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Ivan Nova's Pirates career possibly over after 1-1 tie

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday night's game between the Pirates and Cubs was ended in the sixth inning with a score of 1-1, and without an opportunity to make it up (or any compelling reason to do so), MLB declared it to be a tie, marking the first time a game has been a tie since 2005.

Anyway, Ivan Nova had a very good night in what will very probably be his last start as a Pirate. He struck out five, walked none and allowed a run only on a couple soft singles and a sacrifice fly. Nova had had two rough, or rough-ish, outings before that, so tonight's performance helped reinforce his status as a top free agent in a weak class.

Nova finishes the Pirates portion of his season with a remarkable 52 strikeouts and three walks. With Rich Hill and a bunch of question marks leading this offseason's free agent market, it would be shocking, at least to me, if the Pirates were to retain Nova, despite how much he has said he's enjoyed playing in Pittsburgh. He isn't likely to get another opportunity to hit the winter market as such a desirable target, and the Pirates, who recently dumped Francisco Liriano's salary, don't appear likely to make a competitive bid against whoever else wants him.

In other words, Thursday night was probably it for Nova and the Pirates. Kudos to the Bucs for an outstanding trade deadline addition -- Nova was better than pretty much anyone outside the organization would have thought possible.