Ivan Nova made his first Major League start last night and it went pretty well. He was pulled after 73 pitches, but allowed just two runs while walking only one and striking out three in 5.1 innings pitched. That’s more than we could ask for from Nova.
He averaged 94.37 and went as high as 97.5 MPH with his fastball, which I found incredible. Either he pulled this velocity out of his ass, or the gun was juiced. I think it’s the latter, but even allowing for a few MPH up or down, that’s still pretty good gas from Nova.
Ivan also got two swinging strikes on his fastball, as well as three on his changeup which averaged 86.1 MPH. Juiced up gun or not, hat’s a decent differential between the heater and the change, so that’s encouraging.
My favorite Nova at bat of the night was the fourth inning strikeout against Lyle Overbay. Even though he fell behind with his changeup and ended up in a 3-1 count, he got back to back swinging strikes to end the at bat. It was great to see Nova use his changeup in a fastball count with good results. Hopefully, we’ll see more of that in his next start.
There were times when Nova’s curveball was more rolling than breaking, but overall, it was a nice start for Nova that ended a little prematurely. I’m not going to count on many more outings like this, but I like the way Nova handled himself last night and his willingness to mix pitches (35.62% non fastballs) was a good sign.
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