“I’ve just got to keep pitching the way I pitch, and I don’t think it’s going to be any problem,” Nova said. “… You know what, I get more excited. I feel more excited. I know you’ve got to do more and try your best of what you’ve been doing. One way or the other, that’s going to help you. That’s what I feel.”
Even as a rookie who was shipped to the minor leagues last season, Nova always showed considerable confidence. He showed the same thing when I covered him in Triple-A, and to be honest, it initially came across as arrogance. At least, that’s the way I took it when first I covered him, but that’s shifted. Nova believes in himself and trusts himself, and perhaps that’s why he was never particularly worried after a couple of erratic starts earlier this spring.
Tonight, Nova makes his fourth spring start, and so the evaluation period has really kicked into gear.
“It’s the fourth or fifth start, they’re going to get spread out a lot more and start to use all their pitches,” Joe Girardi said. “If you’re having a hard time getting one pitch going in the first couple of innings you’ll have a little more time to get it going.”
Confident or not, Nova approaches this with something to proove.
“I always say that I’m in competition,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I win 20 games, I’m going to be in competition. I feel that way.”
Here’s the lineup Nova is facing tonight:
Endy Chavez LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis DH
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 3B
Ryan Flaherty RF
Robert Andino 2B
Associated Press photo