Red Sox Notes: Why Nick Pivetta Two-Hit Gem Was Pitcher’s Best Of Season

Pivetta stepped up and helped out a worn-down Boston bullpen

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Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta threw an absolute gem Sunday against the Oakland Athletics and it propelled Boston to a series-clinching 1-0 verdict.

It also went a long way in helping a worn-down Boston bullpen, and that’s one reason why Red Sox manager Alex Cora believes it was Pivetta’s best start of the season.

“He set the tempo right away in the first inning,” Cora said on a postgame video conference. “He understands where we’re at. He did the same thing in Tampa. There’s certain days that those guys need to go deep into the game, they see what’s going on, and they step up to the challenge.

“He did an amazing job,” Cora added. “It was needed. We were very short bullpen wise. And probably his best one. I know in Tampa he had the no-hit going but this one, against a good lineup, in the situation we were in, he was outstanding.”

Pivetta went seven full innings while allowing just two hits and two walks. The right-hander struck out 10 batters while throwing 65 of his 101 pitches for strikes. It was the first time this season he went seven or more innings. He retired 14 straight batters during the contest after retiring the side in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings.

Sunday’s performance comes as a bounce-back game for Pivetta after allowing six runs on nine hits in just 4 1/3 inning during his last start. Pivetta did, as noted by Cora, no-hit the Tampa Bay Rays two starts prior while pitching 6 2/3 innings.

“I’m glad he’s pitching for us every five days,” Cora said.

Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Athletics on Sunday:

— Pivetta didn’t want to dive into whether Sunday’s start was his best of the season like Cora did, but simply said he was excited with result and how it helped the bullpen.

“The bullpen has been there for me a lot this year so I was just doing my part,” Pivetta said on a postgame video conference. “I think it’s a team effort every single day and that’s who we are, a great team, and we’re just going to keep moving forward and picking each other up whenever.” 

Pivetta noted how he felt he had better command of his changeup and slider while his fastball and curveball were similar in comparison to his previous start against the Rays.

— The Red Sox received some great news Sunday with the All-Star selections of Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Barnes and J.D. Martinez. It will be the first honor for Eovaldi and Barnes while Martinez now has been an All-Star for three of the last four years.

They will join starters Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers to give the Red Sox a league-leading five selections.

Martinez called the honor a “blessing” and said it’s not something he takes for granted. He also expressed how it shows the talent in the Red Sox batting order as Boston’s third, fourth and fifth batters all earned a spot in the game.

“It shows you how strong our lineup is,” Martinez said on a postgame video conference.

Cora added: “One of the coolest days as a manager is to get everyone together and, first things first, praise the team. … Sometimes you got to take a step back and let them know how good they are.”

— The Red Sox followed up a pair of consecutive sweeps against the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals with a series win over the Athletics.

“Another great week for us,” Cora said. “We’re playing good baseball right now. That’s a good team, that’s a really good team.”

— Cora revealed infielder Christian Arroyo will travel to Los Angeles and join the Red Sox as they begin a three-game series against the Angels on Monday night.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta
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