Ivan Nova shutdown the Rays on Wednesday night as he pitched his best game of the season holding them to just one run over eight innings. And if anybody needed a game like that it was him.
Nova had been getting absolutely lit up lately. Over his previous four starts to yesterday, Nova had a 6.48 ERA and batters had a .898 OPS against him. The big difference, he kept the ball down.
“You know that’s when his stuff is on, when he’s getting ground ball outs with his fastball,” Joe Girardi told Josh Thompson of the Journal News. “You know his ball is sinking and he’s locating where he wants to and he’s down in the zone.”
Nova has really had problems keeping the ball down in the zone consistently and when he lets the ball get too much of the plate he has been getting hit hard. He had a similar problem at times last year and really turned a corner when he put that behind him (a new slider didn’t hurt either).
Hopefully this is a turning point in his season because the Yankees were counting on a consistent Nova this season. If he can manage that it would go a long way toward pulling the starting rotation out of its early funk.