After an abysmal start to the season, Nick Pivetta has been optioned to Lehigh Valley. It is assumed that Jerad Eickhoff – who went four scoreless innings while striking out six in relief last night – will be picking up his starts. The team could also turn to Ranger Suarez, Drew Anderson or Enyel De Los Santos for starts down the road- the latter of which has struck out 10 and 9 respectively in his first two AAA starts while allowing one run.
Pivetta’s struggles are disappointing given how many baseball writers – myself included – picked him for a breakout campaign. He has always sported a high K rate and it was assumed that he would put together a solid third pitch and take off this year.
So far, the opposite has happened. Pivetta has been lit up this season, allowing 5 home runs and 31 hits in four starts spanning 18.1 innings. While he did only allow 3 runs through five yesterday, he still allowed seven hits and only struck out two. With the team headed to Coors Field following this series with the Mets, this move seemed necessary.
As much as this sucks for Pivetta, it’s good to keep in mind that Brett Myers was once sent down after an abysmal start. He got it together in AAA and became a key contributor for the 2008 team. Pivetta’s strikeout rate is nothing to sneeze at and that third pitch is gonna get a lot of work in AAA.
Plus, Pivetta can always be turned into a dominant reliever. Jack Fritz of WIP recently compared his numbers to that of Archie Bradley as a starter. Very few pitchers can miss bats like Pivetta can so it is far too early to write him off.
In the interim, however, this feels like the right move. The team is currently in the midst of 17 straight days of games and the bullpen is being overused. If Nola was dominating, they could maybe give Pivetta some more time. As for right now, Nola isn’t going deep into games and nobody else is consistent. It works best for everyone to have Pivetta in AAA.
The team has also selected the contract of infielder Phil Gosselin who will be getting some playing time while Jean Segura nurses an injury. Gosselin last racked up 28 plate appearences with Cincinatti in 2018 and is a utility infielder. It is not expected that Segura’s injury will require an IL stint at this time.
If a corresponding roster move is soon made for a reliever, there are names in AAA. The recently optioned Edubray Ramos as well as Yacksell Rios represent two righties who could be turned to if needed. The team also has lefties Austin Davis – who had his impressive moments last season – and James Pazos. Pazos was of course acquired in the Segura trade and Twitter thought that his stache’ was impeccable. The team could also go to one of their AAA starters out of the pen if they felt the need.
The rubber match of the Phillies-Mets gets underway momentarily on NBCSN.