ALDS Game 1.5 Preview: 4 Reasons Yankee Ivan Nova Will Crush Tigers

Joseph Browne@jbrownesportsNYCorrespondent IIOctober 1, 2011

ALDS Game 1.5 Preview: 4 Reasons Yankee Ivan Nova Will Crush Tigers

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    All season long, Yankee followers have been bombarded by story after story bemoaning the lack of starting depth behind C.C. Sabathia. The reason? Well, the Yankees don't really have that much starting depth behind C.C. Sabathia. With that said, though, they do have a potential wild card in Ivan Nova, the young righty who passed a number of more high-profile Yankee pitching prospects, and a few veterans as well, on his way to the second slot in the Yankees rotation.

    Nova was, of course, slated to pitch Game 2 today, but Game 2 today is actually Game 1 from yesterday due to a rainstorm that resulted in the delay/cancellation of Game 1. If you ask who's on first right about now it would be completely understood. Regardless, Nova is going today in what we'll call Game 1.5, and here are four reasons why he will absolutely crush the Detroit Tigers' lineup.

Reason 4: He's on a Roll

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    In the month of September, Ivan Nova has started five games, winning two, losing none and pitching to an ERA of 2.67. He has yielded just 27 hits in his last 33 innings, and of course this translates into the fact that he has given the Yankees over six innings per start in that span.

    Being hot when it counts, when division titles and playoff positioning are on the line, is a sign of maturity and confidence. Nova has shown both throughout his rookie season, and there's little reason to doubt that it will continue.

Reason 3: Home Sweet Home

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    Though Nova actually has better stats on the road than he does at home, the benefit of pitching in front of his home fans for his first postseason start will allow him to gain momentum and keep it as the game progresses.

    The new Yankee Stadium does not provide the cover that the old stadium did, primarily because the fans who attend the games are of the less enthusiastic variety, however, it can get loud and intimidating when the Yankees are on a roll. Count on Nova to take advantage of this early.

Reason 2: Mystery Man

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    As Jim Leyland himself said, the Tigers have no experience vs. Nova.

    “We’re a little concerned about that,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of not having faced Nova before.

    “We don’t know a whole lot, other than what we see on tape, what the scouts say… But really the hitters will have to get a little better feel for that when they get in the box. You can give guys reports. You never know how it’s going to play out.”

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    As Texas realized in Game 1 of their series vs. Tampa, having no idea how a pitcher throws is not a good recipe for success, especially not when you're squeezing the bat a little tighter due to the pressures of postseason baseball.

Reason 1: Poise and Maturity

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    Ivan Nova was given the ball at the beginning of this season and told to go out and fight for his spot. He did, and he won it based on performance alone. The Yankees have a lot of time invested in Phil Hughes, though, and so when Hughes returned from a long absence Yankees brass informed Nova that he would be going down to Triple-A until further notice.

    Further notice wound up being a few weeks, and when Nova returned he began performing even better than before he went down. That's poise and maturity personified, and it's why the Yankees should feel very confident that Nova can handle this assignment