Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta finally in the right role?

After failing to carve out a role in the Phillies starting rotation, Nick Pivetta may finally be coming into his own in the bullpen.

There was plenty of hope coming into the year that Nick Pivetta could take the next step forward and shore up the Phillies rotation behind Aaron Nola. To put it mildly, that didn’t happen.

In 13 starts, Pivetta had a 5.74 ERA, 7.57 strikeouts per nine innings, 25 walks per nine, and allowed 16 home runs. While you could make the case the last two years that his fielding-independent pitching, indicated he was bound for future success, that wasn’t the case this year. His 5.72 fielding-independent pitching was almost the same as his ERA.

With Pivetta continuing to struggle in the rotation, the team no longer wanted to wait it out and hope he could finally click. He was moved to the bullpen when the team signed Drew Smyly. While Pivetta was not a fan of the move at first, he has taken to the role quite well.

In six relief appearances so far, Pivetta has a 2.31 ERA, 15 strikeouts, and just two walks. His only poor outing came last Tuesday against the Giants when he gave up two solo home runs. Those were the only two home runs he gave up as a reliever and two of just three earned runs he has allowed overall.

Pivetta picked up the first save of his career Saturday night, allowing just one unearned run with four strikeouts over two innings. What made the save even more impressive beyond the length of it was him pitching on back-to-back nights, something the team is wary about with their starters-turned-relievers.

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By being able to pitch multiple nights in a row and multiple innings, Pivetta could fill the role Seranthony Dominguez did last year. While it may not be as glamorous as a top-end starting pitcher, a high-leverage reliever is becoming as crucial for successful teams. Pivetta can become that pitcher and is doing well in that role so far.

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