Nick Pivetta will take the hill for his sixth start of the season on Tuesday night, going against a Tigers team that scores a paltry 2.72 runs per game, good for last in the league. It all goes according to plan, he'll boost his record to 4-0 on the year and improve his overall numbers in what has been a strong first full season for the Red Sox starter.
His numbers so far are have been remarkably solid for a guy who struggled to make any sort of consistent impact throughout his first four seasons in the bigs. A 3-0 record in five starts isn't exactly flukey despite the strong run support (7.36 runs) per start, considering Pivetta has recorded a 2.81 ERA and is holding opponents to just a .176 batting average against him. His ERA is in the top 15 in the American League among starters with at least 20 innings pitched, and his BAA is good for seventh in the junior circuit (via Stathead).
When you include Pivetta's two starts from last year, after the Phillies traded him away for two relievers who completely underperformed, his total stat line is 5-0 with a 2.52 ERA. In the words of SNL's Matt Foley... I can't see real good, is that 2010 Clay Buchholz out there?
In his most recent outing, Pivetta went up against a familiar adversary from his Phillies days — Mets star Jacob deGrom — and gave up just one hit in five innings to go along with seven strikeouts.
"For everything we've been talking about deGrom, Nick has been throwing the ball well. He did an outstanding job," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said last week. "He gave us five quality innings, and then the bullpen did the rest."
That last sentence... how many times can you say that about a Phillies starter-bullpen combo this year? Probably not too many. And how many times can we say that Pivetta threw five innings and surrendered fewer than two hits in a Phillies uniform? He did it three times in 71 starts with Philadelphia, and he's already done it three times in just seven starts with the Red Sox.