Boston P Nick Pivetta faces Braves, looks to remain perfect

MLB

Boston P Nick Pivetta faces Braves, looks to remain perfect

Boston pitcher Nick Pivetta will try to keep his undefeated streak intact on Wednesday against a very familiar foe.

The right-hander (5-0, 3.59 ERA) will close the two-game series against the visiting Atlanta Braves, a team Pivetta has appeared against 15 times (12 starts). He will be opposed by left-hander Drew Smyly (2-2, 5.11), who has his own history of success against the Red Sox.

Pivetta is 5-2 with a 3.23 ERA in 15 games against Atlanta, including 3-0 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2017. But Pivetta said he has become a different pitcher since being acquired by Boston last August.

“They gave me the confidence in myself, which was really good,” he said. “They valued me, they traded for me, which was really nice of them. They valued me as a starter, which was huge, so it instilled a lot of confidence in me. They kind of let me be me, but they’ve helped me.”

He is 7-0 with a 3.28 ERA in 11 starts with Boston and is only the third pitcher to go unbeaten in their first 10 starts with the Red Sox, joining Mike Nagy in 1969 and Matt Clement in 2005.

He allowed five runs, four earned, in five innings against Toronto in most recent start last Thursday and did not receive a decision.

Pivetta is the only American League starter with five or more wins and no losses. Opponents are batting only .205 against him.

Smyly has made 11 career appearances, nine of them starts, against Boston, going 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA. But he hasn’t beaten the Red Sox since July 23, 2015, when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Smyly has produced three consecutive quality starts, going 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA during that stretch. He gave up three runs in six innings in his most recent start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. He had a no-decision in the Braves’ loss.

The first game of the series between the two high-scoring teams turned out to be a low-scoring game. Atlanta, which had 15 homers in the four-game series with Pittsburgh and has hit a major league leading 78 this year, didn’t hit a home run. Boston, which has hit the fourth-most homers in the American League (65), also failed to go deep and was limited to three hits.

However, the Braves lost one of their powerful bats when left fielder Marcell Ozuna suffered dislocated left ring and middle fingers on Tuesday. Ozuna was injured on a headfirst slide into third base. Ozuna is hitting .213 with seven homers and 26 RBI. He will return to Atlanta for further evaluation.

“He had [a] splint on them but wasn’t feeling that bad,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “He did them both so we’re making sure everything is good in there. Those hand things with those little bones can be a little tricky. We just want our hand guys to look at it and then we’ll know more what the prognosis is.”

–Field Level Media

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