Boston Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta will put his undefeated record on the line Thursday night in the rubber match of a three-game series against the host Toronto Blue Jays at Dunedin, Fla.
Pivetta, who had to earn a place in the rotation during spring training, has opened the season at 5-0 with 3.16 ERA. The Red Sox are 7-1 in his starts.
After losing the series opener 8-0 on Tuesday, the Red Sox won 7-3 on Wednesday.
Pivetta has worked at least five innings in all but one of his starts this season. He has allowed three or fewer earned runs seven times.
Pivetta won both of his starts for Boston at the end of last season after being acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies.
“Obviously what he did last year was eye-opening,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “But the way he’s doing it this year is a lot different and his stuff is a lot better than last year.”
Pivetta was 19-30 with a 5.50 ERA in four seasons with the Phillies before arriving in Boston in late September. He is 7-0 with a 2.91 ERA in 10 starts for the Red Sox.
“I don’t want to say he’s on a mission or trying to prove people wrong,” Cora said. “But he wants to show that he belongs.”
In two career starts against Toronto, Pivetta is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA.
Pivetta will face Blue Jays left-hander Steven Matz (5-2, 4.29).
Matz lost his only career game against Boston on July 30 when he was with the New York Mets. He allowed three earned runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox are expected to have veteran infielder/outfielder Danny Santana return to the team soon.
Santana missed the start of the season with a severe infection in his right foot. In his first seven minor-league games this season, the past four with Triple-A Worcester, he is batting .423. He hit 28 home runs for the Texas Rangers in 2019 and missed most of last season due to a right elbow injury that needed surgery.
“We know how he’s playing,” Cora said. “It’s a guy that we liked from the get-go, and he’s done an amazing job. He’s healthy, so we’ll see where it takes us.”
The Blue Jays are 10-6 at their temporary home in Florida. They have five more games at their spring-training stadium before shifting their home base to Buffalo, N.Y., on June 1.
After the Red Sox series, they conclude their stint in Dunedin with four games with another division rival, the Tampa Bay Rays, who have won six straight and moved into second place in the American league East. After that, the Blue Jays will visit the New York Yankees.
“There’s a lot of baseball left, (even) if we didn’t have a good series with all three of them,” said Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk, who was 1-for-4 on Wednesday. “But I think it’s a chance for us to buy in even more, or let people know what the Blue Jays are made of offensively, defensively and pitching, by playing Boston, Tampa and New York back to back to back.”
–Field Level Media