Ivan Nova's 2017 season was full of strong splits. He pitched well in the first half (3.21 ERA, .297 wOBA against), only to struggle in the second (5.83 ERA, .383 wOBA against). He pitched well at home (2.80 ERA), but struggled to keep the ball in the park and was frequently hit hard on the road (5.02 ERA). Perhaps of most concern, Nova struggled against lefties, allowing a .306/.342/.516 line to them. Interestingly enough, he was more successful in the first half when he wasn't piling up strikeouts, as his K/9 jumped from 5.0 in the first half to 8.7 in the second. Of his three pitches, only his curveball was consistently effective, as opposing hitters did a lot of damage against his two-seamer and four-seamer. Despite the second-half strikeout surge, Nova's ongoing issues with the long ball -- particularly away from PNC Park -- will limit the interest owners have in him at the draft table this spring, and he'll need to find a way to neutralize lefties to replicate his late-2016 success.
Nova left Thursday's game with an injured right index finger, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Fortunately, X-rays were negative, so Nova should be able to have a normal offseason. He was injured while squaring around to bunt in the third inning. The 30-year-old ends the campaign with a 4.14 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 131:36 K:BB -- his ratios were nearly identical to those from 2016 despite worse peripherals.
Nova left Thursday's game after taking a pitch off his finger while trying to bunt, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. This is a tough way to end the season for Nova, who allowed one run on four hits over two innings before he exited the game. Hopefully this isn't anything that will affect his offseason routine. Nova's strikeout and walk rates both went in the wrong direction this year, but his ratios were still serviceable. He's under contract for two more seasons and should be secure in his role as a starter entering spring training.
Nova (11-14) allowed two runs, one of which was earned, on six hits and four walks while striking out two across five innings, but received no decision Friday against the Cardinals. Nova allowed single runs in each of the first two innings before settling down and holding the Cardinals scoreless while the offense picked him up by scoring a pair of runs which allowed in the leave the game a 2-2 tie. After struggling through three rough outings, he's bounced back by allowing just three earned runs over his last two starts, and he could be very helpful when he makes his last start of the season next Friday against the Nationals.
Nova (calf) will make his next start Friday against the Cardinals, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Nova exited his last start with calf discomfort, but it doesn't appear the issue will force him to miss a turn in the rotation. The 30-year-old was able to toss a side session Tuesday with no issues, clearing the way for him to make his next start on schedule. After an impressive start to the season, Nova has turned in an unremarkable 6.22 ERA in 11 second-half starts.
Nova (calf) said he expects to make his next start on schedule, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Nova apparently doesn't think the calf discomfort that forced him out of Saturday's contest is anything that will keep him from taking his next turn in the rotation. The Pirates will likely wait to see how he responds to a side session before confirming his status, but it sounds like he might not miss any time. Nova was in the midst of his best start in nearly a month before departing, striking out six and giving up just one runs in 6.1 innings.