Nova lasted only 3.1 innings, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits. The rough outing was the continuation of what is now a four-game cold streak for the veteran right-hander. This was an inevitable regression, after Nova was one of the hottest pitchers in the league from late July until the last week of August.
From July 22 to Aug. 24, Nova made seven starts. He went 5-1 with a 0.94 ERA. He allowed seven runs, only five earned, on 36 hits over 48 innings pitched. He struck out 25 against only seven walks. He also saved the Sox bullpen by tossing two complete games in that stretch.
Alas, since Aug. 30, Nova is 1-2 with a 9.35 ERA in four starts. He's allowed a whopping 19 runs (18 earned) on 35 hits over 17.1 innings. He's struck out nine and walked five, and only once during that stretch has he made it through the fifth inning.
When Nova was rolling, we heard whispers that the Sox should consider bringing him back next season -- he's a free agent at season's end. Here at The Baseball Kid, we cautioned against that, and we remain against the idea of a new contract for Nova.
In total, this pitcher is 10-12 with a 4.86 ERA over 31 starts. That's below league average in his age-32 season. Why would we believe Nova would be any better than this at age 33 and beyond?
The Sox will tell you that Nova is a "great mentor" for Reynaldo Lopez and other young pitchers, but the fact of the matter is the team needs better production from Nova's spot in the rotation.
We're starting to hear talk from the Sox about being "ready to win" in 2020. If that's the case, it's time to move on from mediocre-at-best rotation pieces such as Nova.