It couldn’t have gone any better yesterday.
Pitching in his debut for the Boston Red Sox, Nathan Eovaldi tossed 7 scoreless innings to shut down the Minnesota Twins and help lead the Sox to a 3-0 victory.
Watching Eovaldi on Sunday was impressive. He went the 7 frames throwing only 82 pitches, striking out 5 and walking not a single batter.
Yes, Boston was playing the Twins, who are 8 games under .500, but they are still a major league ball club with plenty of talented players. Eovaldi knows that first hand.
One of his final starts with the Tampa Bay Rays before coming to Beantown was against these same Twins. Instead of going 7 shutout innings, Eovaldi got shelled. He gave up 8 runs in 2 and 2/3 innings. Night and day difference for the right hander, who seemed in control the whole game on Sunday. He was locating his pitches and reinforced the idea that he was a great fit in Boston.
The biggest takeaway from this start is that Eovaldi now seems poised to take hold of a spot in the starting rotation.
No one was sure what the Sox plan was for Eovaldi when he got here. Just depth? Is he headed to the bullpen? Rotation? Now we have our answer. It was easy to figure that Boston was going to give him at LEAST one start with the team, but with his dominance Sunday and Drew Pomeranz’s availability in the bullpen on Saturday, the former Ray seems to have already passed the tall lefty on the depth chart. Still, this is only the regular season. With the Sox being 41 games over .500, they have bigger aspirations than beating the Twins on a get away day: and that is to win in the playoffs
Should we trust Eovaldi to make a playoff start after this one outing? No but his performance was still encouraging. He may not even end up in the postseason rotation either.
It is figured that Boston will carry only four starters in the playoffs, and that could potentially push Eovaldi / Pomeranz to the bullpen or even off the playoff roster.
Eovaldi’s postseason position has not been determined as of yet. It is mostly dependent on health (Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright) and what manager Alex Cora decides to do with David Price.
Whatever happens with Eovaldi, the hope is that he can keep rolling after this one start and help the Red Sox make a deep playoff push, instead of three-peating a first round exit.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)