Ivan Nova: Pitching his way into leading role

Ivan Nova

Russell Martin knew the potential Ivan Nova possessed. Now he knows more about the makeup of the pitcher making a strong case to be the No. 2 starter for the Yankees.

“I knew that he had a good arm,” Martin told Metro. “He had a lot of potential. I didn’t really know much about him. I didn’t know how he was as a person but he’s classy guy once you get to you him.”

The first time Martin saw that potential was during spring training. He caught six no-hit innings on March 17 against the Orioles and discovered that Nova possessed a slider that could be equally as effective as the fastball and curveball he had heard about upon joining the Yankees.

“After that I knew,” Martin said. “You can show glimpses of things, it’s just a matter of being more consistent and that’s what happens when you’re young. You’re searching for that consistency and it seems like he’s found it.”

Nova is celebrating the one-year anniversary of his first major league start by being the best Yankee starting pitcher not named CC Sabathia.

He is 9-0 in his last 10 starts with a 3.48 ERA and is the first Yankee rookie starting pitcher to win nine straight since Whitey Ford did it 61 years ago. His next win will be the most by a Yankee rookie starting pitcher since Doc Medich was 14-9 in 1973.

“He always had a good curveball, but the pitch that has gotten better as we went along is the slider,” Martin said. “I don’t know why it’s better. I don’t know if it’s the way it’s coming out of his hand or if he’s generating more arm speed. I’m not the pitching coach, but it’s coming out sharp and hitters are having a hard time recognizing it and that’s why they’re swinging and missing at it.”

Not only are hitters swinging and missing, they are not rattling him in tough situations. For Martin, the most notable instance was Sunday in Minnesota when Joe Mauer’s single fell between outfielders Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher in the fourth inning of a scoreless game.

Some pitchers might have become flustered at the misplay. Nova just continued humming along, ending that threat with a double-play grounder and then getting three swinging strikeouts with men on base the next two innings.

“A lot of pitchers get frustrated and a lot of guys will show emotion a little bit and then be able to overcome it,” Martin said. “He didn’t even look like it bothered him, he just got the ball. I think his teammates appreciate that and it shows what kind of person he is.

Nova’s next chance to continue being the top rookie pitcher in baseball according to Martin will come sometime this weekend in a five-game series in Baltimore. That will be when the Yankees likely end their six-man rotation and when a decision is made, it won’t be Nova.

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…


U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…


Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…


Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…


Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.


Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm


Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.


Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…