Red Sox: Nathan Eovaldi could emerge as Boston’s #2 starter
By Quinn Allen
If Nathan Eovaldi can replicate what he did in the playoffs last year for the Boston Red Sox, then the 29-year old could emerge as Boston’s number two starter alongside Chris Sale.
In a bullpen with very talented arms, Nathan Eovaldi became a key piece of the Red Sox pitching staff last year, especially in the postseason. He made his spring debut on Wednesday against the Twins, looking extremely sharp. The 29-year old gave up just one hit; a solo homer to Byron Buxton, in three innings pitched.
Eovaldi was absolutely reared up and ready to go in February, therefore the Red Sox did slow him down and push his spring debut back to this week. He picked up right where he left off, striking out Marwin Gonzalez with two 99 mph heaters.
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Even though he was a vital part of their bullpen in last year’s playoffs, Eovaldi is now in the rotation this year. He is at the prime of his career and is enjoying the most success he has had for quite some time in the big leagues. His fastball has gained notable velocity over the last few years and it now makes him the hardest thrower in the rotation, regularly hitting triple digits.
His performance is the Boston’s World Series run in 2018 was a huge reason they even won it all, pitching several times on short rest out of the pen and even making a whole start in extra innings at one point. It didn’t seem to matter how many pitches he threw either, you still saw his fastball reaching the high 90s. He barely looked like he was getting tired.
It might take time to become number two
Eovaldi will obviously have to prove himself every fifth day during the season by putting up quality starts, so being the second part of a 1-2 punch with Chris Sale isn’t going to come right away. He’s in great physical shape and looks extremely healthy, evident by a 99 mph fastball in his first spring training outing. Eovaldi’s command also looked very sharp, throwing first-pitch strikes to the majority of the batters he faced.
This is a rotation that is full of good arms. Being the ace isn’t really a top priority, but if he pitches the way he did last year in the playoffs then he could be a 1-2 punch with Sale at the top of Boston’s rotation.
Even though David Price silenced the doubters last year in the playoffs, he is getting older and I honestly believe Eovaldi has more electric and sharper stuff than him. With someone like Chris Sale alongside, who is arguably the best starting pitcher in the game, it would be quite difficult to become the ace of this staff.
Eovaldi takes extremely good care of his body and you can just tell he is in tremendous shape. Two Tommy John surgeries later, and you now have a guy who has resurrected his career with the Red Sox.
Now, he’s at the cusp of emerging as a top-end starter with this club. I truly believe if he continues to command his three pitches and stay healthy that he will definitely emerge as the go-to guy in this rotation in 2019 behind Chris Sale.
It will be exciting to see how good Nathan Eovaldi is in 2019 for the Red Sox.