Sports Q

Sports Q: Should Alex Cora have left Nick Pivetta in?

The Red Sox ended up losing the game, 1-0, in the ninth inning.

Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta, second from right, is taken out of the game by manager Alex Cora, second from left, against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning on Thursday. Chris O'Meara / AP

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Topic of the day, it seems, so what’s your take? Did Alex Cora do the right thing in taking out Nick Pivetta while he had a no-hitter going? – Chris W.

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He did. It stinks, because we’d all love to see a no-hitter — the Red Sox haven’t had one since Jon Lester’s in May 2008. But it was the right thing to do.

Peter Abraham hit all the key points in his On Baseball column this morning. I just sat there nodding in agreement while reading it. When Cora removed him with two outs in the seventh inning and the Rays still seeking their first hit, Pivetta had thrown 100 pitches, the most he’d thrown in a game in more than two seasons. There was a runner on second base in a scoreless game, with first place at stake. And lefty Josh Taylor, who has arguably been the Red Sox’ most reliable reliever the past two months, was ready to come in and face a couple of lefty hitters.

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The Red Sox ended up losing the game, 1-0, in the ninth inning, a frustrating defeat that knocked them out of first place. But Cora’s decision in the moment was the correct one.

The Red Sox also can’t risk Pivetta’s health. The state of their starting pitching right now is … not great. Eduardo Rodriguez has a 6.07 ERA. Garrett Richards is mourning the loss of Spider Tack. Martin Perez is Martin Perez. Pivetta walks too many batters, but as the Rays were reminded Thursday night, he’s very tough to hit, allowing just 7.1 hits per nine innings this season.

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Cora made the right baseball move in lifting Pivetta for Taylor in that situation. And risking Pivetta’s health for a personal milestone would have been foolish. Johan Santana is the ultimate cautionary tale in this sense. The Mets left him out to throw 134 pitches in the first no-hitter in franchise history on June 1, 2012. He was never the same afterward, making just 10 more appearances in his career, with an 8.27 ERA.

It’s too bad Pivetta didn’t get a chance at the no-no. But his manager did the right thing.

What does everyone else think? Should Cora have left Pivetta in? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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