Nick Pivetta was disappointed in how his start ended Thursday, and perhaps rightfully so, but the Boston Red Sox right-hander acknowledged how both his confidence and consistency is trending in the right direction.
Pivetta, who went six innings while allowing one hit and two earned runs during Boston’s 7-3 loss in extra innings, retired the first nine batters. He allowed a mere one base runner through five innings, which reached on one of Pivetta’s three walks allowed.
He did not allow a hit for 5 2/3 innings before a two-run double helped the Mariners tie the game in the sixth. And while Pivetta expressed how it was a tough way to end his appearance, there was plenty of good to draw from it.
“I think that I’ve done a pretty good job up to this point, but there’s a lot to work on. I think that I’m capable of much more,” Pivetta told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage.
“I think I’m getting more consistent as time goes on. I think today was the most consistent that I have been in the past,” Pivetta said. “(I) made some really good adjustments, got away from myself in the sixth inning a little bit, but as a whole, I’m very confident with the direction I’m moving in.”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora was happy to see Pivetta put together another strong start, too. The 28-year-old has allowed a combined 14 hits in four games this season. He remains 2-0 on the season with Thursday’s no decision.
“Outstanding. He did a good job,” Cora said during a postgame conference call. “Good fastball, good command of his secondary pitches. We were talking about it today, right? If he can throw his fastball for strikes he can go deep into the games and he did that tonight.”
Pivetta has gone five or more innings in three of his four starts this season.
“He’s getting better. You see the stuff, he’s a lot better than he was last year — velocity wise, a tremendous slider. He’s put himself in this position. We’re happy with him.”
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Mariners on Thursday:
— Though Pivetta was strong in his start, and though the Red Sox staff combine to allow just one hit in nine innings and three in the game, it still was far from a perfect day on the mound.
“How many walks we have?,” Cora asked. “I mean, it doesn’t matter right? Two hits, three hits. When you walk seven guys you’re putting yourself in bad position. It’s not about getting hits, it’s about getting on base. That’s the name of the game and we walked seven guys.”
The Mariners scored four runs on those seven walks. They also had one batter reach base after being hit by a pitch.
— Franchy Cordero leaped and outstretched his glove on the two-run double by Pivetta, but wasn’t able to make the play. And while some were left questioning whether Cordero was playing too shallow, Cora isn’t second guessing it.
“He was playing where he was supposed to,” Cora said. “From the dugout you can’t tell, you know, so I’ll have to take a look at it but got the effort, right? So it’s not about the routes or where he was playing I think, for how good we pitched today, we didn’t pitch well. We walked too many guys. There was a lot of traffic at the end. We weren’t able to put them away.
Cora followed up with: “We have him right there, yeah. … I’m not going to second guess that one.”
— Matt Barnes needed just 12 pitches to get through the ninth inning, but the Red Sox didn’t think about putting their closer back on the mound for the 10th.
“Where we’re at right now and where we, the way we’ve been playing, the way we’ve been using (guys), you got to be careful,” Cora said.
— Cora is hopeful Darwinzon Hernandez, who allowed four runs in the 10th, will be able to execute better going forward. Cora specifically noted how the fastball Hernandez allowed the three-run home run on should have been up in the strike zone.
“You have to execute. The stuff is there, at the end of the day we love the stuff, but we have to execute,” Cora said.
— The Red Sox will look to snap their two game losing streak when they host the Mariners on Friday at Fenway Park.