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View Full Version : Ivan Nova being overlooked by Yankees?



212SportsWriterMike
02-24-2012, 05:57
It's easy to forget the type of season Ivan Nova had for the New York Yankees in 2011 with all the hype of two new starters, Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, bolstering the Bombers rotation. But has it gotten to the point where people are overlooking Nova as the Yanks No. 2 starter?

By all accounts, there was no rookie, or player for that matter, who was more important to their team than Nova was to the Yankees in 2011. With CC Sabathia and a rotation full of problems, Nova emerged as one of the best young starters in the MLB.

I could even make the argument that Nova was the Yanks' most consistent pitcher during certain stretches of the regular season. He had a couple of tough decisions last September, but in all, Nova went 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA in the most important month of the season.

In August, Nova elevated his game to Sabathia's level and outpitched the Bombers ace.

Sabathia: 3-2, 4.68 ERA.

Nova: 5-0, 3.82 ERA.

Kuroda proved to be a solid pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and improved his numbers each season in the MLB. But he still brings doubt coming from one of the weakest offensive divisions in the majors.

The NL West had three teams ranked 21st or worse in runs scored last season while the AL East had every team in the top 15 in the same category. Like it or not, it's a big adjustment for any pitcher.

Pineda is more of a move for the future and it's become clear he needs more work on his third pitch in order to have real success. An All-Star appearance would look great for any rookie but Pineda had plenty of trouble in the second half of the season.

Before All-Star break: 8-6, 3.03 ERA.

After All-Star break: 1-4, 5.12 ERA.

Also, there's a stark contrast to Pineda's numbers at home as opposed to on-the-road. He pitched far better in Safeco Field, a pitcher's park, but didn't do so hot in opposing parks. Yankee Stadium certainly isn't friendly to pitchers and Pineda might discover that fact quickly.

Home: 5-4, 2.92 ERA.

Away: 4-6, 4.40 ERA.

There's no telling how any player will deal with the pressure of pitching in the Bronx and both Kuroda and Pineda get no more time to figure out their problems than any other player who's worn the pinstripes.

All that being said, Nova has already had a 16-win season for New York all the while making it look like pressure isn't a problem for the young righty. He's already won a playoff game in Yankee Stadium and been established as the Yanks' second-best pitcher.

As far as I'm concerned: Nova is the Bombers No. 2 starter because of results and it's his job to lose coming into spring.

Bobcat
02-25-2012, 13:23
Everything I've seen and heard from Girardi is that there is no question that Nova is their number 2 starter. He even addressed it immediately after they acquired Pineda, saying Pineda would not be their number 2. A few days ago, Girardi stated that nothing is official other than Sabathia starting Opening Day but, I'd be surprised if the rest of the rotation order wasn't Nova, Pineda, Kuroda, Hughes/Garcia (most likely Hughes).

Also, Pineda's home/away ERA is a bit deceiving. All his other home/away split stats are almost identical (with the exception of doubles). Which leads me to believe he was more unlucky away from Safeco than anything.

As far as Kuroda goes, I don't think he's going to pitch that well overall. Obviously, all the points you brought up were valid, and on top of that I just have a bad feeling.

The real concern I have is that Sabathia will be the only starter pitching past the 6th inning on a regular basis. That was Nova's one weakness last year and even 2 years ago when Hughes won 18 games, he couldn't pitch deep into games. Pineda has already showed signs of not being able to finish and I think with Kuroda coming from the NL, he'll have the same problem.