Maybe this is part of the learning process, but Ivan Nova has not been a very good pitcher lately. Three starts in a row he seemed to have put it all together, but his past four outings have been erratic, and they’ve been more bad than good.
“I don’t have really good command (last night),” Nova said. “But I’ve got to find another way to stay in the game. I don’t think I did that.”
He’s right. He didn’t.
What I found odd about last night’s start was that Nova kept getting ground balls, which is usually a sure sign that he has his good stuff and his good command. Every out was either on the ground or on strikes, but he kept falling behind in the count, and he kept walking guys.
He was attacking hitters a few weeks ago. Last night he was missing spots in a ballpark that begs for aggressive pitching.
“You have to be able to throw strikes,” Joe Girardi said. “This is a ballpark (where) there aren’t a lot of home runs hit. I think you can be more aggressive in this ballpark and attack the strike zone, and that’s what he has to do. That’s what all pitchers have to do. When you get yourself in bad counts and you give free base runners, that’s when you get in trouble.”
Said Nova: “You’ve got to see what you’re doing. I was getting the ground balls with my fastball, and I should have attacked the hitter with my fastball instead of throwing too many curveballs. But that’s part of the game. That’s something you’ve got to learn from.”
It’s a learning process for every young pitcher, but lately that learning curve has not been friendly.
“This is a time where he’s going to learn,” Robinson Cano said. “Those are the kinds of mistakes that are going to make him a better pitcher, so we’ve got to be there for him.”
Associated Press photo