Ivan Nova‘s winning streak ended last week against Baltimore after he barely avoided ending it against Detroit in the previous start. He had a nice bounce back on Tuesday against the Rays though, holding them to just two innings over seven innings.
He was especially strong early on, retiring 13 batters in a row after a 1st inning single by Ben Zobrist. He also struck out eight batters as he deployed his slider expertly and with such precision that he only needed 93 pitches to get through seven innings.
“I felt really comfortable with (the slider),” Nova told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “It’s a pitch I had after the second half last year.”
That’s the pitch that turned around his 2011 season after a demotion to the minors so it’s fitting that he used it to turn around his recent skid. The Yankees need Nova to step up and be consistent this year. It certainly seems like he is ready to step up and be a strong No. 2 starter that the Yankees need.