Ivan Nova has tended to run hot and cold during his time wearing a cap with an interlocking NY on the front. This time, he was out there in the 90-plus heat at Yankee Stadium running hot for the second straight start and third time in four outings.
The Yankees need the 29-year-old righty to throw well because they’re hoping to climb back into the playoff picture. Nova also needs to throw well because he’s a free agent-to-be.
But while he did his fair share with a season-high seven innings of one-run work Saturday, the Yankees’ bats didn’t do their part. The Giants emerged with a 2-1 win in 12 innings, leaving the home team at 49-48.
After the media crowd had dissipated to one at his locker, Nova talked about his desire to remain with the Yankees beyond this season and his realization that it might not happen.
“This is the only organization that I have played for,” Nova told Newsday. “This is like a family for me. I also understand that this is a business. I wish I can stay here, but you never know what’s going to happen after.”
He signed with the Yankees as a 17-year-old non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2004 and came up in 2010. The highlight was a 16-4 season the next year. The lowlight was Tommy John surgery in April 2014. He’s in his seventh season and owns a 53-38 bottom line.
This season, Nova began in the bullpen before moving into the rotation May 9. He’s 7-5 with a 4.65 ERA in 20 games, 14 of them starts. He hasn’t been worried about the uncertainty regarding his future.
“I just want to pitch good and have a good season,” Nova said.
Nova’s final line was just fine with the one run, six hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 63 of his 96 pitches for strikes.
“He threw the ball great today,” Brian McCann said. “He pitched up in the zone very well, threw the sinker down, and got some big key outs.”
He needed those outs over the first three innings.
“I didn’t start the way I would like to,” Nova said.
With runners at the corners and one out in the first, Nova got Buster Posey to line to right. Then Brett Gardner made a sliding catch in left on a ball hit by Brandon Crawford.
With Mac Williamson at first and two outs in the second, Ramiro Peña lined a double to left-center where Gardner grabbed the ball. Williamson was waved around, but Didi Gregorius fired a strong relay home to McCann, who slapped on the tag for the final out.
“They played really good behind me today,” Nova said. “This is one of the reasons I only gave up one run.”
He provided another reason in the third. With runners at the corners and no outs, he struck out Brandon Belt and got Posey to rap into a 6-4-3 double play.
Nova gave up just a Williamson solo shot and a walk over his final four innings. He fanned Posey, Crawford and Jarrett Parker after issuing that walk in the sixth.
“He gave us an opportunity to win this one,” Carlos Beltran said, “but we couldn’t come through for him.”