As Nick Pivetta took another loss, Garrett Whitlock prepares for surgery

BOSTON — One day after Kutter Crawford made his worst start of the year, Nick Pivetta followed suit.

The Milwaukee Brewers tagged Pivetta for five runs in a 33-pitch third inning Saturday, knocking him out of the game with one out in the fourth, as the Boston Red Sox fell 6-3.

The Brewers’ high-powered offense, which ranks fourth in baseball with 257 runs scored, roughly five runs per game, has proved a challenge for Red Sox pitching over the past two games.

Milwaukee added to its lead atop the National League Central while the Red Sox fell to 9-18 against above-.500 teams.

Pivetta got the first two outs of the third inning, including his 1,000th career strikeout, catching William Contreras swinging. But then everything unraveled. Christian Yelich doubled, Willy Adames walked and then Pivetta gave up three straight singles and a double, plating five runs before finally getting the third out.

“I harped on it last week, the way I’m gonna pitch well is if I don’t walk guys, and I got behind guys and walked guys and I paid for it,” Pivetta said. “Regardless of the contact, getting in those counts and walking guys led to damage, and I wasn’t able to get the job done today.”

After a leadoff walk in the fourth, Pivetta got Contreras to pop up before manager Alex Cora pulled him and turned to Cam Booser for the final two outs of the inning.

Pivetta finished with five runs allowed on seven hits and three walks while striking out three over 3 1/3 innings.

It marked his shortest start since Sept. 2, 2022, and was the first time this season he allowed more than one walk.

The Red Sox offense showed late life after being no-hit through the first six innings. The Brewers used opener Jared Koenig for the second day in a row before turning to righty Colin Rea in the second inning. Rafael Devers finally got to Rea with a leadoff double in the seventh and then scored on a Wilyer Abreu double.

Two batters later, Ceddanne Rafaela hit a run-scoring single to pull the Red Sox within 5-2.

Milwaukee added a solo homer in the eighth, and the Red Sox threatened again in the ninth when Devers led off with a single and scored on another RBI single from Rafaela. But that’s all the Red Sox could muster. Adding insult to injury, Tyler O’Neill exited the game in the eighth with right knee soreness, something he said has been bothering him for a few days that he tried to play through. Cora suggested O’Neill would be out of the lineup Sunday but was hopeful he could return by Monday.

The series against the Brewers marks a stretch in which the Red Sox will face a series of high-powered offenses over the next month, including Baltimore and Atlanta over the next two weeks followed by the Yankees and Phillies in mid-June.

The Red Sox still boast the league’s fourth-best starter ERA at 2.98, but in May, the team’s pitching staff has fallen to the middle of the pack with a 3.88 ERA.

Red Sox pitching has survived a slew of injuries and reshuffling over the first two months and has performed much better than expected despite it. Last week, the team learned starter Garrett Whitlock, who appeared to be nearing a return from the injury list for an oblique strain, would be shut down with ligament damage in his elbow.

GettyImages 2148330724 scaled

Garrett Whitlock’s season is over after going 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA in four starts. (Paul Rutherford / Getty Images)

Whitlock spoke Saturday for the first time since the season-ending diagnosis, revealing that it’s likely he’ll have an internal brace procedure, the same surgery Lucas Giolito had in March. Whitlock has an appointment Wednesday with Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, the doctor who performed his 2019 Tommy John surgery, to confirm the diagnosis and procedure.

Whitlock has dealt with a slew of injuries in recent years and also lost his younger brother suddenly in a tragic accident in the fall but chose to take this news in stride, opting to remain positive despite another professional setback.

“It’s all about how you get back up, how you fight,” Whitlock said. “That’s how I’m viewing this and that’s how I’m attacking this. I’m gonna attack this thing each and every day like I’ve been doing. But this is something that I’m going to come from and be better. I’m going to be stronger, and it’s my job now to be the best teammate I can be to all these guys. And be the best guy I can be to impact people off the field. Just dig even more into my Jimmy Fund work here. Dig even more to helping the communities around Boston. That’s what I can do right now and just really attack rehab in the best way I can.”

Whitlock remained hopeful he’d be back pitching with the team by this time next season.

The Red Sox have endured their fair share of pitching injuries and Cora has forced his team to keep moving forward, knowing there’s no good in dwelling on the misfortune. For the first couple of months, the staff rose to the occasion, but as the schedule gets tougher so, too, will the task be for the pitching staff.

(Photo of Nick Pivetta: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top