Ivan Nova vs. Phil Hughes: Which Starter Is More Crucial to Yankees' Success?

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IAugust 22, 2012

Ivan Nova vs. Phil Hughes: Which Starter Is More Crucial to Yankees' Success?

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    The New York Yankees are approaching the end of the regular season, and neither Phil Hughes nor Ivan Nova have really gotten it going this season.

    Both have struggled to find their stuff on a consistent basis during the 2012 campaign and they have little time left in the season to do just that.

    A decision will need to be made in regards to which of these starters will get a postseason start, and that is still very much up in the air at the moment.

    So let's break it down. Which one of these starters is more important to the Yankees success?

Ivan Nova

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    After a 16-win season in 2011, Nova has experienced the sophomore jinx in all its glory.

    This year, Nova is 11-7 with a 4.92 ERA, and after a fabulous month of June that saw the 25-year-old go 3-0 with a 1.26 ERA, it's been all downhill from there.

    Nova pitched to a 5.97 ERA in July and has been even worse in August with a 7.03 ERA. His latest bad outing occurred on Tuesday night, when he allowed six runs on seven hits in a loss to the Chicago White Sox.

    But still, even with all that, the jury is still out on Nova. Many pitchers—and players in general for that matter—struggle during their second season in the majors, and Nova is no different.

    We've seen the best of Nova in the past and can't count it out in the future.

    Not to mention, it was only one year ago when Nova surprised us all with a stellar postseason start against the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS.

    All things being equal, Nova has the edge over Hughes because of Nova's most recent success in the postseason.

Phil Hughes

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    Hughes has been just as bad and inconsistent as Nova this season with slightly better numbers. Hughes is 12-10 with a 4.23 ERA and has certainly been a disappointment this season.

    This is now Hughes' sixth season in pinstripes and this is his third consecutive try at becoming a starter for the Yankees. All have failed quite miserably.

    Yes, that's counting his 2010 season that saw him win 18 games only to struggle down the stretch. To say Hughes has only had one solid half of a season as a starter in all his years is completely accurate.

    Hughes best pitching has come out of the bullpen during his career.

    During the Yanks championship run in 2009, Hughes was instrumental out of the bullpen in the regular season, pitching to a 3.03 ERA and shoring up the back-end of the Yanks 'pen.

    But the time is running out on Hughes in the rotation, and after all this time, he has yet to prove himself as a reliable starter. And unlike Nova, we have nothing positive to go on in order to believe Hughes will eventually contribute in a big way in the rotation on this team down the road.

Nova vs. Hughes

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    The upside for Nova greatly outweighs Hughes in this matchup.

    Hughes has been failing as a starter for many seasons now while Nova still has time to fix whatever problems he is having now.

    That means Nova still has the capability of being a solid starter on this team and baseball fans know just how important a solid starter is in the MLB.

    Hughes, on the other hand, has seen his best days in the bullpen.

    There's no doubt that starting pitching is more important than bullpen arms. That being said, Nova's role on this team is far more important than Hughes', as long as the 26 year-old continues his inconsistent ways and amounts to nothing more than a bullpen pitcher.

    Unfortunately for Hughes, there is no more time to find out if he can fix things. The Yanks will only have so much patience for him until they either let him go or relegate him to the 'pen.

    Since Nova's days in the rotation aren't numbered, Nova righting the ship and returning to his success from 2011 is far more important to the Yankees success than Hughes, who the Yankees have been winning with despite his lack of consistent contributions, year in and year out.