Nick Pivetta proving to be a curious case study for Phillies

When it’s come to the Phillies rebuild, not many things have been as clear as the organization would have liked.

Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams look to be solid big leaguers, the same goes for more established players in Odubel Herrera and Freddy Galvis. In regards to the pitching prospects, it’s been anyone’s guess as consistency issues have really puzzled the picture.

Yet, no one may be leaving more confusion in the organization than Nick Pivetta.

At this point, Pivetta has had more ups-and-downs than probably any of the Phillies up-and-comers. His start on Saturday, which saw him yanked in the third inning after a five-run first, didn’t make things clearer in his regard.

Through 16 starts, the 24-year-old sits at 4-7 with a 5.89 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. None of those numbers are inspiring, but when looking at his start-by-start lines, there’s a different takeaway.

His first outing back on April 30 saw him go five innings, scattering two runs on nine hits. It was a solid debut that also netted him five strikeouts to just one walk. His next two starts, though, equated to four earned runs apiece with four homers allowed in those outings.

The trend continued over his next few appearances with his ERA peaking to 5.52 in mid-June. His next two starts, however, were different stories as he went seven scoreless of four-hit ball on June 15, striking out nine along the way. He followed that up with a 10 K performance over six innings.

It’s been a frustratingly up-and-down campaign for Pivetta in which he’s looked completely dominant at times – evidenced by his alarmingly high strikeout-to-walk ratio in a few of his outings – and other times seeming unprepared, getting beaten early in games.

Following his eight-run start against the Rockies, manager Pete Mackanin offered praise, believing he can work past these hiccups because of the potential he possesses, adding that he has “a good arm and stuff.”

With about two months to go before the season concludes, it’s imperative for Pivetta to start settling in and getting over the speed bumps he’s hit thus far. The “stuff” that Mackanin mentioned is definitely there. Listen to any broadcast during a Pivetta start and you’ll hear nothing but good comments about his fast ball and off-speed pitches.

It’s a matter of location and preparation for Pivetta, but if and when he ever gets that down, there’s reason to believe he can be a key arm for this staff moving forward.

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