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Friday, September 28, 2012

Yankees’ Ivan Nova pitching his way right out of playoff rotation

Nova seemed distraught over his latest beating, though he remains cautiously optimistic that he can still contribute this season.

“I’m going to keep working like I’m going to start next time,” Nova said. “If he don’t give me next time, what can I do? I’m confident. I’ll still work and hopefully I can get the next one and then be in the playoff rotation.”

Playoffs? Did he mention the playoffs?

Jim Mora himself would have been stunned by that word coming out of Nova’s mouth after Thursday’s loss. Not even a no-hitter against the Red Sox on Tuesday would be enough to land Nova in the postseason rotation, something that would have sounded preposterous three months ago after he went 10-2 with a 3.92 ERA during the first half.

Now he is pitching for a long-relief spot on the playoff roster, his chances at the rotation having diminished with each dismal second-half start.

“I want to be on the roster,” Nova said. “I want to help the team to win games in any position. I just want to be there.”

Good luck with all that.

...Girardi won’t say it publicly, but Nova has already made his decision an easy one. Despite missing 15 days with rotator cuff inflammation, he has given up 87 extra-base hits. That’s not only the most in the majors, it’s the most any Yankee has ever allowed in a season.

Thanks to Doug.

Repoz Posted: September 28, 2012 at 06:14 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: September 28, 2012 at 07:41 AM (#4247873)
Sabathia, Pettite, Kuroda and Hughes? That's not too bad.
   2. DKDC Posted: September 28, 2012 at 08:01 AM (#4247879)
But Nova still gets one more regular season start, right?
   3. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: September 28, 2012 at 08:15 AM (#4247883)
But Nova still gets one more regular season start, right?

Well, the Orioles certainly hope so.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 28, 2012 at 08:36 AM (#4247887)
Phelps should have gotten the start last night. Not that it matter, since they couldn't touch Morrow, but he's clearly the better pitcher right now.

It looks like Girardi prioritized getting Phelps ready for his post-season role over giving himself the best chance to win last night. I don't agree with that approach.
   5. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 28, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4247965)
Life is just a fantasy, can you live this fantasy life?
   6. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 28, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4247978)
But Nova still gets one more regular season start, right?
Unfortunately. Well, maybe. He is currently on pace to start the last game of the season. If that's a must-win game for the Yankees, they might live dangerously and trot out Pettitte on three days rest. Or just Nova a comically short leash.

(It will be interesting to see how the Yankees play that if they need to win that game to win the division outright.)
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 28, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4247982)
Unfortunately. Well, maybe. He is currently on pace to start the last game of the season. If that's a must-win game for the Yankees, they might live dangerously and trot out Pettitte on three days rest. Or just Nova a comically short leash.


Isn't Kuroda on turn for Wed? Pitches today, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues is 4 days.

Nova would be on turn for Tues.
   8. Dale Sams Posted: September 28, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4248009)
Life is just a fantasy, can you live this fantasy life?


Nice. "Canadian rocker shall not kill Canadian rocker!!"
   9. TomH Posted: September 28, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4248022)
I am not hopping on the Pettitte bandwagon. We're gonna think he's a #2 based on a few starts, when coming into the year most pegged him for about a 4.0 ERA? I would send him out for a Yankee stadium start and use Kuroda on the road, just for the left/right thing, if it came to that.

(if we small samples, start Andy over CC in game 1. CC's postseason ERA stinks!)

   10. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 28, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4248027)
Just a note on the wildcard structure.

Before this year playoff teams had loosely a 1 in 8 chance to win the World Series.

Now, six teams still have that 1 in 8 chance (the division winners), but four teams are wildcards with only a 1 in 16 chance - because you have to win the coin-flip game to get back to that 1 in 8 chance. Each wildcard team's playoff slot is only worth 1/2 of the slot that the division winners occupy. So once the coin-flip games are done we're back to our same 8 slots, each of them being roughly equal, just like before.

