Nick Pivetta subtly criticized the Phillies after his success in Boston.
No love lost?
In his most recent start on Thursday night, Pivetta no-hit the Tampa Bay Rays for 6 2/3 innings, only allowing two walks, and striking out eight. The last Red Sox pitcher to complete six or more hitless innings was Martín Pérez on September 3, 2020.
During his time in Philly, Pivetta had eight scoreless starts between 2017-2019 but allowed at least two hits in each. Overall, his time in Philadelphia ended with a 5.50 ERA, 4.64 FIP, and 421 strikeouts over 396 1/3 innings between 2017-2020. So far in Boston, he has a 3.76 ERA, 3.89 FIP, and 107 strikeouts over 91 innings between 2020-2021.
While it’s difficult to compare two vastly different sample sizes, Pivetta has certainly experienced a ‘glow-up’ in Boston, while the Phillies definitely lost the trade and aren’t even able to win a game when Aaron Nola ties an MLB strikeout record.
During Saturday’s game at Fenway, Pivetta was mic’d up, and offered some insight into the stark contrast between his time in Philly and now in Boston:
"“I think what it is is that these guys know how to win.”"
Ouch. But also… true.
"“The biggest difference is I learned how to be a part of a baseball club that has an understanding of how to win.”"
So, Pivetta just called the Phillies losers. Which, technically, is accurate, especially compared to the Red Sox.
The Phillies’ franchise success pales in comparison to the Red Sox’.
The American League is a couple of decades younger than the National League, but the NL Phillies and AL Sox are two of the oldest franchises in MLB.
However, their franchise histories are vastly different. Even with the 86-year “Curse of the Bambino” that mired Boston in a championship drought between 1918-2004, the Sox have experienced far more postseason success than the Phillies, who are now considered the oldest continuous franchise (same city, same name).
Since their inception in 1883, the Phillies have won 11 division titles, seven pennants, and two World Series championships. But their first championship came nearly a century after the team was born, they were the last of the original sixteen franchises to win their first World Series, and the last to win two. Though they won five consecutive division titles between 2007-2011, they have not been back to October since.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox won the first-ever World Series in 1903, and four more by 1918. Since reversing the curse in 2004, they have won four total in fifteen years. Only the Cardinals and Yankees franchises have more titles.
The Sox have also won 14 pennants, 10 division titles, and secured seven Wild Card berths to the Phillies’ zero. Meanwhile, the first year the Phillies won the pennant in 1915, they lost the World Series to… the Red Sox.
Needless to say, Phillies fans and rival fanbases had a field day.
Are the Phillies losers?
If you judge ballclubs solely based on October, many of the greatest teams in MLB history would be losers. Ted Williams would be a loser. Jim Bunning would be a loser. The 2001 Mariners would be losers, and they literally won 116 games (tying the MLB regular-season record).
On the other hand, a winning culture makes a difference. Knowing how good it feels to reach the apex of your sport, to be the best, to revel in glory; once you’ve tasted it, you want more. And having teammates who know how to win can make a huge difference. It’s why teams want to acquire players with postseason experience, to cultivate that culture.
On the other other hand, the absence of winning can generate a hunger for it. How else can you explain the 1980 Phillies or the 2004 Red Sox doing something that hadn’t been done in their franchise in over 80 years each?
Ultimately, the Red Sox and Phillies’ franchise records, especially over the last two decades, speak volumes. So, while Pivetta’s comments certainly weren’t an outright jab at his former team, the subtext is clearer than bottled water. He thinks the Red Sox have a winning culture, and that the Phillies don’t.