When the New York Yankees’ game against the Cleveland Indians was postponed on Wednesday, it meant that Ivan Nova’s turn in the rotation was skipped. Nova will start next Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Ivan Nova skipping a start could be a good thing for the Yankees. Since July of last season, he has not been the same pitcher that he was in 2011 and at the start of 2012. In 2011, Nova went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA. He proved to me that he was capable of being a big game pitcher and that he could pitch on the big stage.
He got off to a very good start in 2012, going 9-2 with a 4.32 ERA. However, he soon began to fade. From July to September, he went 3-6, and part of this might have been due to rotator cuff inflammation.
I did not blame Joe Girardi when he benched Nova in favor of the rising David Phelps for the second to last game of the regular season. The Yankees were in a tight division race with the Baltimore Orioles and it was vital that they did not start a streaky pitcher in that situation.
Maybe the rain-out will be a good thing for Ivan Nova. This will give him a few extra days to prepare for his next start. At the beginning of the season, it was unknown if Nova would have a spot in the rotation due to the continued development of Phelps. When Phil Hughes was put on the DL, Nova’s spot in the rotation was secured.
I would like to see Nova return to being the pitcher that he was in 2011. Wednesday’s rain-out will give him extra time to prepare for his next start, and he will also be able to work on his mechanics. If Nova continues to struggle, I would like to see Phelps take his spot in the rotation. I really liked what I saw from Phelps last season, and he has the potential to be a very good starter.
The Diamondbacks are no cupcake, but they are not dominant either. A good outing by Nova could be a sign that he is getting back on the right track.