On Saturday, the Boston Red Sox placed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi on the injured list with a “loose body” in his right elbow. Eovaldi is visiting Dr. Scott Ahmad in New York to determine if surgery will be needed.
This is a pretty big blow to the Sox rotation. Eovaldi was a key piece to Boston’s success down the stretch in 2018. If Eovaldi needs to get the surgery on his arm, he will be out for about two months. Not good considering the Red Sox have very little starting pitching depth.
I know that Eovaldi is not considered an “ace”, but having that type of pitcher slotted against other teams’ 4th or 5th starter gave Boston a major edge. Now they will have to replace him with Hector Velasquez (most likely).
Yes, Velasquez has been good to start 2019, but there is a very small sample size of him actually starting MLB games (50 2/3 innings). In that sample, Velasquez has posted a 4.09 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. That is not something Red Sox fans should be willing to bank on every fifth day. It is not bad by any means, but there is a reason Velasquez is not a part of the major league rotation.
Velasquez can be hit easily. He does not have Chris Sale’s wipeout slider. He doesn’t have Rick Porcello’s sinker. Nor does Velasquez have Eovaldi’s 99 mile per hour fastball. Still, Velasquez is the best option.
After Velasquez, the Red Sox have very few options to fill Eovaldi’s spot. Brian Johnson is on the IL. Erasmo Ramirez showed why he was signed to a minors deal in the first place against the Yankee last week. Pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez has to work on his control down in Portland before he’s ready.
The lack of depth for the starting rotation has reared its ugly head with Eovaldi’s elbow issue popping up. A strength of this Red Sox team has now become a potential issue, especially if another starter goes down.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)