Maybe it's just me, but I keep looking at New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova and seeing a pitcher who is taking up space in the starting rotation until either a) a big-name starter shows up via trade to take his place or b) a more highly-regarded young prospect arrives to bump him aside.
Well, it is probably time for me -- and anyone else thinking the way I have been -- to reassess Nova. The 24-year-old right-hander spun the best game of his abbreviated big-league career Monday night, finishing eight full innings for the first time as the Yankees defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 5-3.
Nova improved to 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA. He allowed just four hits and one run, struck out seven, did not walk a batter and did not allow a Cincinnati runner past first base after the first inning. Nova is 6-2 in his last eight decisions.
Nova left with a 5-1 lead. The game only got interesting in the ninth inning because reliever Luis Ayala gave up a leadoff single to Brandon Phillips and Boone Logan then hit Joey Votto with his first pitch. Mariano Rivera came on to record his 18th save, but the Reds did manage to push across two runs.
Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano each had two hits and an RBI for New York. The Yankees scored four of their five runs in the first inning, barely allowing the crowd at Great American Ball Park to settle in before jumping to a big lead.
|Final - 6.20.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|New York Yankees||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||5||9||0|
|WP: Ivan Nova (7 - 4)
SV: Mariano Rivera (18)
LP: Travis Wood (5 - 5)