Red Sox SP Nathan Eovaldi:
Just like McHugh, Eovaldi is also returning from an injury. After a strong second half and postseason in 2018 with Boston, he dealt with loose bodies in his pitching elbow in the following year.
In 2019, Eovaldi started four games in April, compiling an ERA of 6.00, before the Red Sox announced he would undergo surgery on his right elbow. He missed more time than expected (4-6 weeks was original plan), returning midway through July.
The Red Sox planned on using him as the closer, but he allowed 5 earned runs in 3 and 2/3 innings with 0 saves. Brandon Workman was made the closer again and Eovaldi was moved back to the rotation. He finished the 2019 season with a 5.99 ERA in 23 appearances (12 starts).
When Spring Training 1.0 took place, it looked like 2018 Eovaldi was back and fully healthy. He made three starts and went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 8 innings combined. After a strong showing in Fort Myers, he came to Spring Training 2.0 and said he’s, “ready to go”.
Recently, he threw three simulated innings of batting practice to hitters like Jonathan Lucroy and Alex Verdugo. Apparently, his fastball was hitting 99 miles per hour on the radar gun. He received plenty of compliments after his showing. Apparently, his session ended with his teammates cheering for him. Roenicke was also impressed by his stuff.
Nasty Nate is supposed to pitch again, in another simulated game on Thursday. If he continues to pitch at the same pace he currently is meant to go on, he would be in line to start Opening Day against the Orioles. Since Evo is lined up to make the start and has shown that he is capable of being “the ace” to start the season, it looks like the Red Sox have made their decision. Hopefully, he can play this season as well as he played in the 2018 Postseason.
With many unknowns between now and July 24, when the Red Sox first take on the Orioles, who knows if the season will even happen? If the shortened season isn’t postponed further, what if players come down with the virus? Nothing is definite, but right now, it looks like the Red Sox have their guy for Opening Day with Rodriguez sidelined until further notice.
Percent chance: 50%