Ivan Nova’s fastball definitely starred in his first career win Sunday in Chicago. Playing a significant supporting role was his curveball.
Nova faced 23 hitters in 5 2/3 innings and threw 13 of his 24 curves for strikes. The pitch was also responsible for three of the seven strikeouts as he fanned Juan Pierre and twice retired Mark Teahen. A super Nova comes at an ideal time for the Yankees who are still without Andy Pettitte and whose No. 2 pitcher, A.J.?Burnett, hasn’t won in more than a month.
“That might the best pitcher they had in the last three days, to be honest with you,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “This kid came out and threw the ball well.
Sometimes you don’t know the guy and you wonder why he’s there, but he had a very good arm.”
Nova’s curve was noticeably improved from last Monday in Toronto. He threw just six of 18 curves for strikes and one of his misses was slammed for a homer by Jose Bautista.
“The first time I was here, it wasn’t too good,” Nova said. “So we were working on it, and now I got a feel for it. Now I can throw it more and get more people out.”