Phillies Nick Pivetta
Nick Pivetta has been one of baseball's biggest surprises through the first three weeks, and it's due mostly to an improved curveball.

Through three starts this season he's thrown 71 curves with only two resulting in hits (3%) whereas last year he threw 376 with 28 accounting for hits (7%).

It seems like a small difference, but it's not.

Pivetta's curve was a strike 61-percent of the time when thrown last year. This year it's a strike 69-percent of the time.

He's throwing it more this year and it's a more lively pitch. The enhanced movement is limiting hard contact and inducing more ground balls. For comparison, his curve thrown this year has resulted in a ground ball 77-percent of the time whereas last year the pitch resulted in a ground ball only 49-percent of the time.

These numbers may seem a tad trivial, but it's what we've seem so far through three starts in 2018. The improved curve is a major reason why enters play Tuesday as the Major League leader in FIP at 1.34.

We'll see if he can continue to use the pitch effectively tonight in Atlanta.

Tonight's Lineup
1. Hernandez 4
2. Santana 3
3. Herrera 8
4. Hoskins 7
5. Williams 9
6. Franco 5
7. Knapp 2
8. Pivetta 1
9. Crawford 6
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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