Nick Pivetta’s early-season struggles continue as Red Sox fall back to .500 in 6-1 loss to Blue Jays

On an emotional night in which they honored the late Jerry Remy at Fenway Park, the Red Sox fell to the Blue Jays by a final score of 6-1 on Wednesday. Boston drops back to 6-6 on the season and 3-3 at home.

Nick Pivetta, making his third start of the year for the Sox, was not particularly sharp. The right-hander surrendered five earned runs on seven hits, four walks, and four strikeouts over four innings of work.

The Jays overcame an early 1-0 deficit and got to Pivetta for all five runs in the top of the second inning. Raimel Tapia followed a Matt Chapman leadoff single by lifting a 404-foot two-run home run to right field. A pair of walks and a softly-hit single loaded the bases for George Springer, who plated an additional run on a sacrifice fly to center field. Bo Bichette capped off the rally by lacing a two-run single to left field that gave his side a commanding 5-1 lead.

If there were any silver linings, it’s that Pivetta was able to bounce back to some degree. After getting through the rest of the second unscathed, the Canadian-born hurler stranded one runner in a scoreless top of the third and stranded two more in a scoreless top of the fourth.

All told, Pivetta finished with a final pitch count of 95 (61 strikes) over his four innings. The 29-year-old relied primarily upon his four-seam fastball and knuckle curveball while hovering around 93.5 mph with the former and inducing just three swings-and-misses with the latter.

Through three starts this season, Pivetta has yielded 13 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings. That is good for an ERA of 10.03, which is certainly not what the Red Sox are looking for out of the righty.

In relief of Pivetta, Phillips Valdez received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Valdez retired five of the seven batters he faced before handing things over to Matt Barnes, who allowed one run to score in the seventh on a single and sacrifice fly in the seventh.

An inning later, Tyler Danish came on for his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform and his first overall appearance at the big-league level since 2018. The 27-year-old punched out the side in the top of the eighth and worked his way around a leadoff walk while striking out two more in a clean top of the ninth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Blue Jays starter Jose Berrios to begin things on Wednesday, and it appeared as though they were seeing their opponent well out of the gate.

J.D. Martinez followed a one-out double from Rafael Devers in the first inning by ripping a 105.7 mph RBI single to center field. Martinez advanced all the way to third on another single that left Alex Verdugo’s bat at 108.7 mph, but was stranded there.

After falling behind by four runs, Boston nearly staged a rally of their own in the second inning following back-to-back one-out hits from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Connor Wong. Despite having runners on the corners and two outs to work with, Enrique Hernandez and Devers both fell short against Berrios.

A scary moment arose in the bottom of the third. With two outs and a runner on second, Trevor Story was hit in the head by a 93 mph sinker from Berrios. The ball fortunately deflected off of Story’s helmet and the second baseman was able to remain in the game.

Story getting beaned came moments after Martinez led the inning off with a double but came up gimpy at second base. The 34-year-old slugger was pinch-ran for by Christian Arroyo and was later diagnosed with left adductor tightness. He is day-to-day.

Even with Arroyo and Story on base, Bobby Dalbec flew out to extinguish the threat in the third. In the fifth, Xander Bogaerts doubled with one out but was left stranded at third. In the sixth, Dalbec drew a leadoff walk and later advanced to second, but — like Bogaerts — was deserted there.

Arroyo and Bogaerts each singled off Blue Jays reliever with one out in the seventh and moved up an additional 90 feet on a Verdugo groundout. Alas, they too were unable to score from there and Bogaerts would turn out to be the last Red Sox hitter to reach base.

At the end of the day, Boston went a dismal 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base as a team.

Next up: Gausman vs. Houck in rubber match

The winner of this three-game series will be determined on Thursday afternoon. The Red Sox will be rolling with right-hander Tanner Houck and the Blue Jays will be turning to fellow righty Kevin Gausman.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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