Ivan Nova: The New "Stopper"?

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 14: Starting pitcher Ivan Nova #47 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 14, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

For years, Andy Pettitte was highly regarded as the man to have on the hill to end a losing streak. Pettitte was one of the most reliable (still could be?) starters in the major leagues and became known as a "stopper" in Yankeeland.

We very well may have another "stopper" on our hands.

Ivan Nova has become the go-to guy during losing streaks for the New York Yankees. Last season, the Yankees lost three or more consecutive games on six separate occasions. Below is a chart listing the length of the losing streak on the day that the Yankees finally snapped it as well as how the starting pitcher faired during that game.

Date Losing Streak Starter IP H ER BB SO
May 6 3 Games Ivan Nova 7.1 2 0 1 1
May 17 6 Games Ivan Nova 5.1 4 1 2 4
June 10 3 Games Ivan Nova 7.0 4 2 3 6
August 10 3 Games Ivan Nova 6.0 5 3 3 0
September 11* 4 Games Freddy Garcia 5.0 7 5 3 3
September 30** 4 Games Ivan Nova 6.1 4 2 4 5

* = Cory Wade was credited with the win.

** = Game 1 of the ALDS (CC Sabathia started, tossing two innings, before the game was ultimately delayed due to inclement weather).

While Ivan Nova didn't necessarily pitch like a stud each and every time the Yankees had a long losing streak, he was certainly good enough in all those outings to be a "stopper" and end the skids.

It'd be silly to neglect the fact that, for whatever reason, the Yankees offense happens to get up for Nova, scoring a total of 38 runs in the five games listed above (4, 6, 11, 9, 9, respectively) for an average of 7.6 runs per game.

The Yankees started this season 0-3 for the first time since 1998, and sure enough, Nova was front and center to get them back on track.

Nova's final line yesterday: 7 innings, 10 hits, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 7 strikeouts.

Draw your own narratives from the listed data, but Nova's happened to start six of the last seven games that the Yankees have ended a 3+ game losing streak.

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