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Ivan Nova continues to be the pitcher the White Sox need him to be

“Unfortunately, we didn’t win the game, but I did my part,” Nova said after his latest start in which he lowered his ERA to 4.37.

Ivan Nova built off the momentum he gained in his previous six starts and had another solid outing in the Sox’ 4-0 loss to the Rangers on Saturday at Guaranteed Rate Field. 
AP

When the White Sox traded for right-hander Ivan Nova in the offseason, they were looking for a sturdy rotation piece who also could be a positive influence on a young staff.

It took awhile, but after a slow start, Nova has evolved into the exact player the Sox wanted.

Nova built off the momentum he gained in his previous six starts and had another solid outing Saturday in the Sox’ 4-0 loss to the Rangers at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Nova allowed two runs (one earned) and six hits and struck out six in 5⅔ innings. He ran into trouble in the sixth, but it wasn’t entirely his fault.

The inning was drawn out because of two errors — one by shortstop Tim Anderson that allowed Elvis Andrus to reach first and another by catcher James McCann that allowed Andrus to advance to third.

“I don’t know if that was the end-all, be-all of what created havoc for us,” manager Rick Renteria said after the loss. “I don’t think that led to anything huge. Nova has a great way of minimizing that.”

Nova allowed a two-run home run by Willie Calhoun after the errors.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t win the game, but I did my part,” Nova said after lowering his ERA to 4.37.

“We weren’t able to score runs today; it was a tough game for us.”

It was Nova’s first loss since July 17. The Sox are 6-1 in Nova’s last seven starts. In that span, he has an ERA of 0.93.

“[I’m] throwing better pitches,” Nova said of his improvement after a bad first half. “Like I always say, we keep working hard. We’re still hungry, we want to keep pitching better.”

This likely will be Nova’s only season with the Sox; he’ll be a free agent after the season.

But Nova has made an important impact inside the Sox’ clubhouse.

Nova — like right-hander James Shields in 2018 — has served as a mentor to some of the younger players. He shares his experiences with his teammates and has encouraged some to become more confident in their ability.

Renteria said it’s important to have veterans such as Nova, who leads by example.

“He knows how to maneuver and manage a game,” Renteria said. “He’s been able to show the calm that comes with, I think, having the experience out there in different situations. And he’s just been a good guy for all these guys to just talk to and share their thoughts and their process.”

Nova takes pride in being a helping hand with the younger players.

“You have to be proud to do the right things,” he said. “That was the way I learned throughout my minor-league process and my time in New York.

‘‘It’s a game that you have to be willing to help everybody in any way you possibly can, and the same way that they learn from me, I learn from them.”