“You’re going to make some mistakes,” Joe Girardi said. “Just don’t compound it with carrying one at-bat into the next. Don’t walk people.”
In getting the Yankees first win, Nova allowed 10 hits, six of which went for extra bases. But a home run in the second inning and back-to-back doubles in the seventh were the only hits that caused any problems. Nova didn’t walk a single batter, and he struck out seven of them.
“I don’t really think he gets rattled,” Girardi said. “For a 25-year-old kid pitching in this division, I think he’s pretty business-like. He’s professional about what he needs to do and I don’t think he carries things over. I think he’s able to put things behind him now – to put a bad pitch behind him, to put an inning behind him. When he first came up, that was something that he needed to work on. He worked really hard on it last year and was effective. I think he did it today.”
You might remember Nova’s first partial season in the big leagues. He came up late in 2010 and seemed to pitch well the first few innings, but once an outing started going downhill, it hit rock bottom in a hurry. In the second half of last year — and throughout the game last night — Nova kept that from happening. He’d slip, but never really slide.
“Nova never backs down,” Russell Martin said. “He’s relentless. He gives his best effort every time no matter what the situation is.”
To put it another way: “He’s the same,” Derek Jeter said. “Every time out, he’s the same. He had a lot of success last year. I thought his confidence got a little bit better there last season, the more success he had. It’s carried into today’s game, but he pretty much has the same demeanor every time.”
For a Yankees team that just needed a win, Nova delivered.
“Once I saw the first run on the scoreboard,” Nova said. “I said, ‘That’s a chance to win the game.’”
Associated Press photo