After a bad start in Seattle May 28, an outing in which he allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings, Ivan Nova was put on notice by Joe Girardi.
Girardi wanted to see the rookie righthander stop using just two pitches.
“He’s got four pitches,” Girardi said.
In recent starts, Nova has displayed them, most effectively of all Monday night when he shut down the Reds using his fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. The latter two pitches stood out to Russell Martin.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen him where he’s had both his curveball and his slider going,” Martin said. “When he’s got both going, he’s going to be a tough guy to hit against.”
The Reds experienced that as Nova retired 23 of the final 26 batters he faced.
Nova was especially pleased with his changeup and slider.
“Today I decided to throw more sliders,” Nova said. “When you have a feel for it, you have to use it.”
Nova (7-4, 4.13), a winner in his last three decisions, came in knowing the reputation of Great American Ball Park as a building where the ball carries. Only two fly balls were hit by Reds on the night.
“They told me that and that’s why in the bullpen I was thinking throw the ball down, down, keep it down all the time,” Nova said. “I was trying to keep the ball down and I did.”