Ivan Nova must snap back into form after a dreadful start against the Boston Red Sox his last outing. Before the month of September rolled around, Nova was the New York Yankees‘ best pitcher taking the mound. He won the August American League pitcher of the month award, going 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA, striking out 31, while only walking 12 in 43.1 innings pitched in the six starts he was on the hill.
But, in what could be the final month of the season, in his most pressure-filled start of the year, Nova was not in the previous month’s form. He only went four innings and gave up three runs on five hits with two walks when he faced the Sox. He didn’t get the loss in a back and forth game, but the Yanks ultimately lost in 10 innings.
Now, in an even more vital game to ensure the Yanks do not drop even further in the wild card standings, Nova has to face another high-powered offense in the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees lost to the O’s last night and are now three games back in the standings. Not only does he have to try and shut down the Orioles’ offense, but he has to be efficient as well, something he was not in his last start. He must go deep into this game, because the Yankees are very short-handed in the bullpen; a bullpen that was not only devastatingly taxed in the Red Sox series, but some of their key arms also have lingering injuries. Not to say that the season rides on Nova’s right arm, but yeah, his start tonight in Baltimore will play a big part in whether New York fans can continue to watch baseball, or strictly rely on football for entertainment.