Pivetta's AL East woes continue vs. Jays

Righty gives up four runs (three earned) as Red Sox are shut out

October 1st, 2022

TORONTO -- Consistency is something that has eluded Nick Pivetta this season. He started cold, got hot for seven weeks and has been up and down since early July.

But one thing has been consistent about Pivetta’s inconsistency, and it was on display again at Rogers Centre in a 9-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday night.

Pivetta has struggled repeatedly against American League East foes this season, while thriving against non-divisional opponents.

“I think it’s year to year. This year has been up and down against [Toronto], but mostly negatives against the AL East all year round,” said Pivetta. “But it doesn’t change my approach, doesn’t change my belief in myself. Go out there and compete the best I can every single time. If the chips fall my way, it works. If not, it is what it is.”

With Pivetta likely to be part of Boston’s mix for the next two seasons (the righty isn’t eligible for free agency until 2025), this will be a key issue to fix going forward.

While teams will play their division opponents 13 times per season instead of 19 with the new schedule format, the Red Sox will still see their AL East brethren more than anyone else.

Pivetta has one more chance to build some momentum in this regard, as he is slated to face the Rays in Game No. 162 on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park.

The best thing about Pivetta this season has been his durability. He leads the team in starts (32) and innings (175 2/3) by wide margins.

“Yeah I look forward to making my 33rd start of the year,” said Pivetta. “I always love to pitch. I always love to go out there and compete. Things will turn my way better next time, but just go out there, same thought process, same confidence as I always have, and same confidence in this team and our abilities.”

In 17 starts against the AL East, Pivetta is 1-8 with a 6.72 ERA, a .293 opponents batting average and an .877 OPS. In 15 starts against all other teams, the 29-year-old is 9-4 with a 2.86 ERA, a .222 opponents batting average and a .647 OPS.

Pivetta’s AL East struggles are a bit of a microcosm for Boston’s season. The Red Sox, who are headed to a last-place finish, are 23-48 in the division and 52-34 out of the division. Boston is 3-14 against Toronto.

“That’s a good hitting team, but we’re going to be in this division for a long, long time,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “They’re changing rules, but not divisions. You’re going to face all these teams. We’ve got to do a better job. They have had their way against us, Nick, it doesn’t matter [who is pitching], they put good swings and we just have to make adjustments.”

As for Pivetta, will he look over specific adjustments in the offseason to have better results in the division?

“I don’t think I’m going to overthink it. Just been an unfortunate year in the AL East,” said Pivetta. “You guys [in the media] kind of harped on it last week, but I’m OK with it. It is what it is. There’s ups and downs. I’ve had good starts this year against teams in the AL East. It’s just not rolling my way this year, but I look forward to next year and just continuing to compete against good players.”

What does Cora see?

“He gave us like 10 straight good ones,” said Cora. “He struggled early and he’s been on and off the last month and a half, two months. We always talk about him, his fastball and everything. It starts with command. You’ve got to use the fastball in the zone and obviously expand with the breaking ball.”