By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Heading into the season, most of the worries about the 2021 Boston Red Sox centered on the team’s pitching. There were some serious questions whether or not the team had enough in both the rotation and the bullpen.READ MORE: Bruins Beat Rangers 4-0 For 5th Victory In 6 Games
Those worries appear to have been a bit overblown after 25 games. Believe it or not, it’s safe to feel confident in just about anyone that takes the mound for Boston.
After Nick Pivetta and the Boston bullpen outdueled Mets ace Jacob deGrom for a 1-0 victory on Wednesday night, the team ranks third in the AL and ninth in baseball with a 3.66 ERA. It’s the second time in as many nights that the Red Sox received a masterful pitching performance, sweeping the two-game set in New York.
Pivetta followed up Garrett Richards’ stellar turn in the rotation with a solid outing of his own, holding the Mets to just one hit over his five innings of work. He allowed just five baserunners, fanning seven while issuing three walks. He improved to 3-0 on the year with a 2.81 ERA, an ERA that is tops among Boston starters this season.
deGrom was better than Pivetta on Wednesday, punching out nine over his six innings. Boston touched him for just one run — an RBI double by Christian Vazquez in the second inning. But Pivetta and the Sox bullpen put up goose eggs against the struggling Mets offense, besting one of the best pitchers in the game.
After Pivetta was done, rookie phenom Garrett Whitlock took over for the sixth inning. New York got to him for an infield single and a walk in his first inning, but Whitlock got out of the jam by getting Dominic Smith to ground out harmlessly. After punching out two in his first inning, Whitlock struck out two more in a 1-2-3 seventh inning. The man the Red Sox essentially stole from the Yankees for nothing has not allowed a run in his 13.1 innings, punching out 18 batters along the way. He’s been throwing some absolute BBs for the Sox.
In the eighth, it was Adam Ottavino who threw up some zeros. He needed just 11 pitches to set the Mets down 1-2-3, receiving a big assist from second baseman Marwin Gonzalez and his amazing leaping grab on a line drive by Francisco Lindor.READ MORE: Cordero Snaps Slump, Red Sox Hold On To Beat Tigers 12-9
Snow cone, anyone? pic.twitter.com/oKHvvxuWFP
— Red Sox (@RedSox) April 29, 2021
Then it was up to Matt Barnes to slam the door in the ninth, and he did just that by striking out the side. Barnes put both Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis down on three pitches, getting each of them swinging at filthy curveballs that made the duo look like amateurs. He finished things off by getting Dominic Smith swinging on six pitches — retiring him on a knuckle curve — for his sixth save of the season. It was Barnes’ third straight hitless ninth and his tenth overall this season. (With a scoreless 10th inning also on his docket.)
The Boston bullpen owns a sparkling 3.07 ERA for the season. Red Sox relievers have punched out 110 batters in 93.2 innings and own a 1.21 WHIP.
The Red Sox are in first place, 16-9 on the season, and it no longer feels like a fluke. There is a feeling of comfort when Boston has a lead late in games, confidence that whoever Alex Cora trots out there will get the job done.MORE NEWS: Hurley: The NHL Has Embarrassed Itself With Rangers, Tom Wilson Situation
“We have a great bunch and we trust each other,” Cora said Tuesday night. “We’ve been saying it all along. We feel we have good baseball team. Obviously we still have to get better, but it feels great to win these two games like that, there’s something about close games and well-pitched games, I don’t want to say they get us going, because we’ve been playing good baseball for a while, but it’s a good feeling.”