Boston Red Sox

Jun 24, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta (37) leaves the game during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Pivetta came within seven outs of a no-hitter on Thursday night. But with the righty at 100 pitches, Red Sox Manager Alex Cora decided it was best to pull him, leaving him stuck at zero hits through 6.2.

In fact, Cora felt his decision was as easy as it gets. And he had extremely high praise for Sox reliever Josh Taylor.

“[The decision] wasn’t tough,” Cora said after the game. “It’s a 0-0 game. We have one of the best lefties in the game, probably the best lefty throwing the ball in the game. It was a no-brainer.”

Taylor has indeed been red-hot in the Red Sox bullpen. He extended his scoreless streak to 22 appearances (17.1 innings) without allowing a run after he induced a flyball out from left-handed third baseman Joey Wendle. Taylor last allowed a run on April 24, lowering his ERA from 9.72 to 3.16 over the course of the streak.

Pivetta, of course, didn’t want to be removed mid-no-hitter. But he stood by his manager’s decision.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the game, it’s about winning baseball games, and that’s what’s most important,” Pivetta said. “The matchups worked really well. J.T. [Taylor] has been doing a good job all series with those lefties and that’s really important. It was a tie ballgame at the time, it’s 100 pitches. Right now it’s about winning baseball games, and that’s what I support.”

It was deflating to see Pivetta depart with a chance to get a no-no, especially with just one out to go in the seventh inning after the runner only reached because of an error. One hundred pitches is obviously a popular line of demarcation to remove pitchers from starts, but could Pivetta have gotten a handful of quick outs and closed the deal around 120?

We’ll never know. But the important thing is that the Red Sox gave up the losing run in the end on a wild pitch by Matt Barnes. It’s easy to second-guess Cora’s decision after the fact, but the Red Sox can’t afford to put wins at too much risk. They should try for wins more than no-hitters.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.