Examining Ivan Nova as he looks to rebound

Ivan Nova‘s last start was the consummate disaster start. After being pinned to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first, he proceeded to surrender seven runs to the Orioles, including a Chris Davis grand slam, to the Orioles en route to a big loss. After an up and down season, some wonder if Nova will pitch in the playoffs:

So, you see, we have a little drama. Tack on that Nova (10-5) has won only one game since June 17 and did not pitch beyond six innings in any of his July starts, and you can even begin to ponder if Nova’s position in the rotation will be secure when Andy Pettitte returns from the disabled list later in August, or September. And if you’re going to ponder September, well, then you might want to begin to think about who’ll start in October.

Given the team’s support of Nova over the last season and a half plus, I’d be pretty surprised if Nova didn’t start when Pettitte returns; I think we can all safely assume Freddy Garcia will be bumped for the veteran lefty.… Click here to read the rest

No Excuses For Nova’s Disaster

“Bad luck,” Ivan Nova said. “I had a bad day. It was a tough day for me. I threw a lot of good sliders, I threw some good curveballs, I broke two bats and they got base hits. It’s not a good day. … I felt really good and I threw strikes but I gave up 10 hits, nine runs. That’s part of the game. I just have to turn the page.”

Wrong answer. I’m sure this quote will be analyzed ad nauseam today, but this is a terribly stupid thing to say. Not only does it show his own ignorance to how he pitched, but it shows a lack of maturity. Personally, I don’t need Nova to admit how poorly he pitched, in fact, I’d rather he not answer the question if he truly believes his 9 run start to the Orioles was some finely crafted masterpiece gone awry by 10 lucky hits and a fluke walk.

With that said, I am not in the business of arguing my opinion of how players should act, I’m here to offer an analytical look at the disastrous game last night.… Click here to read the rest

More musings on Upton

Yesterday morning, Steve posted about trading for Justin Upton. I’m all for this idea; Upton’s a great talent who’s still under 25 (for about a month or so more) and he’s under team control through 2015. He’d make the Yankees better just like he’d make every other team in the league better if he were traded to them. If the Yankees can get a reasonable deal done in July, they should do it. However, I wonder if they’d be better served waiting for the offseason.

Last night while in the car, I heard Jon Heyman on WFAN, and he seemed to think that the Diamondbacks are seemingly just gauging interest now and will look to move Upton after the season rather than at the trade-deadline. If this comes to pass, I’d like the Yankees to travel down that path. The general thought around the Internet is that any trade the Yankees make for Justin Upton will have to include Ivan Nova.… Click here to read the rest

Yankee rally fizzles in the 9th, lose to Angels 10-8

Hey Robbie, do you know who falls for the fake to third pick-off move? You, and no one else.

The Yankees lost a frustrating one against the Angels today. Anytime the offense puts eight on the board you should win the game. Unfortunately, the Yankee pitching didn’t agree in this one, giving up ten.

The Bombers did their damage with the long ball. The Yankees roughed up Jered Weaver, tagging him for five runs on three homers. Alex Rodriguez hit a two run shot to tie the game at two runs apiece in the first inning. Weaver also gave up solo shots to Curtis Granderson and Eric Chavez.

One would think that the five runs on three bombs would have been enough to give the Yankees a lead in this one, but Ivan Nova was just as bad as Weaver. Nova allowed six runs in six innings of work, giving up homers to Erick Aybar, Albert Pujols and Maicer Izturis.… Click here to read the rest

Is history on New York’s side?

With Friday the 13th not that far in the rear view, superstitious thoughts are on the mind.  When aren’t superstitious thoughts on the mind when it comes to baseball?

Only two times during New York’s eleven pennant years since 1969 have the pinstripes possessed the best record in baseball on July 15th.  In five of the eleven pennants seasons since 1969, the Yankees had the third best record in the Major Leagues.  Maybe the Rangers and Dodgers recent fades are not exactly welcome by the Yankees (would the third best record be better than the top record?).  Despite the frequently talked about issues regarding hitting with runners in scoring position, the Yankees have the fifth rated offense in all of baseball.  They also have hit nine more homers than any other team (on a franchise record pace).  Besides, the Yankees supposedly crippled pitching staff still possesses the fifth best ERA in the game.   As everyone knows, pitching wins championships in the end. … Click here to read the rest

Nova fans 10, Yanks win 3 of 4 in Boston

Can every inning be the first inning at Fenway Park? The Yankees scored 14 runs in the four first innings of this series, including two last night to jump out to an early lead against Jon Lester and the Red Sox in Fenway. Derek Jeter, who ended up with three hits, led the game off with (what else?) a single to right off of a left-handed pitcher. Curtis Granderson followed with a single of his own, this one to center. With two on and still no one out, Mark Teixeira ripped a 1-0 pitch down the left field line for a double, scoring Jeter. After a weak fly out by Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano drew a walk. Nick Swisher came up with the bases loaded and it a ground ball to Boston third baseman Mauro Gomez, who stepped on third for the force out. At that moment, it looked like the Yankees were, once again, going to come up short with the bases loaded.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees get zero hits with runners in scoring position, win anyway

Even Soriano is happy after nine straight wins.

The Yankees extended their winning streak to an impressive nine games in the fashion to which they’ve become accustomed: Unbelievable pitching from starters and relievers, lots of home runs, and no hits with runners in scoring position. Sunday’s game was unusual. To look at the box score one might think that Ivan Nova was dominating and the offense was somewhat dormant. The impression I got from watching this game, however, was that the offense was also a bit unlucky and Nova benefited from a deeper ballpark than Yankee Stadium.

The Bombers scored their runs on a Mark Teixeira sac fly (Tex had three hits on the day, two for doubles), solo home runs from Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano and a passed ball. That was more than enough, but the Yankees left runs on the table. The Bombers loaded the bases in the first inning and had runners on second and third with just one out in the sixth inning and came out of each situation with a total of one run (Tex’s sacrifice).… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread: Yankees versus Nationals, Sunday June 17th

The Yankees have won eight consecutive games coming into today’s matinee against the Nationals. All good things must come to an end but there is no reason why the team can’t make it nine straight wins. Incredible starting pitching has fueled the Yankee surge. Ironically, CC Sabathia has probably been the team’s worst starter during this stretch. Ivan Nova will toe the rubber for the Yankees today. He was brilliant in his last start, allowing no runs and just six base runners in seven innings. Hopefully he stays hot. The Nationals will counter with familiar foe Edwin Jackson. Jackson has pitched strong this year, posting a 1.01 WHIP and an ERA of 3.02. That’s all fine and good, but he’s still Edwin Jackson and the Yankees know him well. Enjoy.… Click here to read the rest

On Ivan Nova, briefly

If I told you that Ivan Nova would raise his K/9 by three full batters and his K% by seven percentage points while dropping his BB/9 into the two’s and cut his BB% by almost a full percentage, you’d probably think he’d be having a great year. Add in the fact that he’s increased his strand rate by just over two percentage points and you’d have to assume he was definitely having a fine year. Higher strikeouts? Lower walks? More guys left on the bases? That’s all a formula for run prevention. But of course, those numbers don’t tell us the entire story.

When I last checked in with Nova, he had a HR/FB% of 18.2. I thought there was no way that rate of homers could maintain itself and I was sort of right. Nova’s HR/FB% isn’t 18.2 anymore; it’s 18.8. Since I wrote that article, he’s given up five homers in 25 innings, good for a 1.8 HR/9. There’s been just one start this year, 4/27 vs Detroit, in which Nova hasn’t allowed a home run.… Click here to read the rest