Chicago White Sox

White Sox's Ivan Nova handcuffs Astros, pitches complete game

White Sox pitcher Ivan Nova (left) celebrates with catcher James McCann after Nova tossed a complete game in the Sox's 4-1 victory over the Houston Astros in the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
White Sox pitcher Ivan Nova (left) celebrates with catcher James McCann after Nova tossed a complete game in the Sox's 4-1 victory over the Houston Astros in the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Guaranteed Rate Field.

CHICAGO – It’s looking like more than a few contending major league teams missed the boat on Ivan Nova at the July 31 trade deadline.

With reliable starting pitching so hard to find, especially heading into the stretch, Nova was likely there for the taking if the White Sox got the right offer.

They obviously didn’t, and the 32-year-old righty is still on fire for a Sox team (53-65) that is likely heading for its seventh straight losing season.

The way Nova is pitching in the final year of his contract, the Sox might want to think about bringing him back on a new deal.

While helping the Sox salvage a split in Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field, Nova went the distance in a 4-1 win.

Not only is he 4-2 with a 2.27 ERA since the All-Star break, Nova is 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA over his past five starts with two complete games. There are 23 major league teams that don’t have two complete games for the season.

While limiting the Astros to one unearned run on four hits, Nova kept the ball on the edges of the plate and got plenty of groundball outs.

In the first half, the veteran was 4-7 with a 5.58 ERA. He credits rotation mate Reynaldo Lopez for helping him get untracked.

“I went to throw a bullpen and he was right there, and he told me I was opening too quick,” Nova said. “It was something that [pitching coach Don Cooper] and everybody else was telling me before, but for some reason, maybe because it was coming from a player and the relationship that we have and the guy yelling at me from the bench, I think that helped, and I was able to correct it.”

Minor matters: Luis Robert, who has rocketed to third on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list, had a big night for Triple-A Charlotte on Tuesday.

Robert was 4 for 5 with two RBIs while raising his batting average to .315 and OPS to 1.001. Needing a home run to hit for the cycle, the 22-year-old center fielder walked in his final plate appearance.

Charlotte second baseman Nick Madrigal hiked his average to .302 after going 4 for 6 with three runs scored and two RBIs.

Making his professional debut for the AZL White Sox on Tuesday night, right-hander Andrew Dalquist started and pitched a scoreless inning. The Sox’s third-round draft pick in June, the 18-year-old Dalquist allowed one hit and one walk.

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