The rookie looks to build on his first career win and help the AL East-leading Yankees match a season high with a seventh straight victory Friday against the visiting Blue Jays.
The 23-year-old Nova (1-0, 1.93 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. After allowing two runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 3-2 loss at Toronto in his starting debut Aug. 23, Nova gave up one run and struck out seven in 5 2-3 innings of a 2-1 win at Chicago on Sunday.
“(We’re) asking a young man to step up and that’s exactly what he’s doing,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Nova’s first career win came one day after reports surfaced that the league is investigating him and a former minor league teammate for allegedly injecting each other with B-12 shots last season at Double-A Trenton. The vitamin is not on baseball’s list of banned substances, but the league wants to make sure the shots were in fact B-12.
The right-hander has remained focused during the ordeal.
His teammates hope to give Nova more support than in his first two outings, and to improve on their 5-7 record versus Toronto (69-64). The teams have split six games in the Bronx.
New York (84-50) had little trouble at the plate in a four-game sweep of Oakland this week, outscoring the A’s 29-11. The Yankees have a 1 1/2-game lead over Tampa Bay in the East, where the runner-up is highly likely to win the wild card.
Curtis Granderson(notes) hit a pair of homers and CC Sabathia(notes) allowed one hit over eight innings in New York’s 5-0 win over Oakland on Thursday. Granderson is 5 for 11 with three home runs in his last three games but hitting .167 versus Toronto this season.
Mark Teixeira(notes) is 9 for 13 with seven RBIs in his last four games. He is a lifetime .313 hitter against Toronto’s Brandon Morrow(notes) (10-6, 4.27), who will make his final start of the season Friday.
The former reliever has thrown a career-high 143 1-3 innings, enough for the club to shut him down for 2010.
“The innings that I’ve logged this year will help carry over for next year and help me stay stronger through the year,” Morrow told the Blue Jays’ official website.
The right-hander is 5-0 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts since losing at Cleveland on June 29. He allowed one run and struck out nine in six innings of a 5-4 win over Detroit on Saturday.
He is 2-0 with a 3.68 ERA in six starts versus New York, but has posted a 7.94 ERA while going 1-0 in two outings at Yankee Stadium this season.
Toronto has lost three of four overall.