After what was a great series against the Houston Astros this week, the Sox could not build on that success as they lost a four-game series to the Angels over the weekend. But never fear, Iván Nova is here to put them back on track as it is now money time for Nova the rest of the year.
Not only does Nova have a chance to earn $2 million more dollars, his recent stretch might earn him a new contract. Over his last five starts, which covers 37 innings, he only has a 0.49 ERA (two earned runs) and four starts that had at least a 73 Game Score, per FanGraphs. Now, if you were to look at the peripherals (I do not advise that you do) you might think a crash is coming and coming soon. His FIP over the same 37 innings is good (3.73 FIP), just not 0.49 ERA good. However, the xFIP is not good, at all, at 4.92. Much of Nova’s success is based off of things that can be termed as luck. The BABIP has fallen from .339 his first 20 starts to .168 over his five. He also is not striking out more batters so he truly is relying more on batted balls for outs.
But there is a lot of good obviously which is why there’s a chance he’s pitching his way onto the staff next season, especially for a team with a lot of bad and injured pitchers. He’s allowed more ground balls, not a lot, but it is a positive difference nonetheless. His home runs in general and per fly ball have drastically fallen as well, though, probably not at a sustainable rate for Nova, but it seems like the increased usage of his sinker is doing what it’s supposed to do, get weaker contact on the ground (now only if Dylan Covey could do that).
Nova’s last start against the Twins was one of his brilliant performances. He went six innings and did not allow a run off of two hits. The Sox as a whole have not done well against the Twinkies with a 3-7 head-to-head record, but at least Nova has done well recently against them.
Kyle Gibson is on the mound for Minnesota and he has not progressed as much as I’m sure Twins’ brass thought after a great 2018 season. However, Gibson apparently saves his best for the White Sox. In 13 innings pitched against the Sox this year, he has only allowed two runs along with 18 strikeouts. I’m sure he’s not the only pitcher over-performing against the Pale Hose, but he has been especially good. But something does have to give in the Nova and Gibson matchup tonight.
Watch on WGN and listen on WGN 720, 7:10 p.m. CT.