Remember, way back in Spring Training when Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi told everyone that would listen that they were going to take the 5 best starters north with them to start the season, even if it meant sending their one-time ace, CC Sabathia, to the bullpen in favor of Ivan Nova?
Remember when we all raised our eyebrows when Sabathia got the nod over Nova, despite the latter having a more productive Spring Training, because Girardi said he still felt Sabathia gave the team the best chance as a starter despite his 5.51 ERA? Was it, we wondered along with Nova, even a real competition?
Remember when we gave Girardi the side-eye when, after being reinserted into the rotation, Nova twirled three starts while giving up less than one ER each? We were all happy to see Nova doing so well in his walk year and, while we were sorry to see Luis Severino struggle, we were glad that our #SuperNova was back to fill in the void admirably.
If you do remember, good for you. If you don’t, then too bad because you missed what, so far, has been the best parts of Ivan Nova’s season. Even before his clunker last night (4 IP, 5 ER, 8 hits vs. just 1 SO), Nova had a 6.75 ERA in June and now it’s even higher. In fact, as Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch pointed out on Twitter last night, Nova has a 6.88 ERA over his last six starts. It’s true Nova didn’t get much help from his defense (2 errors in the game) or his offense (0-for-10 with RISP) but he put the team on their heels quickly by giving up 3 ERs in the 1st inning. Not to mention his continued inability to hold runners on base.
Between Nova and Carlos Beltran (who committed an error and at least one base running blunder), the Yankees seemed determined, if not destined, to lose this game. Beltran, it seems, is desperate to make something happen. He’s batting .222 over his last 7 games and coming off a few injury imposed days off.
You know that he wants to continue his hot streak to either get the Yankees back on track or to get himself traded to a contender to continue his elusive hunt for a World Series ring. Getting thrown out a 2B, however, is not the way to get that done. Especially with your team down by four runs.
It’s safe to say that, so far, the Yankees are not having the June they needed to have to get back in this race. Ivan Nova, Nathan Eovaldi and the middle relief that has to come in and clean up their messes have been big contributing factors.
Odds are, if they don’t turn things around, those contributions, or lack thereof, will be the things we really remember.