Nova didn't factor into the decision in Wednesday's 7-6 extra-inning loss to the Cubs, surrendering six runs (five earned) on eight hits and two walks over four innings while striking out three. The Pirates took him off the hook for his 10th loss of the season with a late rally, but otherwise it was a disappointing end to the season for Nova. The 31-year-old finishes 2018 with a 4.19 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, remarkably similar numbers to his 2016 (4.17/1.25) and 2017 (4.14/1.28) performances.
Nova (9-9) struck out four and picked up the win, allowing one run on four hits and a walk over six innings in a 3-1 victory over the Brewers on Saturday. The right-hander delivered his fifth quality start in his last six trips to the mound, lowering his ERA to 4.07 -- the lowest it's been since the end of June. Nova will look to keep things rolling in his next start Friday, a home rematch against the Brewers.
Nova (8-9) earned the win against the Marlins on Saturday by allowing three hits over six scoreless innings. He struck out nine and walked one. Nova let just one runner reach second base on the afternoon, and it only occurred because of a wild pitch. The 31-year-old has a 4.17 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 146.2 innings and next lines up to start Thursday in Milwaukee.
Nova (personal) is listed as the Pirates' probable starter for Saturday's game against the Marlins. It's still not entirely clear if Nova has rejoined the Pirates after missing his last turn through the rotation to tend to a personal matter, but the team's decision to include him among their probable starters suggests that he's expected back over the weekend. With Nova's return on the horizon, Nick Kingham will likely prepare for a bullpen role after limiting the Braves to one run over five innings in a spot start Sunday.
General manager Neal Huntington said he doesn't know when Nova will return from personal business, but he'll likely need to throw a bullpen session before returning to the rotation. "I would anticipate as wanting to get him off a mound again before we drop him right back into the rotation," Huntington said during his radio show Sunday. "He (Nova) may get a side and drop into the next series when we come back home." If the scenario holds true, Nova would pitch against at home against Miami, but the arrangement isn't set in stone. Nova has compiled a 3.30 ERA at PNC Park in 2018, more than two runs per game better than his road mark (5.43 ERA).