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Nick Pivetta is no longer our problem

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If the breakout ever comes, it won’t be in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants
Nick Pivetta is now Boston’s problem
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The numbers (with the Phillies)

3 games, 5.1 IP, 0-0 W-L, 15.88 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, 6.4 K/9

The background

For the past few years, Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez seemed to hold a competition to see who could be more of a disappointment. Despite a lack of consistent success, both men showed flashes of potential that made team decision-makers believe that they might develop into front-of-the-rotation starters.

For example, Pivetta showed enough promise in 2018 that he was ostensibly the team’s #2 starter to begin the following season.

Rather than reward that faith, Pivetta flamed out as a starter, and after being moved to the bullpen, underwhelmed in that role as well. He was given another chance to win a starting job in 2020, but he never really made a strong case in Spring Training. Instead, he began the season in the bullpen.

The bad

Pivetta made three appearances for the Phillies in 2020, and none of them went very well. The first time he entered a game, he gave up two runs in 3.1 innings. This apparently didn’t endear him to manager Joe Girardi, so his next appearance wouldn’t come for another eleven days. When he finally did take the mound again, he allowed two runs in two innings (although he did earn a hold for not completely blowing the three-run lead he was given). Four days later, the Phillies had 13-1 lead heading into the ninth, so Girardi figured it would be a good opportunity to get Pivetta an inning of work.

And what an inning of work it was. The first batter he faced hit a home run. The next three batters reached base via two singles and a double. Pivetta finally recorded an out when he gave up a run-scoring sacrifice fly, but after the next two batters hit back-to-back doubles, Pivetta’s night - and his Phillies career - was over.

After the game, Pivetta was optioned to the minors, and one week later, was sent to Boston as part of the Brandon Workman trade. At the time, it seemed like a good trade, and yet...

Eventually, the Red Sox recalled him to the majors, and he made two starts at the end of the season that convinced some members of the organization that he might be a viable part of their rotation going forward.

The good

Phillies fans don’t have to be disappointed by Pivetta anymore. Now Red Sox fans can be the ones who unwisely get their hopes up.

The future

Pivetta’s starts in Boston prompted an inevitable wave of “We gave up on him too soon!” moans from some people, but I’ll share that sentiment when he lasts more than five innings in a start, or can sustain the success for an entire month. Brief flashes of greatness were never Pivetta’s problem.

Even if he does finally realize his potential in Boston, it’s tough to say he would have done so in Philadelphia. Sometimes guys need a change of scenery, and its best for all parties if they part ways.