Nick Pivetta getting back on track could save Red Sox in one of two ways

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages

Despite their chronic injury issues which have led to a middling record, the Boston Red Sox sat just 1.5 games out of a playoff spot on June 7.

Boston's early record can be attributed to its better-than-expected starting rotation. For much of the beginning of the season, the Red Sox boasted the best starting pitcher ERA in the league. Nick Pivetta has been no small part of the rotation's success.

Pivetta pitched to a 0.83 ERA after his first two outings. He picked up right where he left off in 2023 — the 32-year-old began the 2023 slate in the rotation and struggled before he was moved to the bullpen, where he posted lights-out performances regularly.

The Red Sox were nearly struck by disaster when Pivetta went on the injured list with a flexor strain retroactive to April 6. Boston fans feared the worst for the righty, but his IL stint went by without a hitch. Pivetta returned to the rotation on May 8, but he was knocked around.

He got lit up for five runs in 4.1 innings for his worst outing of the season to that point. Pivetta followed that up with two nice starts for one and two runs, respectively, to knock his ERA down to 3.04. But the Brewers got to him in his next appearance and collected five runs off him in 3.1 frames.

Nick Pivetta could be either a good candidate for an extension or a trade piece at the deadline. The Red Sox need to decide soon.

After his May 25 outing against Milwaukee, Pivetta has posted two great starts in a row, particularly his outing against Atlanta on June 5. He stymied the Braves' bats over seven shutout innings of work and collected nine strikeouts along the way.

While Pivetta dabbles in the extremes in terms of allowing runs, he's shown a frequent, proven ability to miss bats. He's tossed 51 strikeouts in 42.1 innings and he's back down to a 3.40 ERA.

The 32-year-old is on an expiring contract, and the Sox must decide if Pivetta is extension-worthy or a trade deadline sale. He's previously stated that he's open to an extension with Boston, but it's not clear if the front office feels the same.

If the Red Sox continue to hover around .500, they could push for a wild-card spot around the July 30 trade deadline. Pivetta could be an asset if Boston decides to make a playoff push. If the Sox fall off, the right-hander could give a boost to another rotation in the running for the postseason. MLB insider Jon Heyman believes there's a "good" chance that the Red Sox try to offload Pivetta.

An extension might be worth the risk for Boston. Pivetta would likely be a relatively inexpensive contract and Red Sox Nation has already seen what Andrew Bailey can do in terms of building pitchers — if Boston could get him to sign for an additional year or two, the payoff could be big.

Only time will tell what Pivetta's fate with the Red Sox will be. If he continues throwing strikes at a high clip and shrinks his ERA, he could be a worthy candidate for an extension.

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