Ivan Nova was so excited about winning his first major-league ballgame that he said he would get his teammates to sign the game ball for him. The way he pitched in his two starts this week, his teammates will be more than happy to oblige.
Joe Girardi was thrilled and impressed, not only by Nova’s pitching, but by his composure. The manager loved Nova’s efficiency and the good off-speed stuff that was responsible for some of his biggest outs. Girardi must have also been incredibly relieved by Nova’s outing, given the state of the New York Yankees rotation, and promised the kid another start.
But a player is truly impressive when the opposing manager goes out of his way to praise him. Ozzie Guillen, who never hesitates to criticize anybody, said Nova might have been the best pitcher the Yankees had over the last few days and expressed relief that the Chicago White Sox will not see him again unless both teams meet in the playoffs.
What I found most impressive was his ability to keep his composure with a cloud hanging over his head due to the news that Major League Baseball is investigating whether he and minor-league teammate Wilkin De La Rosa injected each other with B12 shots. Nova did not let the developing controversy bother him on the mound. From the big smile on his face after the game, he’s not going to let anything ruin his first big-league win.