There is lots to like about Nick Pivetta’s performance Wednesday night as he continued his solid start to the 2021 Major League Baseball season.
The Boston Red Sox starting pitcher tossed yet another gem with a shutout victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field. Pivetta pitched opposite star hurler Jacob deGrom, but still wound up with the better all-around outing.
The Mets collected just two hits off Red Sox pitching, one of which came from Pivetta. He did walk three batters, but his seven strikeouts were nothing to sneeze at.
Alex Cora thought Pivetta “did an outstanding job” on the mound against an opponent as mighty as deGrom. The Red Sox manager has seen a lot of improvement from the right in his last two games.
“The fastball command has been a lot better — he has a good fastball,” Cora said during his postgame video press conference. “He was able to use it up in the zone. His secondary pitches have been good the whole season, the whole month. But I think the difference is the fastball in the zone. He’s been able to throw for strikes and that’s what sets up the rest of these secondary pitches.”
Pivetta, who now owns a 3-0 record, offered a similar response.
“I think I had better command of my fastball in my last game, but compared to this game, I was able to get the fastball over for strikes and beat them out with that. … (It took) really good work with (pitching coach Dave Bush) and a lot of the other starters, staying composed, staying within my delivery, really working (on) staying back. I think that’s really me helped stay on top of my heater and get ahead of guys.”
This is Pivetta’s first season with the Red Sox, and it’s off to a pretty solid start. It isn’t hard to see the confidence he has built in a brief period of time, and there’s good reason for it.
“I’m comfortable here and I’m really happy here,” Pivetta said. “Like I said before, the (Philadelphia) Phillies brought me up to the big leagues and got me started on this path and I’m really grateful for them for giving me the opportunity. I’m grateful for the Boston Red Sox believing in me and being able to show them what I’m worth and what I can do for a team.
“These guys, they know how to win here and that really helps me. It’s really helped me since I’ve started here. It’s a different vibe. They know what they’re doing. They’re never out of a baseball game. They’re always competing and it showed tonight, and it showed last night as well. This is a team effort. It’s a team win, team series win as well. And having that momentum, that feeling, it’s awesome. I’m really enjoying it here and I really love the guys.”
Here are some more notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Mets game:
— Boston and New York engaged in a classic pitching duel, and the former wound up on top.
Cora had a blast watching it go down.
“It was amazing,” he said. “Both of them were great. For everything we’ve been talking about deGrom, Nick has been throwing the ball well. … He gave us five quality innings and then the bullpen did the rest.
“That was fun. The two games were fun. That’s what baseball’s all about — good pitching, good defense. It was fun. The atmosphere was amazing. Just happy that we got the W today. We won the series and now we move on.”
— Pivetta forced the longest at-bat of the season for deGrom in the third inning, despite striking out on pitch No. 10. It’s just another thing Cora loved about Wednesday’s game, especially for Pivetta.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Cora said. “It’s a team sport, right? And everybody has to do their part. And if you’re in a national league park, you have to do your part. And he held himself. And that was a great at-bat.”
Pivetta simply happy he was able to help himself.
“To be honest with you, I haven’t seen a pitch thrown at me in a while,” he said. “I was just trying to compete against him, do the best I could, trying to wear down his pitches as best I could, just trying to compete right there. I know that I’m probably not going to get a hit there — it’s deGrom — but if I can foul off a couple pitches, make him throw a couple balls here and there and just wear down his pitch count, that’s probably the biggest thing for me in that start. Just wearing him down and trying to do the best I can with the job I have.”
— The Red Sox will begin a four-game series against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, with Martín Pérez slated to start Game 1 for Boston. First pitch from Globe Life Field is slated for 8:05 p.m. ET.
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