BOSTON — Last week, the Locked On Red Sox hosts discussed the possibility of Nick Pivetta being moved from the starting rotation into the bullpen.
The choice to move a starter to the bullpen was between Tanner Houck, Brayan Bello, and Pivetta, who all had ERA’s north of 5. The other three guys in his temporary six-man rotation the Red Sox had been operating with the past few starts are veterans Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, and James Paxton, none of whom would get moved to the pen.
Pivetta has made eight starts so far in 2023 and only made it past the fifth inning in two of those starts. His two shortest outings were four innings, once on April 15 when he gave up six runs to the Angels and on May 9 when he gave up eight runs against the Braves.
The Red Sox made it official yesterday. Pivetta last pitched in the bullpen in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
On the latest episode of Locked On Red Sox, Lauren Willand talked about the Red Sox’s decision.
Willand said, “We talked about how he (Pivetta) really needed to make that impression to stay in this rotation, solidify a spot in it going forward. He obviously didn’t because Cora did not commit to him starting while the Red Sox are on the West Coast, but Alex Cora did confirm after Wednesday’s win over Seattle that Pivetta will indeed move to the bullpen.”
Pivetta has pitched 40 innings this season, boasting a 6.30 ERA. In his last start against Seattle, he gave up four runs on six hits in five and one-third innings with six strikeouts. The Red Sox picked up the win, but it was more of the same for Pivetta, who had one clean start this season—against Tampa on April 10 when he didn’t give up a run in five innings of work.
Pivetta hasn’t been right since the middle of last season and has gone 5-9 with a 5.88 ERA in his past 24 starts. He said after Wednesday’s game, “I’m going to focus on helping the team achieve our goals. I’m gonna go out there and do my job and throw up zeros and help this team win. I just don't think I make this about me. I’ve just got to go out and focus. I’ve got to pitch better, and I’ve got to go and start and do that right there.” He added, “The better I do out of the bullpen, the more I can help the team win and move us toward our overall goal of winning the World Series. I think that's what's most important.”
Pivetta has over five years of service and has to approve any demotion to the minors, so if he wasn’t going to accept the move to the bullpen, the Red Sox would have to DFA him.
As for Bello, he picked up the win on Wednesday night and will remain in the rotation with Kluber, Sale, Houck, and Paxton, who just returned to the rotation on May 12. Garrett Whitlock is still on the IL, but when he returns, the Red Sox may have to make another rotation decision.
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