With Chris Sale scratched due to a positive COVID-19 test, the Boston Red Sox will look to regroup with Nick Pivetta on the mound Sunday for the series finale against the host Chicago White Sox.
Sale was in line to start against his former team before testing positive for the virus on Friday and landing on the COVID-19 injured list.
Utility man Danny Santana became the team’s 11th player to land on the COVID list since Aug. 27 after testing positive ahead of Saturday night’s game.
The Red Sox continue to battle and hold a one-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees for the top American League wild-card spot heading into action Sunday.
Boston is 6-4 in its past 10 games.
On Saturday, Chicago (81-61) erased an early five-run deficit to take an 8-7 lead in the fifth inning but ultimately fell short as Boston (81-63) prevailed 9-8 in 10 innings. However, the White Sox still maintain a comfortable 11-game lead atop the AL Central standings.
The Red Sox had dropped four of five games after a 4-3 loss to Chicago in the series opener Friday.
“The last three baseball games have been great as far as just showing up and doing everything possible to try to win a game regardless of the result,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “And that was a good one.”
One virus-impacted pitcher will replace another for the Red Sox as Pivetta (9-7, 4.67 ERA) makes his return after testing positive for and being placed on the COVID list last Sunday. Because he was fully vaccinated, Pivetta didn’t have to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days.
The 28-year-old right-hander was scheduled to start that day at home against Cleveland and was a late scratch.
Pivetta is just 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA in 32 innings over his past seven outings. He last pitched Aug. 30 at Tampa Bay, giving up four runs on six hits while walking five and striking out six over five innings in a 6-1 defeat.
Overall, Pivetta is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three career outings (one start) versus Chicago. On April 17, he threw 3 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with four walks and three strikeouts against the White Sox in a 7-4 home win for Boston.
Lance Lynn (10-4, 2.59) will make his return Sunday for the White Sox, two days after being activated from the 10-day injured list.
The All-Star right-hander was sidelined with right-knee inflammation and last pitched Aug. 28, when he gave up a season-high seven runs in five innings against the Chicago Cubs in a 7-0 defeat.
“It’s one of those things, I said when I went on (the injured list), we were playing catch-up every start — and that’s miserable,” Lynn told the Chicago Tribune of the knee issue. “Taking the break gets you a chance to get caught up with it and hopefully stay along with it instead of letting it get ahead of you.”
Lynn has gone 2-1 with an impressive 2.31 ERA and 28 strikeouts in seven career games (six starts) against the Red Sox.
Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez could return to the lineup after missing back-to-back games with back tightness.
-Field Level Media