Ivan Nova has to compete for a spot in Yankees’ rotation

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Last season Ivan Nova was dumped from the Yankees’ rotation down the stretch and then left off the playoff roster, and manager Joe Girardi said yesterday that he’s not guaranteed a starting job this year.

Girardi told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger that Nova “has to go out and prove himself” in order to claim the fifth starter spot, with David Phelps serving as his primary competition.

Nova’s secondary numbers were much better than his ugly 5.02 ERA last season, but two years ago his 3.70 ERA and 16-4 record were much better than his secondary numbers. Overall he has a 4.41 ERA in 61 career starts through age 25, while Phelps is the same age and has started just 11 games as a big leaguer.

Seems pretty safe to say Nova is the favorite to be the Yankees’ fifth starter, but it makes sense that Girardi wants him to have to work for it.

The Angels to lower the right field wall

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The Los Angeles Angels announced today that they will lower the right field wall at Angel Stadium from 18 feet to eight feet.

The stated reason: to make room for a new out-of-town scoreboard and “philosophical changes.” Obviously, though, helping out lefty power hitters is on the agenda too. As it was, Angel Stadium was in the bottom ten of all parks in allowing homers for lefties.

One of their own lefties is Kole Calhoun, who is a pull hitter. Another one could be Shohei Ohtani, who is a lefty hitter. Although, as a righty pitcher, that could harm him against opposing lefty batters. I’m assuming, though, that the Angels ran a bunch of numbers to establish that this move helps them more than it hurts them, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.