Nick Pivetta will get the ball to open up the series Friday night, and it’s hard to know how he will fare. He started off August strong with three straight quality starts, allowing just three runs over 18 innings. He then got lit up in his last two starts, allowing 11 runs in 10.1 innings.
August has been a microcosm of Pivetta’s whole season. He started off great with a 3.26 ERA, 2.79 fielding-independent pitching, and 1.09 through May. His numbers have dropped off a cliff since the start of June with a 5.88 ERA, 4.22 ERA, and 1.45 WHIP over his last 15 starts.
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Looking at Pivetta’s numbers this year, home runs have been what has doomed him. His 20 home runs allowed are tied for 12th-most in the National League. Among qualified NL pitcher, his 1.32 home runs allowed per nine innings ranks eighth-worst and 15.4% home run to fly ball ratio ranks sixth-worst.
Pivetta ranks 12th among NL pitchers in fielding-independent pitching and sixth in expected fielding-independent pitching.
They both account for Pivetta’s .337 batting average on balls in play. However, you simply can’t ignore those hits and home runs allowed, and it is an obvious weak spot for Pivetta.
Pivetta can go out and give you a dominant performance where he racks up tons of strikeouts and keeps batters off the basepaths. However, if a team can barrel up Pivetta’s pitches, he will run into trouble. The Cubs have the potential to do that every game they play, which could end up in disaster for Pivetta.