Ivan Nova went from a Yankees trade deadline afterthought to a near ace for the Pirates in August and September. After starting 2016 in the bullpen for New York, the right-hander returned to the rotation in May and recorded a 4.86 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 91 innings. Upon his arrival in Pittsburgh, Nova was expected to eat innings and little else. He promptly went out and won seven of 11 starts, going 7-3, on a team sinking in the standings. He registered a 3.06 ERA and compiled an astonishing 52:3 K:BB in 64.2 innings. PNC Park's spacious outfield compares favorably to the Yankees' bandbox, and his improved control after the trade to a club widely known for fixing pitcher woes fueled a significant portion of his improvement. Nova re-signed with the Pirates in December, agreeing to a three-year deal that will allow him to remain in a pitcher-friendly environment as a fixture in the Pittsburgh rotation.
Nova (2-2) allowed a single run on just four hits and a walk while striking out seven batters over seven innings during Sunday's win over the Yankees. After striking out just eight batters over 20 innings through his first three starts, Nova's seven punchouts Sunday are certainly notable. Perhaps he was particularly motivated to face his former club, but showcasing that upside warrants attention because he's pitched well since joining the Pirates. Nova sports a 2.00 ERA and 0.95 WHIP that's supported by a solid 2.96 FIP this year, and he'll look to continue his strong start to the season against Miami next weekend.
Nova, who suffered a 2-0 loss against St. Louis on Monday, tossed his fourth complete game in 14 career starts with Pittsburgh. He's compiled more complete games than walks (three in 84.2 innings) since coming to the Pirates at the trade deadline in 2016. Nova will face his old team, the Yankees, over the weekend at PNC Park, where the righty has registered a 2.41 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 33:2 K:BB in 52.1 career innings.
Nova (1-2) took the loss Monday against the Cardinals despite tossing eight innings of two-run ball with five hits, no walks with three strikeouts. Nova was incredibly efficient, needing just 78 pitches in his abbreviated complete game, with his only mistakes coming on a solo homer in the third inning and an RBI single in the seventh. He threw first-pitch strikes to 18 batters and induced 13 groundball outs -- both positive signs for a hurler who pitches to contact as he does. Nova has a low K/9 of just 3.6, but he has yet to walk a batter through 20 innings and will take a sterling 2.25 ERA into Sunday's start against his old club, the Yankees.
Nova (1-1) gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits in Wednesday's 9-2 loss to the Reds. He struck out just one and didn't issue a walk. After a an impressive turnaround with the Pirates last year (including a 52:3 K:BB over 64.2 innings) and a sharp season debut, Nova had some buzz going, but this start showed how mediocre he can be. Of course, you could certainly argue that it's much better for a pitcher's floor to be mediocrity than disaster. Nova should provide solid value, but don't expect that he'll magically blossom into some sort of groundballing superstar.
Nova (1-0) allowed one unearned run on six hits while striking out four across six innings to earn the win Friday against the Braves. Nova recorded an outstanding start while enjoying plenty of run support before letting the bullpen close out the victory after he burned through 93 pitches. Although he failed to post lower than a 4.90 ERA in any of his last three seasons with the Yankees, he's off to a fast start with the Pirates and he could be a player who posts a solid return for fantasy owners. He'll make his next start Wednesday against the Reds.
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