Phillies: Nick Pivetta struggles in first spring training action

It’s the first Phillies spring training game of the year, but not a great start for Nick Pivetta.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi has downplayed the importance of early spring training games, saying that players need the first couple weeks to get themselves into game shape and try out some new things such as mechanics or pitches.

Hopefully, that’s what happened to Nick Pivetta in his first start where he allowed three runs off five hits in less than two innings against Detroit.

The first inning worked out great for Pivetta, who tallied a strikeout, line out, and a groundout.

NBCS Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury laid out what he saw from Pivetta in the first inning.

Opening the second inning, Pivetta gave up two hits and a run to the first two batters C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop. The next two batters singled, the second driving in Schoop, and an infield single two batters later made it 3-0 Detroit.

That’d be the last batter Pivetta would face before Joe Girardi brought out the hook in favor of Cole Irvin.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an accurate pitch tracker to tell how many balls Pivetta threw and he was likely on either a pitch or inning limit. However, being pulled after allowing five hits and three runs in one inning isn’t promising.

Pivetta will get many more opportunities this spring as he competes (primarily) with Vince Velasquez for the fifth starter’s job. Either pitcher might fare better in the bullpen long-term, but they have so much upside, the Phillies want to see them work with new pitching coach Brian Price.

Last year Pivetta was projected to breakout but struggled mightily, earning a demotion not just to the bullpen, but to the minors.

In 17 major league relief appearances, Pivetta had a 4.38 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 14 walks. When starting in 69 innings over 13 starts Pivetta’s ERA jumped to 5.74 averaging nearly four fewer strikeouts per nine innings.

Velasquez, Pivetta’s chief competitor for the final starting job is scheduled to start on Monday against Baltimore.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Phillies did see Nick Williams provide some offense by driving in and scoring runs. He’s unlikely to start the season in Philadelphia and could be auditioning for another team.