Nick Pivetta has been a steal for the Red Sox
Thursday night started with joy and ended in sorrow for the Red Sox. Boston’s starter Nick Pivetta carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before his tank ran out of gas and he began to sputter. For as strong as his outing was up until that point, a pair of walks would begin the downward spiral for the team in a 7-3 losing effort to the Seattle Mariners. Many will talk about the bullpen collapse, the lack of offense, and even the seven walks that lead to the loss, but I’m here to talk about Pivetta.
The righty came to Boston at the trade deadline last year along with prospect Connor Seabold for relievers Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman. Considering the duo that Chaim Bloom sent to the Phillies are no longer even with the team, he’s already won the trade.
But to add even more to the success of the deal, Pivetta has been strong as a starter and Seabold has been thriving in Worcester. Nicky P has been so good that he tied legend Tim Wakefield as the only two starters to win their first four starts as members of the Red Sox.
A lot like Nathan Eovaldi the other day, if you just look at the box score his start may not seem that impressive. He tossed a 6.0/1 H/2 ER/3 BB/4 K line against Seattle but the story of the start was his no-hit bid. Pivetta was nasty last night and he knew that he had everything working.
It was a stark difference from the start we saw on Wednesday night where the strike zone couldn’t be found. The righty had all of his pitches working and his fastball was electric. With every out and even more so every strikeout you could see his confidence building.
Pivetta is one of those guys that is always mentioned along with the “P” word, potential. He was never able to fully put it together in Philly but it was said at the time of the trade that if he got with the right coaches, he could become a guy. Well, I think it’s safe to say at this point that being moved to the Red Sox and this staff that he’s living up to what those people saw.
He hasn’t been totally lights-out this season as he’s been giving up free passes left and right through his four starts in 2021. Through the first month of the season, he’s leading the AL with 14 walks to just 18 strikeouts. That gives him a BB/9 of 6.1 with a K/9 of just 7.8, not exactly Cy Young in that regard. That propensity to let guys aboard for free came to haunt him last night in that fateful sixth inning as he’d walk a pair that would eventually score off Seattle’s first hit of the night.
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Pivetta spoke to the media after the game and said of his no-hitter that he was focusing on one out at a time. He also showed great humility in regards to the blowup in the sixth that ended his night by taking full ownership of the Mariners getting on the board.
"“It was a mistake on my part giving up that hit, double,” he said. “That really hurts and that’s something we’ve got to work for next time: locating those pitches when we’re in that count. Obviously, the two walks before that were really disappointing. So I hold myself accountable for that.”"
Since joining the team he’s been nothing but solid for the Red Sox and has been everything that they could’ve asked for. In 2021, he’s pitched 20.2 innings and owns a 2-0 record with a 3.48 ERA which is a career-low and well below his career average. Obviously, things won’t be all sunshine and rainbows for the right-hander and reality very well could catch up to him but as far as we are now I’ll gladly take what I’m seeing from Pivetta. Considering his spot in the starting rotation, he’s more than exceeding any projections up to this point.
As I said above, many will want to look at all the things that went wrong last night but if we do that all the time things would be absolutely miserable. Let’s shine some light on the good from last night and that light should be the brightest on Nick Pivetta. A guy who hasn’t been able to live up to the hype is finally doing so and he’s doing it in a Red Sox uniform. Things are clicking for Nicky P since coming to Boston and I for one am more than thrilled to see it happening.