Top-5 Red Sox pitching performances from the 2021 season

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Red Sox Nick Pivetta
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 10: Nick Pivetta #37 of the Boston Red Sox reacts during the twelfth inning of game three of the 2021 American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on October 10, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /

Nick Pivetta blanks A’s as Red Sox escape with a narrow win

While the Nation was celebrating our Independence on July 4, Red Sox Nation was celebrating a gem by Pivetta.

After splitting the first two games of the series in Oakland, the Red Sox turned to Pivetta in the rubber match. The right-hander put the team on his back to deliver the best start of his career in a thrilling 1-0 victory over the A’s.

Pivetta shut out Oakland’s lineup over seven innings, his longest outing of the season. He allowed only two hits and a pair of walks while striking out a season-high 10 batters.

Pivetta struck out the side in the first inning but found early trouble with a pair of baserunners mixed in. After the first two batters went down swinging, Pivetta walked Matt Olson and gave up a base hit to Matt Chapman. Olson moved to third while Chapman advanced to second on the throw, putting two in scoring position. Pivetta shut down the threat by striking out Jed Lowrie.

He wouldn’t allow another baserunner until the sixth inning, a ground ball through the right side of the infield. A seventh-inning walk to Ramon Laureano, who immediately stole second base, was the only other traffic Pivetta allowed on the bases.

Pivetta can be widely inconsistent. He allowed 4+ runs in 11 of his starts, including two with 6+ runs allowed. The result was a mediocre 4.53 ERA this season.

He has his occasional rough patches but at his best, Pivetta can be as dominant as any pitcher on the Red Sox staff. These last two slides are perfect examples of how great he can be but they aren’t the only evidence we can find from this season. Pivetta had four starts in which he logged 5+ innings without allowing a run. That includes a game in April when he won a duel with Mets ace Jacob deGrom. Pivetta only lasted five innings in that game but given the quality of the opposing pitcher, the effort warrants at least an honorable mention.

The 28-year-old has been in the league for five years but this was only the second time that he has been given the chance to stick in the rotation for a full season. There’s still room for him to grow and find the consistency he needs to take his game to the next level. We’ve seen his upside and can expect him to deliver a few more gems for the Red Sox in 2022.

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