By Jason Shetler
On Monday, the Pirates added to their rotation by acquiring Ivan Nova from the New York Yankees at the trade deadline for a couple players to be named later. The 29-year-old right-hander had subpar numbers this season with the Yankees prior to the trade. Nova made his Pirates debut on Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Here is my assessment of his first outing.
Nova was very efficient during his seven innings in terms of pounding the strikezone, as 56 of the 76 pitches he threw were strikes, while not allowing a walk in the process. He even showed flashes of dominance by retiring 11 Reds batters consecutively at one point.
This season, Nova has posted a 54% groundball rate, and his two-seam fastball was certainly sharp, recording nine groundball outs. He did however leave a couple of pitches up in the zone, which resulted in a pair of home runs from Brandon Phillips. Nova also helped himself with the bat, as he singled off Homer Bailey in the fourth inning and came around to score on a Starling Marte two-run single. Despite allowing the two solo homers, I thought Nova pitched very well for the most part.