“Listen, I’m not pitching good right now,” he said after last night’s high-wire act. “I’m not pitching good. I mean, it’s hard, it’s hard when you’re not pitching good, especially when you know that you’re better than what you’re showing right now. It’s really hard for me. So I think I’ve got to enjoy this win today, the team win. That’s the most important thing. Keep my head up and go back to work. I know at some point this year I’m going to start pitching better, and I hope it’s going to be soon. I still have a lot of confidence in myself and I know I can get out of bad situations.”
At 6-2, Nova is tied with CC Sabathia for the Yankees best record. He has the longest road winning streak of any Yankees pitcher since 1995. The Yankees have won eight of his 10 starts this season.
But Nova’s 5.60 ERA is only .04 lower than Phil Hughes ERA, and even though Hughes struggled on Monday, Nova’s been the lesser pitcher this month. He’s allowed at least five earned runs in five of his past seven starts. Last night he had more walks than strikeouts for the second time this season.
Thing is, Nova’s fastball velocity has been good. Less than two weeks ago, his slider was so sharp he struck out 12 batters in a game. He’s walked more than three batters in a game only once this season, and he’s generally pitched fairly deep into games. Only Sabathia has thrown more innings for the Yankees.
So what’s the problem, and what does Nova need to do to fix it?
“Pitch better,” he said with no hint of sarcasm. “Because my arm feels really good. I just got to pitch better. I just got to do what I have to do out there, and hopefully we can do that soon. … I mean, the first couple of innings I start really good, with all my pitches down, and then I start leaving them up, and then I start making mistakes. But I think it’s something I have to work on mentally, because I feel really good. I think it’s something mentally I’ve got to correct and try to do. Don’t try, just do it.”
Associated Press photo