So it _is_ a huge dropoff from the division to the wildcard. It almost makes going all out for the wildcard (e.g., by making trades in July and August) not quite worth it.

And it makes going all out for the division worth it.

The problem is when a team goes all out for the division, comes up short, and gets dropped into the coin-flip game against an opponent who has been resting and setting up their pitching rotation because the opponent was too far from their division to go for it.

But I question how much the wildcard is worth, when it only gets your chances from 1 in 30 at the start of the year to 1 in 16. Even though that sounds counter-intuitive because there are 10 "playoff" teams. But not each "playoff" team has an equal share.

Also, how do you play the wildcard game? Start your best pitcher and have all hands on deck like any elimination game? But if you win that would leave you short-staffed for the first series. Make it a bullpen game? I guess you need to start your best pitcher if you can set it up that way.
   11. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 28, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4248031)
Isn't Kuroda on turn for Wed? Pitches today, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues is 4 days
You're correct, I counted days wrong.
   12. Bitter Mouse Posted: September 28, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4248036)
So it _is_ a huge dropoff from the division to the wildcard.


I agree, except it is maybe even worse than that. The division winners can "set up" for the normal playoff, while the wild card winners set up for the play in game and are at a disadvantage against the division winner. How big a factor this is depends (obviously) on how often teams really can set up for the playoffs and how important it is to do so.
   13. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4248040)
As to Nova: He was overrated last year, but people couldn't see that, so they're surprised that he's not pitching well.

I will say this: He's one of the most interesting pitchers in recent memory. He markedly increased his K rate from last year, but he seems to have done so at the expense of more hits and home runs.
   14. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 28, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4248051)
I will say this: He's one of the most interesting pitchers in recent memory. He markedly increased his K rate from last year, but he seems to have done so at the expense of more hits and home runs.
This is true. In fact, it's really Nova's XBH hit that's up considerably. Last year 32% of his hits were XBH, this year it is 45%, which is an incredible uptick.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: September 28, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4248067)
How big a factor this is depends (obviously) on how often teams really can set up for the playoffs and how important it is to do so.


Anecdotally, having the rotation set up perfectly (or even just having the best top of the rotation) strikes me as much less of an advantage in practice than we expect it to be. Each year we look at the starting rotations as some big determining factor, but it doesn't seem to me like the results bear this out.
   16. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4248080)
I will also note that it's a pain in the ass to follow the wild card race. An absolute pain, with teams appearing in and out of it as they vie for the division lead. It was bad enough with only 1 wildcard per league, but now it is pretty ridiculous. And determining how many games a team is up on a playoff spot (e.g. the Yankees) is annoying.

Why this type of convoluted race is fun for people to follow, I simply do not know.
   17. Srul Itza Posted: September 28, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4248167)
Another way to look at it, is that getting a wild card is very much like tying for the Division as pre-2012. If you tied for the division, You had to win a one game playoff, and then you were on the same footing as everyone else.

Tying for the division is a hell of a lot better than being completely out of it.
   18. Ron J2 Posted: September 28, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4248169)
#16 Don't see it. I've never had the slightest problem with following who's where in the WC. And since we live in a world where there is a flat guarantee that there's going to be a wildcard team, I prefer the current structure (which massively devalues a wildcard spot)
   19. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 28, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4248175)
He was overrated last year, but people couldn't see that, so they're surprised that he's not pitching well.


I got quite a bit of crap back in spring training for having the nerve to suggest that it wouldn't be a crime if the Yankees treated Nova like a fungible sixth/seventh starter, and sent him to either the bullpen or the minors. Of course, that was before Pineda had surgery.

The problem is when a team goes all out for the division, comes up short, and gets dropped into the coin-flip game against an opponent who has been resting and setting up their pitching rotation because the opponent was too far from their division to go for it.


Don't worry. They'll "fix" this in the next CBA by adding two more wild card teams. Or something.

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