Ivan Nova Could Be Heading Down Phil Hughes Boulevard
The once promising trio of Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes was supposed to be pitching greatness in pinstripes for 10 years. Except that it never happened. Ian Kennedy was traded to Arizona, the Yanks messed with Joba so much that he never regained his true set-up stuff and Phil Hughes became a wait-and-see ballgame that ended 100 innings ago. But Ivan Nova was the savior. Until he wasn’t.
Nova won 16 games in 2011. His confidence was soaring. His fastball electric, rising at times to the mid-90’s. His off-speed stuff was eye-opening, led by that sweeping curve ball that baffled even the best hitters in the American League.
But Nova was brutal in 2012 and is brutal again in 2013. He gets behind. He doesn’t finish people off. The walks are aplenty. And the ability to pitch deep into games has disappeared.
Do you see a familiarity with Nova and Hughes? The Yanks caught lightning in a bottle with Hughes as an 8th inning guy in 2009, then got 18 wins out of him in 2010. After that? No consistency, no confidence, no attacking of the strike zone and weird freak injuries. Nova went 16-4 in 2011, but his ERA rose from 3.70 to 5.02 in 2012 to over 6 this year. And he won just 12 games last year and lost 8 and showed no confidence.
Hughes is 27 years old. Nova is 26. At the end of this year, if not sooner, we will see if Nova is going down the same road that Hughes went down. A once promising pitcher turned into a lost cause like all the rest of the Yankee farmhand arms since Andy Pettitte.
By: Mike Lindsley, “Mid-Day with Mike,” 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.