1 innings) and who the Yankees have previously killed (7.86 career ERA vs. NYY prior to last night) — was so frustrating. I know it’s a long season and yes, even bad pitchers can shut down great offenses, and this is by no means meant to be a referendum on the team and how well I think they’ll fare going forward — for the record, I think they’re great and can win the World Series — but this game just flat-out sucked.… Click here to read the rest

Nova's 11th straight win propels Yankees back into first

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

I missed most of this one, so this’ll be quick. Ivan Nova recovered from a shaky first inning to go seven strong, striking out four and only giving up three hits as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 3-2. The win, coupled with Boston’s loss to the Rangers, landed the Yankees back in first place.

Brett Gardner hit a two-run home run — his sixth of the year — and Robinson Cano broke the tie with what would be the game-winning hit, knocking Derek Jeter in.

The Yankees were without both Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, and though the offense only picked up four hits all game — Toronto starter Brandon Morrow went six innings and struck out a Morrow-esque eight — they made their hits count. The two teams go back at it Saturday afternoon, with Ricky Romero squaring off against Bartolo Colon at 1:10pm.… Click here to read the rest

2011 a steady climb for Ivan Nova

If you’ve tracked what I’ve written this year, you’d probably know that for the majority of this season, I haven’t been a huge Ivan Nova fan. I thought he didn’t miss enough bats and didn’t display good enough control to be consistently effective at the major league level. Well, to this point, Nova’s proven me a bit wrong, hasn’t he? His entire season does not paint a picture of dominance (he’s got a 97 ERA-, a 100 FIP-, and a 101 xFIP-), however, he’s been getting gradually better as 2011 has rolled on, and he’s been pretty damn good for the last month after returning a roster-crunch fueled trip to scenic Scranton to help that city’s mayor win another election.

Before the demotion, Nova was giving up a line of .269/.340/.398/.738. That’s basically what Derek Jeter (.743 OPS) has done the entire year. That’s not bad at all, but it’s not super praiseworthy either. Since returning from the minors, though, Nova’s line against is sparking at .255/.288(!!)/.389/.677 (essentially the 2011 version of Juan Pierre).… Click here to read the rest

Bombers blast Orioles in nightcap

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

After scoring zero runs in the opener of Sunday’s doubleheader, things didn’t start out promisingly in the night game, as the Orioles jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead against Ivan Nova. However, Curtis Granderson had other ideas, blasting his Major League lead-tying 37th home run int top of the third innings to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Robinson Cano would break a 3-3 tie in the sixth with a solo shot — the first of back-to-back-to-back home runs with Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones, the first time the Yankees pulled that feat off since May 20, 2009 — and Curtis would add his Major League-leading 38th homer an inning later, as the Yankees took Sunday’s second game 8-3.

Ivan Nova settled down after letting in a run in each of the first three innings, ultimately going seven-plus innings and striking out seven. Nova departed with two men on and no outs in the eighth, at which point David Robertson was summoned so he could promptly put his contractually mandated runner on to create the highest Leverage Index of the game, and subsequently strike out the side.… Click here to read the rest

Pondering the postseason rotation

Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

Last night, I had an excellent time at the Wood-n-Tap with some of my favorite fellow Yankee fanatics. We ate, we drank, we laughed, we mocked the bunt (along with anything else worth mocking), and generally chatted about all things baseball. It was a great time, especially as I haven’t had a chance to really focus on a game for this past week or so (been very busy with wedding planning stuff!).

At one point during the middling innings of the game, Rebecca Glass of YDB and I mused over the rotation that the Yankees might deploy come the postseason. Granted, the discussion is a little premature as the Yankees haven’t technically clinched a playoff berth yet (I believe the magic number is around 27 or so), but it’s still a fun conversation to have nevertheless.

Let’s take a look at some of the potential options:

CC Sabathia — Although CC hasn’t looked as sharp during his past few starts (not to mention his performances against the Sox this season), there is absolutely no reason why he wouldn’t lead the charge into each round of the postseason.… Click here to read the rest

Nova leads Yanks to 3-0 win and series victory over Twins

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Ivan Nova bounced back from his shelling against the Royals last Tuesday as well as any0ne could’ve hoped for, hurling seven shutout innings of five-hit, five-strikeout, one-walk ball against the Twins, leading the Yankees to a 3-0 victory and series win. It was yet another impressive start in a season full of them for the Yankees’ young righthander.

Nova’s finest moment came in the fifth, with the score still 0-0. The Twins put their first two runners on — the second one reached on a fielding miscue between Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher — and Nova was facing a second-and-third, no-out jam. Nova came up huge, striking both Rene Tosoni and Matt Tolbert out on sliders before coaxing an inning-ending groundout out of Drew Butera.

Nova’s slider was his best pitch by far on Sunday, as he generated five swinging strikes out of the 14 he threw, for a whopping 36% whiff rate. Nova worked off his four-seamer, which didn’t get any swinging strikes, and his curve, which he there 19 times and got one swinging strike.… Click here to read the rest

Just stop, Bondy. Just stop.

I haven’t done this in a long time and they should be taking over Deadspin soon, so it’s time to hack up a piece of bad sports journalism in honor of Fire Joe Morgan.

Filip Bondy of the Daily News thinks it would be a good idea to move Bartolo Colon to the bullpen.

After introducing the situation….

That talk is wrong. If Burnett is truly, foolishly an untouchable in this situation, then it’s time to look next at Bartolo Colon. No long-range good can come from pulling the plug on one of the two young starters who are a big part of the near and distant future. The Yanks have very little invested in Colon, or his prospects.

Pay attention to that last sentence. If the Yankees have so little invested in Colon, which is true, why would they worry about protecting his arm? They’ve already gotten more out of them than they could’ve imagined and I think they’re probably sticking to the “ride him into the ground” plan, which is exactly what they should do.… Click here to read the rest

Yankee bats pick Nova up in 9-7 comeback win

I'm not even sure there's a word for what Robbie did to that ball. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Royals sure seem to have Ivan Nova‘s number.

Kansas City — responsible for Nova’s shortest and arguably worst outing of the year back in May — beat Nova up for a second straight time, dropping seven earned runs (a season-high for Nova) on nine hits over 5.1 innings on the young righthander. Those nine hits against Nova included three doubles, a triple and a home run. Nova did manage two 1-2-3 innings, but he couldn’t hold on to the lead after the Yankees battled back to jump on top 3-2 in the third. With the way the Royals were seemingly pummeling Nova at will it’s rather amazing he even lasted as long as he did, and doubly amazing that he was able to get a win. As Jason Collette of DRaysBay noted on Twitter, Nova joined Jo-Jo Reyes as the only starters in 2011 to give up 7-plus runs in less than 6 innings and pick up a win.… Click here to read the rest