Pirates @ Dodgers May 9, 2017: Urías vs. Nova

Photo: Sarah Wexler

After trouncing the Pirates last night, the Dodgers now have the challenge of facing one of the most successful pitchers in baseball so far this year. Iván Nova (2.14 ERA, 2.48 FIP, 0.881 WHIP) was the National League Pitcher of the Month for April and has, by at least a few measures, been the best starter in the league thus far. His FIP and WHIP lead the NL, and his two shutouts (in six starts) lead all of baseball. He’s also walked just one batter in 42 innings pitched.

Pirates
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
3B
Harrison
LF
Toles
SS
Mercer
SS
Seager
CF
McCutchen
3B
Turner
LF
Polanco
1B
Bellinger
RF
Osuna
CF
Pederson
C
Cervelli
C
Grandal
LF
Bostick 2B Taylor
2B
Ngoepe
RF
Puig
P
Nova (R)
P
 Urías (L)

Nova, a Ray Searage reclamation project who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2014, was traded from the Yankees to the Pirates at the deadline last year. In 21 games (15 starts) with the Yankees in 2016, he posted a 4.90 ERA, 5.10 FIP and a 1.356 WHIP. In his subsequent 11 starts with the Pirates to close out 2016, he had a 3.06 ERA, a 2.62 FIP and a 1.098 WHIP. Clearly, his success has continued into the 2017 season. As MLB.com’s Pirates reporter Adam Berry has noted, Nova has more complete game shutouts (5) in 17 starts as a Pirate than he has walks (4).

Nova doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, as reflected by his 5.79 K/9. But he throws a lot of strikes, and he tends to get the ball put in play quickly — his average of 3.29 pitches per plate appearance is the lowest in baseball. His BABIP to this point is low, suggesting he’ll experience some regression in terms of hits allowed, but he’s nonetheless found a pretty good recipe for success and efficiency.

Meanwhile, Julio Urías (0.84 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 1.500 WHIP) is making his third start of the season. In 10.2 IP, he’s only allowed one run; however, he’s also walked eight batters, versus just five strikeouts. This will be his first time this season facing a team who is not the San Francisco Giants.

—–

In rotation news, Hyun-Jin Ryu will start on Friday:

That will be Ryu’s sixth start of the season, and his second at Coors Field. Don’t expect to see Logan Forsythe there, though:

Guess this means we’ll be seeing more of Chris Taylor, then … although not tomorrow:

It’ll also be a while before we see Adrián González again:

Which, hey, more Cody Bellinger at first base.

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She now writes for The Hardball Times, FanGraphs and Sporting News, and co-hosts a podcast, The Hardball Times Audio. She recently earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.