After Nick Pivetta earned his seventh win in a Boston Red Sox uniform, Jonny Miller of WBZ NewsRadio asked him if this is the best he’s ever pitched in his career.
“Yes. It is,” Pivetta answered frankly in his postgame Zoom availability following Boston’s 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.
“It’s the Boston Red Sox. I want us to have really good success, and that starts with me on the mound throwing up zeros, and so that’s what I hold really high on my pedestal. Got to keep the runs low, I know these guys are going to score runs eventually, right? But it gives me an extra confidence.”
So far, his starts have provided his team with just that.
Since trading for him in August in exchange for Brandon Workman (who the Red Sox since have reacquired), the team is 8-1 when Pivetta takes the mound. And the 28-year-old has yet to record a loss, with seven wins in nine outings.
In Boston, he practically looks like a different player compared to the righty that went back-and-forth from the Philadelphia Phillies’ rotation and bullpen, making just three relief appearances for them in 2020 and allowing 10 earned runs on 10 hits (with three home runs) over 5 2/3 innings.
“I just feel like sometimes you need to breathe, right?” manager Alex Cora said of Pivetta after the game. “You know, you put too much pressure on yourself to do the job and sometimes it doesn’t work out, and then, you know, you go somewhere else and you can relax. I don’t know if that’s the case, I never asked him that question. One thing I told him in spring training, ‘You get the ball every five days, and we trust you.’
“So the stuff and the ability has always been there and now he’s putting everything together.”
Since the trade, Pivetta has a 2.89 ERA, while his opponents have posted a .196 batting average against him.
Sunday wasn’t particularly easy for him, giving up two runs on three hits and three walks, laboring through a 30-pitch first frame. In six innings, he threw 72 of his 103 pitches for strikes, but only struck out two.
But when he gave up a solo homer and the in the bottom of the fifth that put the Orioles up 2-1, his team rallied to take it back in the top of the sixth. Pivetta returned for the other half of the frame, pitching around a walk and a pickoff error, to turn the game over to relievers with a 3-2 Boston advantage.
Everyone else handled things from there, helping him win his third consecutive outing. But he’s not thinking about the roll he’s on.
“The worst thing to do is think about it,” Pivetta said. “Just go out every single day, having fun, you get to play baseball. Everybody enjoys being at the ballpark, everybody enjoys being here. I love being here. It’s just fun. At the end of the day, yes, success is great to have. Yes, success is what you’re always searching for. But if you’re going to the baseball park, having fun, the atmosphere is loose, the guys are having the time of our lives, we got a good thing going here, you know, it’s just fun. I think that’s what it all comes down to and the rest takes care of (itself).”
So does he think this is all result of a fresh start with a new club?
“I would assume, yeah,” Pivetta said. “From my point of view, from you guys’ point of view, a change of scenery is exactly what I needed.”