CC Sabathia has been a terrific No. 1 starter and the back of the Yankees rotation has shown more grit and guile than could be expected this season.
Simply put, though, if the Pinstripes didn’t have Ivan Nova on their staff they would not be preparing for today’s playoff opener vs. the Tigers.
Nova has been terrific this season, going 16-4 with a solid 3.70 ERA. Down the stretch he was arguably the Bombers best starter, not allowing more than four runs in 11 of his last 13 starts.
Along with the outstanding 16-4 record, which also means Yankee batters have the pitcher’s back, Nova also sported a nearly 2:1 ratio with 98 strikeouts to 57 walks in 165.1 innings. Perhaps the only shortcoming in Nova’s stat-line is the big fat bagel under complete games. That is probably more a product of the Yanks stellar bullpen, having at least innings eight and nine locked up by Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera, than anything lacking by Nova.
Nova is set to start game two in the ALDS for the Yanks and will also take the hill for game five, if necessary. With another five or six strong starts from Nova the Yanks just may celebrate World Series championship No. 28.