Before the game Joe Girardi said Ivan Nova was already guaranteed to take his next scheduled turn in the rotation. Girardi said sooner rather than later a decision has to be made in chopping his six-man rotation down to five but increasingly it's appearing as if Ivan Nova won't be the one leaving.
How could he be?
Nova won for the third time since returning from Triple-A Wednesday night and he's now 7-0 with a 3.10 ERA in his last eight starts. Nova's last defeat came June 3 in Anaheim.
"I didn't think he had as good off-speed [stuff] as we've seen him have in the past," Girardi said. "His last start [Thursday in Chicago when he struck out a career-best 10] was tremendous but I thought he had to work a lot harder tonight than he did his last start...I thought he used his fastball really effectively tonight."
Nova left with the bases loaded and none out in the seventh and Rafael Soriano did the job, getting a double play grounder and a fly out. Nova departed to a standing ovation and he doffed his cap before entering the dugout. He has quickly become a fan favorite.
"When I was walking today to the bullpen I was hearing the people and the kids calling my name," he said with a smile. "It makes you feel better…I know I’m a rookie and everything but I think the fans have been calling me like I’ve been here three or four years. It’s something beautiful."
He was asked if he felt he belonged and he smiled again.
"What do you think?" I’ll let you answer that for me."
He paused and continued.
"So far we’ve had a really good season," Nova said. "I’ll keep working hard and hope I can keep pitching like that until to the end.