Nova struggles; blame A.J.

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
2:29
PM ET
Ivan Nova, trying to win the No. 4 or 5 starter spot, struggled on Thursday against Toronto. He allowed two runs, both earned, in his three innings. He gave up five hits, including a Jose Bautista bomb.

Maybe the worst stat for Nova were 34 and 60. He threw 60 pitches and only 34 were strikes.

Nova is probably still the favorite for the No. 4 spot. It should be kept in mind, he is the only one of the competitors for the No. 4 and 5 spots who can go to Triple-A. Joe Girardi said this morning that won't be a factor in his decision.

Here is my story on how A.J. has become a mentor to Nova. Warning, it is sort of positive toward A.J. Still, judging by the Twitter responses to my story, you will proably blame Burnett for Nova's poor outing.
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.47 139 134
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 22
RBIB. McCann 71
RB. Gardner 85
OPSB. Gardner .757
ERAH. Kuroda 3.77
SOM. Tanaka 139