NEW YORK (WFAN) – Ivan Nova received a standing ovation, tipping his cap to the Yankee Stadium sellout crowd of 46,944.
The rookie pitcher Yankees fans call “Super” Nova had done it again.
The youngster pitched in traffic all night but never caved, allowing six hits and three walks over 7 2-3 innings in the Yankees’ 5-0 win over the Rays on Tuesday.
Solidifying his role as the team’s No. 2 starter, Nova improved to 12-0 with a 3.09 ERA in 15 starts since his last loss June 3 at the Los Angeles Angels.
Despite a midseason demotion to the minors, where he went 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA, the right-hander leads all major league rookies in wins.
“I don’t know about the October rotation, I just know about the season right now,” Nova said. “There’s a lot of things that are coming next. It’s going to be exciting.”
It appears the Yankees also don’t know about the October rotation. The club has yet to decide the fate of A.J. Burnett.
“You’re evaluating everyone at this time,” said manager Joe Girardi when asked about the erratic starter. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Burnett was upset after being pulled from Monday afternoon’s game.
“I didn’t get through the fifth because I wasn’t allowed to get through the fifth,” he said afterward. “It wasn’t that I couldn’t get through the fifth.”
“I thought his stuff had clearly changed,” Girardi said yesterday. “That’s why I pulled him. It’s not that I wanted to.”
As for Nova, he’s pretty much a lock after ace CC Sabathia.
Nova’s ability to pitch out of trouble kept the Yankees in control on Tuesday even though they went 1 for 7 with the bases loaded and stranded 18 runners — their most in a nine-inning game since Sept. 21, 1956, when they set the major league record with 20 in a 13-7 loss at Boston.
Tampa Bay put the leadoff man on four times against Nova, including every inning from the fifth through the seventh. But the Rays couldn’t cash in.
Nova worked out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the seventh. He retired Desmond Jennings on a shallow fly and screamed into his glove after B.J. Upton grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“Last year, sometimes innings got away from him, but he’s done a much better job of that this year,” said Girardi. “He’s figured out how to get out of innings.”
It was the latest example of Nova preventing or limiting damage when faced with a tough situation. The Yankees said opponents have one hit in their past 28 at-bats against him with runners in scoring position, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“That’s just maturation,” Girardi said. “We need him to continue to grow up.”
How should the Yankees’ October rotation shake out? Let us know in the comments below…
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