The Red Sox have not missed a beat since losing Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Whitlock, and Enrique Hernandez to injury. If anything, Boston has been playing their best baseball since they went on the injured list. But the most impressive part has been the starting pitching. The Red Sox rotation has the third-best ERA in Major League Baseball since June 10 and the best ERA in June. Michael Wacha has been invaluable all season; Rich Hill continues to do his thing; Josh Winckowski, whom Boston got in the Andrew Benintendi trade along with Franchy Cordero, has been really good. Even Kutter Crawford had a big start when the team needed it. But the guy anchoring it all, Nick Pivetta, has transformed into the de facto ace of the Boston Red Sox.
Red Sox Getting the Most Out of Nick Pivetta
Over 88.2 innings, Pivetta has a 3.25 ERA/129 ERA+/3.54 FIP, a 24 percent strikeout rate, 8.1 percent walk rate, and nine home runs allowed. The British Columbia, Canada, native is averaging a career-high 5.9 innings pitched per game; opposing hitters have a .212/.279/.347/.626 slash line against him. Since May 1, Pivetta has pitched less than six innings and allowed more than two walks in a game only twice. He has allowed more than three runs only once.
Among Red Sox starters, the former fourth-round pick ranks first in innings, starts, quality starts, IP/GS, ERA, and strikeouts. Pivetta is first in FIP, second in ERA+ (behind Wacha), WHIP, batting average against, and OPS among active Red Sox starters. Pivetta is tied 10th in innings, 26th in ERA (behind Frankie Montas, ahead of Adam Wainwright), 29th in FIP, 24th in strikeout rate, tied 14th in opponent average, 15th in WHIP, and 12th in strike rate among all MLB starters. He is second in MLB in innings, fourth in ERA, 14th in FIP, fifth in earned runs, 19th in strikeout rate, 18th in strikeout-to-walk ratio, third in BAA, and is tied third in WHIP since May 7.
So, what’s different? How are the Red Sox getting the most out of Nick Pivetta when no one else could? It’s always been about mechanics for Pivetta. After they acquired him, Boston sent him to the Alternate Training Site to work on his mechanics, and it paid off in 2021. It was the same story throughout the lockout-shortened spring training and in April. Thankfully, he figured things out and currently anchors a Red Sox rotation without two of its best pitchers.
To answer the above questions, Pivetta has tightened up his release point since last season. He’s now able to locate his pitches more consistently. The fastball stays up in the zone more consistently, and the curveball/slider combo stays low in the zone more consistently.
When he locates, opposing batters just aren’t hitting him well.
Are we getting a glimpse of what life could be like post-Nathan Eovaldi? If so, Chaim Bloom has set up the 2023 Red Sox well rotation-wise. Chris Sale, Pivetta, Whitlock, and James Paxton will be in the big league rotation, with Winckowski, Connor Seabold, Brayan Bello, Bryan Mata, and Crawford presumably at Triple-A.
Know what’s scary? Nick Pivetta will be a Boston Red Sox through the 2025 season.
*(Chaim Bloom knows what he’s doing.)