Coming into tonight’s game New York Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova was off to a shaky start despite his 2-1 record, pitching to a 5.94 ERA in 16.2 innings in which he gave up 11 runs. His WHIP was incredibly alarming at 1.740 and his K/9 was down drastically from his career average (6.8) to merely 4.3. However, he had pitched a quality seven innings in which he gave up only two runs to the Boston Red Sox last time out almost a week ago, seemingly getting his act together.
Tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays the often-cocky right-hander was terrible, going only four innings giving up eight earned runs on eight hits — four of which were home runs as catcher Ryan Hanigan took him deep twice, and Will Myers and Evan Longoria added one each for good measure. Nova has now given up 19 runs in 20 innings pitched, good for about a 9.00 season ERA. He would leave the game due to a possible injury in the fifth inning — and the Yankees went on to lose 16-1.
Although it is only four starts, in which two were completely awful, Nova deserves the ridicule he will receive from the media, considering he often talks of himself as one of the best pitchers in the game, and walks around with a cockiness and unwarranted confidence that now makes him look like an absolute fool. He is a middle-of-the-pack fourth starter at best. He has no excuses after putting up such a poor performance against the Rays, who have solid hitters, but are far from offensive juggernauts (although Nova was able to make them look like world-beaters).
Yankees’ brass and fans alike can only hope that the beatdown he took from the hands of the Rays will serve as a piece of humble-pie for Nova and he can curb some of his false bravado and get back on track if he is able to make his next start, which should be at home against the Los Angeles Angels this coming Friday in the Bronx.