Ivan Nova gets the ball for the Yankees tonight coming off his best start of the season thanks to an adjustment that led to an increase in ground balls. That isn’t the only adjustment the 25-year-old right-hander has made this year, however. In a (free!) piece at Baseball Prospectus, R.J. Anderson looked at how Nova has pitched backwards and used more first pitch breaking balls to keep hitters off balance. He also spoke to someone within the organization who confirmed that the adjustment was a conscious decision and not just small sample size noise.
The Yankees have gotten some pretty stellar starting pitching during this 13-4 stretch — 3.03 ERA with a 3.96 K/BB — and Nova is a big part of that. Only twice in the last 21 games has a started failed to complete six innings, and Ivan’s a guy that can chew up some serious innings with his quick ground balls. The mechanical adjustment as well as the game plan adjustment should help him with that. Make sure you check out the BP article, as I said it’s free for everyone. No subscription needed.