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Red Sox vs. Pirates lineups: Can Nick Pivetta’s hot March continue?

Yes or no, it’ll be fun to face a new opponent, at least.

Boston Red Sox Spring Training
That’s my fifth starter!
Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Red Sox and Pirates—a new opponent!—face off at 1:05 p.m. afternoon in Fort Myers as Nick Pivetta looks to continue his torrid spring.

Pivetta’s line so far March looks like a nice complete-game: 9 IP, 3 R8 K, 1 BB. Most recently he went four strong against the Rays en route to likely locking down the fifth starter spot. OTM alumnus and antagonist Matthew Kory wrote in his invaluable newsletter, Sox Outsider, about Pivetta, and how the problem was never his stuff:

His fastball velocity has always been around the 75th percentile for starting pitchers, and the spin rate on his curveball (meaning, effectively, how hard it breaks) has always been elite, better than more than 90 percent of the other starters in baseball. The problem has always been just about everything else. His ERA in almost 400 innings with the Phillies was 5.50, 27 percent below league average. The excellent velo and spin haven’t translated into success on the mound.

Until now, that is, which led Kory on a treasure hunt:

Sometimes he kinda leans back when he throws ever so slightly, sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes he turns his back to the batter ever so slightly, and sometimes he doesn’t. Sometimes his motion causes him to fall off to the left after releasing the pitch, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes his lift leg crosses back over the rubber, and sometimes it doesn’t. You would think this would make it easy to figure out what he was doing differently, except all of the above are true for his time with the Phillies and his limited time with the Red Sox.

Frankly, I don’t care what he’s doing as long as he keeps doing it! That goes for Kory too, even if sometimes “it” is “roasting me.” LOL. To finish up on Pivetta, he’ll be followed by Adam Ottavino, Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor and Austin Brice.

Unsurprisingly, as we look toward the season the lineup is becoming more and more chalky, and I don’t have much to say except I’m happy to see a new opponent get folded into the mix, especially when that opponent has Ke’Bryan Hayes, probably the best third base prospect in the majors, and certainly the best with my first name sandwiched inside of it. That he’s followed by another Bryan in the lineup today is just the cherry on top. It’ll suck when he’s on the Yankees in six years, but we’ll have plenty of fun before then.

Enjoy your Sunday. Go Sox!

Pirates lineup

1. Adam Frazier, 2B

2. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B

3. Bryan Reynolds, LF

4. Gregory Polanco, RF

5. Todd Frazier, 1B

6. Cole Tucker, SS

7. Jacob Stallings, C

8. Brian Goodwin, CF

9. Wilmer Difo, DH

SP: Will Crowe, RHP

Red Sox lineup

1. Enrique Hernández, 2B

2. Alex Verdugo, CF

3. J.D. Martinez, LF

4. Xander Bogaerts, SS

5. Rafael Devers, 3B

6. Hunter Renfroe, DH

7. Marwin Gonzalez, RF

8. Kevin Plawecki, C

9. Michael Chavis, 1B

SP: Nick Pivetta, RHP