Boston Red Sox: Nick Pivetta’s no-hit bid outshined by Ray of bad luck

Jun 24, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta (37) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta (37) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

Did someone say something about sticky stuff?  Well, the only thing sticking for Boston Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta Thursday night at Tropicana Field was an array of masterful pitches over the plate as he nearly no-hit the Tampa Bay Rays.

A night after Garrett Richards imploded on the mound, Pivetta bounced back for the Sox to pitch an absolute gem, holding the Rays to no hits through 6 2/3 innings.

Unfortunately, the Sox offense decided to take a night off as the team ended up losing the game 1-0 on a walk-off wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth.  Would have the game gone differently if Pivetta wasn’t lifted during his no-hitter?

Well, there is always second-guessing in the game of baseball when the final results are known, but at the time Red Sox manager Alex Cora lifted Pivetta in favor of reliever Josh Taylor, he felt the decision for a “no-brainer” as Pivetta reached 100 pitches.

Obviously, Pivetta didn’t want to come out with a chance to complete a no-hitter.

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"“I did not want to come out,” Pivetta said following the game, via  “But it’s not about me.  It’s about winning baseball games and that’s what’s most important.  The matchups worked out really well with JT, who has been doing a great job with those lefties all series.”"

With the loss, the Red Sox fell ½ behind the Rays for first place in the American League East, but the silver lining of the game was how the 28-year-old righty proved he didn’t need any substances to prove his success on the mound.

He had his curveball working in an eight-strikeout performance that not only showcased his control, but his confidence.  A confidence he has been displaying for the majority of the season.

Boston Red Sox web gem: Hunter Renfroe keeps no-hit bid alive

Along with complete control and confidence on the mound, it takes a bit of good luck and great defense for any pitcher to complete a no-hitter.

Well, in the fifth inning of the game, Red Sox outfielder Hunter Renfroe showcased his defensive ability with this web gem that ended Ji-Man Choi’s bid to put an end to the no-hitter:

The play not only kept the game tied at 0-0 at the time but had Nick Pivetta pumped.  After the game he nothing but praise for his outfielder.  He was very grateful for the defensive help after making one of his few mistakes on the night.

"“I’m just really grateful for having him out there, he does a tremendous job,” Pivetta said of Renfroe.  “He’s done a tremendous job all year for us.  He’s out there every night, putting great Abs together, it’s just what he does, and he deserved every bit of it.  I had all the utmost confidence in him making that play.  I thought the ball might have gone out, but I’ve never pitched here before, so I was really unsure.  I was just really excited.  It’s exciting baseball, divisional, no matter what it’s just fun, fans, you know, just excited.”"

With the no-hitter still alive at the time, it was one of those defensive plays that typically carries a pitcher to completing the feat.

Boston Red Sox lose on a walk-off wild pitch. What!?!

Well, with all the control Nick Pivetta showcased on the mound throughout the night, it was ironic that the Boston Red Sox lost the game due to a lack of pitch control.

With closer Matt Barnes on the mound in the bottom of the ninth, Rays catcher Francisco Mejia swung and missed on a curveball that got pasted Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez.  The wild pitch brought home Manuel Margot with the winning run.

To call it a bizarre ending would be an understatement.  As luck has it for the Red Sox, one of their most reliable pitchers and a great defensive catcher like Vazquez were the two involved.

"“Yeah, I was trying to keep it in front of me, but it bounced hard off my chest, and it was a tough one,” Vazquez said following the game."

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While there is no telling how the game would’ve gone if that miscue didn’t happen, it is safe to say Thursday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Rays will be a memorable loss as the season continues to move forward.  With the resiliency the team has showed all season, it will probably not break them, but in a tight race, it may end up coming down to that one play.