Boston Red Sox: 3 players that need to break out of their current slumps

Boston Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec (29) Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec (29) Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Boston Red Sox
Starting pitcher Nick Pivetta #37 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox player who needs to bust his slump No. 2: Nick Pivetta

Nick Pivetta is another example of a guy who was outstanding in the playoffs last season, but has been completely unrecognizeable so far this season. Pivetta has lost four of his first five starts, and has posted an ugly 7.84 ERA over 20.2 innings. Hard to believe he was shutting down the Rays and Astros just a couple of months ago.

Pivetta was expected to be Boston’s second best starter behind Nathan Eovaldi to open the season, and instead he’s been easily their worst starter. Rich Hill and Michael Wacha were huge question marks coming into the season, but both have been solid so far. Heck, Wacha has probably been the Sox best starter to open the season.

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The biggest reason for Pivetta’s struggles early on has been his complete lack of control. Pivetta has had trouble finding the strike zone for pretty much the entire season, and it’s resulted in some fairly short outings. For reference, Pivetta has a 21:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio, so he’s not even striking out two batters for every walk he’s giving up.

The good news for the Sox is that they will have options if Pivetta continues to struggle. The problem is nobody really knows when those options will be available. Alex Cora could conceivably throw Pivetta in the bullpen to let him figure things out while letting both Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock start, but Whitlock doesn’t have the stamina to go five innings yet and Houck’s availability remains a constant question mark.

Further down the line, Cora could bump Pivetta if he continues to struggle in favor of Chris Sale and/or James Paxton. In Pivetta’s case, that gives him time to make some adjustments and get his act together. But if he keeps struggling, he will find himself in the bullpen before he knows it.