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Nick Pivetta aims to give Red Sox split of series vs. O’s

Sportsnaut
May 18, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta (37) pitches against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Following a busy doubleheader Saturday, the Boston Red Sox will look to split their four-game, three-day series with the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday afternoon.

Boston’s Nick Pivetta (3-4, 4.25 ERA) enters his 10th start of the season having won three in a row. He has allowed just five earned runs in 22 innings during that span.

After Josh Winckowski made his MLB debut for the Red Sox when he started Saturday’s second game, six relievers pitched scoreless ball over at least an inning. The Orioles were held hitless until the ninth after Winckowski departed from his three-inning outing.

Earlier in the day, Nathan Eovaldi gave up just three runs (two earned) in his first career complete game. He and Pivetta are the first pair of teammates to go the distance this season.

“He knew that this was a big one for us, especially with where we were at bullpen-wise, so for him to go nine with the stuff he had, it wasn’t just like, ‘OK, we’re going to throw him out there and see what happens,'” Sox manager Alex Cora said of Eovaldi. “The stuff was really good. He’s one of those guys, that, you follow suit down there. I’m very happy for him.”

After throwing a two-hit complete game May 18 against Houston, Pivetta fanned five Chicago White Sox in six innings of three-run ball during his most recent start on Tuesday.

Like Eovaldi, it was a similar situation during Pivetta’s recent complete game.

“The way he was looking at me, I was like, ‘I’m going to stay away. He might kill me,'” Cora said after the May 18 start. “He had that look. From the bullpen, as soon as he gets in, he goes somewhere else mentally.”

Pivetta is 6-2 with a 3.83 ERA in nine career starts against Baltimore. He won three of his five head-to-head series last season, striking out 28 in 26 1/3 innings.

At the plate, Christian Vazquez went 3-for-4 Saturday night, tying his season-high hit total for the third time in five games.

One swing of the bat was all the Orioles needed to split Saturday as Rougned Odor’s three-run homer punctuated a four-run third inning. He has two homers in five games and 17 RBIs this month.

“He’s up there to do some damage,” O’s manager Brandon Hyde said of Odor, who has hits in 13 of his last 14 games. “These last couple weeks he’s turned it up big time offensively and driven in a lot of runs for us and gotten huge hits.”

Baltimore is 3-3 on its current eight-game road trip and improved to 15-0 when leading after seven innings.

Southpaw Bruce Zimmermann (2-2, 3.78) takes the ball to conclude the series for Baltimore. He hasn’t won since May 8 against Kansas City despite pitching into the sixth inning in two of his last three starts.

“He goes out there no matter what the score is and he’s going out there and pitching really well,” Trey Mancini said after one of Zimmermann’s recent starts. “He’s just doing a really, really great job for us. I’m proud of the way that he’s gone about his business this year. It’s been really impressive.”

Zimmermann is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in four appearances, three starts, against the Red Sox for his career. All three starts came last season, when he went 1-0 with a 3.94 ERA across 16 innings. Six of the seven runs he allowed came over the last two of those games.

–Field Level Media