Ivan Nova was outstanding for the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon.
The 26-year-old right-hander absolutely befuddled the Baltimore Orioles in route to a 2-0 victory, and in the process, earned a career milestone in his own right. Nova allowed just 3 hits and 0 runs during his complete game effort, putting up the first shutout of his 4-year MLB career.
During the start, Nova walked only 1 batter while striking out 5, but the biggest impression he made was his ability to stifle a top-notch offense. Baltimore’s lineup sports top-end players such as Chris Davis and Adam Jones, but nothing seemed to bother Nova, and he needed just 104 pitches to complete his shutout.
Offensively, the Yankees were led by their best player, second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano was responsible for the only two runs of the game, as he doubled home Brett Gardner in the 1st inning, and capped the scoring with a solo home run in the 8th. It has been another stellar season for Cano (who has 25 home runs and a .900+ OPS), but this night, in fairness, belonged to Nova.
It has been a resurgent season for Nova, as he now has a 2.88 ERA over 109.1 innings, but the Yankees will need this version of him in order to make a real playoff push. With the win, New York vaults ahead of Baltimore in the standings, but the Yankees still trail Tampa Bay by 4 games for the final Wild Card position. It is hard to state with confidence that this performance from Nova is an indication of what’s to come, but if it is, the Yankees will be in great shape.