Nick Pivetta’s spot in the Boston Red Sox rotation wasn’t certain entering spring training, but through eight starts, he’s been their best guy.
In those starts this year, the Red Sox have gone 7-1, with the righty accumulating a team-low 3.16 ERA and a 5-0 record on the mound. And for a rotation that dramatically has exceed expectations this spring, Pivetta’s dependability has been one of its most pleasant surprises.
Certainly, it solved an issue Red Sox manager Alex Cora anticipated Boston might have entering the season.
“Obviously, what he did last year was eye opening, but the way he’s doing this year is a lot different, his stuff is a lot better than last year,” Cora on Wednesday said over Zoom, one day ahead of Pivetta’s outing against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“Which is funny because when we were talking about splitting up, Nate (Eovaldi) and Eduardo (Rodriguez) a few weeks ago, just to make sure we are covered if something happens. And then Nick is throwing the ball well. Garrett (Richards) is throwing the ball well. Martín (Pérez) is doing the same thing. And now it’s kind of like, OK, we’ll keep it like this. And I think what Nick has done is give us balance. His stuff is is a lot better than what I thought. What he does in the clubhouse, in the weight room, in the training room is amazing.”
But even since those strong appearances, he’s elevated his fastball and developed a killer slider, this year putting in at least five innings of work in all but one start. He’s allowed three or fewer earned runs on seven of those occasions, striking out 42 batters in 42.2 innings pitched.
He’s said already this season that a change of scenery perhaps was what he needed, but Pivetta practically looks like a different player than the one who fell out of favor with the Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff.
“I don’t want to say he’s on a mission, or trying to prove people wrong, but he wants to show that he belongs, right?” Cora said. “And we always talk about Nick Pivetta about upside and what he might be able to do. And he has put everything together in this month and a half.”
We’ll see if Pivetta can remain undefeated this campaign, as he gets the ball for the third game of a three-game set against Toronto.
First pitch between the Red Sox and Blue Jays is at 7:37 p.m. ET.