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Times have definitely changed for Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ivan Nova.
The 30-year old right hander finished last season with a 5-2 record along with an ERA just above three in 11 starts following a trade deadline deal that brought him to Pittsburgh from the New York Yankees. To say he ended the season and started his offseason in style would be an understatement.
Following his stellar end to the season with the Pirates, Nova was looked upon as being a hot commodity in the free agent market, prompting fans to hold on to hope. That hope surrounded the possibility that the Bucs front office would sign Nova to a long-term contract and not allow him to get away like J.A. Happ did when his tenure with the Pirates ended a year before.
General Manager Neal Huntindon, who is known to have made some good and bad decisions during his tenure as GM, signed Nova to a three-year contract thus thrusting him into the role as veteran starter within a young starting rotation.
While Nova posted a 9-6 record with a 3.21 ERA in 18 starts before the All-Star break, the months of July, August and September have been a much different story.
Nova is 2-7 with a dismal 6.62 ERA in 10 starts since the break. Hitters are hitting .324 against Nova in that span and his 1.66 WHIP is less than desirable.
Nova’s latest outing Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals is proof of his continuous woes that won’t seem to cease.
While he struck out seven and walked just a pair in five innings, Nova surrendered a pair of home runs to Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuk and allowed five earned runs on five hits. The outing marked the third consecutive for Nova in which he has allowed four or more earned runs. In fact, he has allowed 14 earned runs in that span.
Some may say Nova is undeserving of that three-year contract he received prior to the season. However, those same people may have been the ones that urged the front office to make that move back in December.
Regardless of his struggles, resigning Nova was a good move. He filled a need the Pirates desperately needed to fill and for the first half of the season, he did filled that void well.
There is time for Nova to rebound and with the Pirates all but eliminated from postseason contention, it allows him to have enough time to figure things out.
One can only hope he can figure things out and return to late 2016/early 2017 form as he and the rest of the Pirates prepare for the 2018 season.
Baseball Talk on the Web
- The Cleveland Indians extended their winning streak to 18 games Sunday.
- Washington became the first time to clinch a playoff spot Sunday, winning the NL East title.
- Buster Olney believes paranoia over sign stealing will destroy efforts to improve pace of play.
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