Coming into Monday night, Nick Pivetta had struggled through three tough outings in a row, allowing 13 earned runs in just 14 innings of work. On Monday he turned things around completely when he struck out a career-high 13 St. Louis Cardinals Monday night.
The key for Pivetta was a curve ball that broke well down and away from right-handed hitters leaving them flailing wildly at the pitch. The only blemishes through 7 1/3 innings of work were solo home runs to Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina. Pivetta’s previous high was 11 strikeouts in a game at San Diego last August 16th, which he repeated in a game in Baltimore last month.
Manager Gabe Kapler stuck with Pivetta as long as he possibly could. Both Edubray Ramos and Adam Morgan were ready to come into the game with one out and a runner on first in the eighth inning, but Kapler stuck with Pivetta – who was at 106 pitches – to pitch to Carpenter. The result was a double off the right field wall that bounded back off the nose of Nick Williams and left runners on second and third. Williams left the game and Kapler brought Ramos in to take over on the mound. Ramos struck out both Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez to work out of the jam.
Pivetta has had an up and down season at times putting together strong outings including throwing seven shutout innings against Atlanta last month. In his start prior to that, Pivetta notched 11 strikeouts and just one earned run allowed against Baltimore. Through his first five starts, Pivetta had a 2.79 ERA and through his first 10 starts posted a 3.00 ERA.
Unfortunately for Pivetta, the bullpen stumbled again in the ninth inning and he took a no decision.