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Pivetta’s fastball averaged 94.9 mph against the Red Sox and maxed out at 97.8. But it’s the development of his slider and curveball that will dictate whether he sticks in the rotation or becomes a bullpen piece long-term. Pivetta threw some tight sliders in Boston but will need to show consistency with that pitch.
The Philadelphia Phillies will host the St. Louis Cardinals as the clubs open a three game series Tuesday night from Citizens Bank Park. The Cardinals will give the call to 29-year old right-hander Mike Leake, and the Phillies will give the nod to 30-year old right-hander Jeremy Hellickson. The Cardinals swept the Phillies at Busch Stadium earlier this month.
At the very least, hopefully, last week showed Pivetta that his fastball has enough life that he doesn’t have to nibble with it on the first pitch. There are a lot of hitters he’ll be able to throw it past. Entering his last start, Pivetta had the lowest first-pitch strike rate in the National League.
Martinez has turned around his season since the calendar reached May, posting 6-2 mark in his last nine outings. The 25-year-old Dominican has posted back-to-back gems, striking out 11 and scattering four hits in a 7-0 romp over Philadelphia on June 10 before allowing one run in six innings in an 11-2 rout at Baltimore. “He’s just in a nice place right now, making good pitches,” manager Mike Matheny told reporters of Martinez, who has recorded a least eight strikeouts in each of his last five outings and allowed exactly four hits in each of his last four.