Nova’s direct introduction gives Pirates a forceful lift

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Iván Nova rears back to pitch in his first game as a Pirate. - GETTY

Iván Nova can't be J.A. Happ Part Two. It's impossible.

Don't get it wrong: Nova certainly could turn out to be an astute buy-low find for Neal Huntington and the Pirates. We still have two months for that verdict.

But Nova can't duplicate what Happ did last year because Happ's gobsmacking stint in Pittsburgh began with a severe speedbump against the Cubs last Aug. 4: Four runs allowed on nine hits through 4 1/3 innings. It was poor enough that the Pirates put him on ice for 10 days before his next start.

Conversely, Nova's first Pirate mission Saturday night against the Reds went much smoother than Happ's, with the former Yankee chewing up seven innings in a mere 76 pitches, carrying much of the load in a 5-3 win at PNC Park.