“It was doing nothing,” Nova said. “Nothing. I saw a couple I threw that looked like a changeup. Instead of breaking to the corner, it stayed right in the middle or went middle-down instead of middle-away, to the right handers especially.”
With an 8.36 ERA since the All-Star break, Nova has tinkered with his slider grip and said it was much better in his bullpen earlier this week. But this afternoon’s start will be his next real test, trying to finally end this four-week slide that’s pushed his season ERA to 4.81.
“I think it’s important for him, I do, because you don’t want it to continue, to carry over his starts,” Joe Girardi said. “And if he doesn’t, he’s still going to go back out there in five days, that’s the bottom line.”
The Yankees remain committed to Nova, largely because he was so good last season and because he was pretty good — and occasionally terrific — during this year’s first half.
“I don’t think it’s mechanical,” Nova said. “Two days ago, I was watching my videos in Detroit, and I was just watching them again. It’s not mechanical. Let’s see how it goes (today). I feel positive. I think I can do the job. … Last year, at some point, I stopped throwing (the slider) because I didn’t feel like it was doing anything. We went back and worked on it and it was good. If I lose that feel, I think I’ve been doing everything possible to get it back. If I did it before, I don’t see any reason why I can’t do it now.”
Associated Press photo