Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta was forced to throw baseballs into a fence, all alone, while isolating away from his Boston teammates amid the group’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Pivetta, who was asymptomatic, was much happier to be back on the diamond Sunday as he returned to the team after missing his previous start. The right-hander put together a respectable performance as he did not allow an earned run in an eventual 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. With the verdict, Chicago claimed the three-game series.
Pivetta said it was important to him to keep the same mentality and go out there and compete.
“I think it’s just you got to stay mentally locked in the whole entire time,” Pivetta said on a postgame video conference. “When I’m watching the game I’m pretending I’m there with everybody and when I’m throwing against a fence I’m throwing against a fence like I’m playing catch or I’m playing in a game.
“I really, really missed it,” Pivetta continued. “It was nice to be back out there. I had a lot of fun today and it was all positives.”
Pivetta allowed just three hits with five strikeouts as he threw 59 of his 79 pitches for strikes.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-White Sox:
— It was all positives for Red Sox manager Alex Cora, as well.
“Really good,” Cora responded when asked what he thought of Pivetta’s performance. “Good fastball. Good breaking ball. The tempo was amazing. He gave us more than enough. He was in command — he was in command of every one of his pitches. It was pretty impressive.”
Both Cora and Pivetta noted how they were pleased to see the pitcher’s stamina, especially after missing time. Pivetta threw from the mound just once during his time away from the team and it came Saturday as he threw 10 pitches.
— Garrett Whitlock entered the game in the ninth inning after the Red Sox tied it in the top half of the frame. Cora explained what went into that decision, and it was just as much about the White Sox as it was the Red Sox.
“We felt like where they were bullpen-wise, it made sense to take a chance there with Garrett (Whitlock) to extend the game. We knew they were short (bullpen-wise), so just tried to get three more outs and get to the 10th, but it just didn’t happen,” Cora said.
— Boston was held to just four hits Sunday with only one going for extra bases.
— The Red Sox will continue their road trip as they travel to Seattle for the first of three games Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. ET, and you can watch it live on NESN.
“We’re playing good baseball,” Cora said. “The last three games, they felt like the playoffs. The at-bats, the intensity, the moves. Obviously we don’t win the series, but we play well. We’ll be ready. We have Eduardo (Rodriguez), Nate (Eovaldi) and we’ll go from there.”
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