Ivan Nova will be the Pirates’ Opening Day starter, manager Clint Hurdle said Wednesday. Jameson Taillon will be the starter for the Pirates’ home opener on Monday, April 2.
Nova will take the hill against the Tigers at Comerica Park on Thursday, March 29.
After an excellent two-plus months following his 2016 trade from the Yankees to the Pirates, Nova, 31, fell back a bit in 2017, going 11-14 with a 4.14 ERA and a 4.46 FIP. He struck out 6.30 batters per nine innings and walked 1.73.
Taillon enters 2018 with expectations of being the Pirates’ best starter, coming off an 8-7, 4.44 ERA sophomore season. It figures to be an emotional home-opener start for Taillon after facing and beating cancer last season. Always a big event, even in down years, the home opener will be all the better with Taillon on the mound.