Ivan Nova Continues His Renaissance In Pittsburgh

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Ivan Nova has now made four starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Through this four starts, Ivan Nova has pitched extremely well.

On Tuesday night Ivan Nova made his fourth start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. And Nova’s fourth start was his best one yet. In this start on Tuesday night, Nova threw a complete game against the Houston Astros.

The Pirates earned a 7-1 victory over the Astros on Tuesday night and Nova was the biggest reason why. Nova held the Astros to just one run on six hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. In fact, the walk that Ivan Nova issued on Tuesday night was the first he had issued as a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Nova’s complete game on Tuesday was the third complete game of the season by Pirate pitching. The other two were by Jeff Locke and Gerrit Cole. And this was Nova’s first complete game since he had three in 2013.

As I wrote about over the weekend, through his first three Pirate starts it looked like Ivan Nova might be becoming Ray Searage’s latest success story. After his gem on Tuesday night this appears to be more true than ever. Through four starts Nova is making everyone, myself included, who questioned his acquisition look foolish. 

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Ivan Nova has now pitched 25 1/3 innings as a Pittsburgh Pirate. In those 25 1/3 innings pitched he has walked just one batter, struck out 18, and he has a WHIP of 1.11. This has resulted in Nova posting a 3.20 ERA, 2.87 FIP, and a 3.24 xFIP.

The most encouraging sign from Nova is the lack of home runs allowed. In 97 innings pitched with the New York Yankees this season Nova was allowing 1.71 HR/9. However, he has allowed just two home runs while pitching for the Pirates. And both of these home runs came off of the bat of Brandon Phillips in Nova’s first start as a Pirate.

Last night was the best Ivan Nova looked so far as a Pirate pitcher as well. His pitches had good movement, he was generating ground balls, and he got plenty of swings and misses. In fact, Nova flirted with a Maddux. He completed his complete game in under 100 pitches, but he allowed a run in the ninth inning ruining the Maddux.

Next: Kill The Win

Ivan Nova continues to be the latest Ray Searage success story. Over the weekend, Nick wrote that the Pirates should re-sign Nova this offseason. And after Tuesday night’s gem, I am now on board with this as well.