Red Sox righty Nathan Eovaldi heads to the IL
In what has become one of the most miserable seasons in recent Red Sox history, the team took another hit today. Earlier this afternoon, Boston announced that Nathan Eovaldi will be making his way to the 10-day Injured List due to a right calf strain. This isn’t much of a surprise to the Fenway Faithful as it seems like Eovaldi has become very familiar with the IL over his career and Boston tenure, but it hurts a little more this year.
Per Chris Cotillo of Masslive.com, the time in the IL will be retroactive to Tuesday and Eovaldi has the potential to start again next Saturday. If you’ve been following the righty since his last start in Baltimore (7.0/5H/1R/1BB/6K), we’ve been hearing about the right calf. The training staff has been working with Eovaldi to work through the stiffness until an MRI showed that he actually had a strain.
After having a start against Toronto scratched and then his schedules start tomorrow also postponed, it was clear that this was more than just some tightness. Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke spoke about Eovaldi’s status and the plan going forward for the right-hander.
"“There’s a very mild strain,” Roenicke said. “We feel like, to do it right, we want him to throw two bullpens before he pitches. He’ll be eligible Saturday.”"
As of today, it’s clear that the Red Sox want him back on the mound as soon as he technically can be once the IL trip is over with. This injury comes at the worst time possible for Boston as their pitching staff, especially the starting rotation, is paper-thin at the moment. Losing Chris Sale and E-Rod to season-ending medical cases, David Price to trade, and Rick Porcello to free agency have ravaged the Red Sox rotation.
It’s been Eovaldi and lefty Martin Perez carrying the entire load of the starting rotation on their backs for 2020, and it looks like they’re starting to crack. Last night Perez was absolutely crushed by the Washington offense and didn’t make it past the fourth inning. Now with Eovaldi out of the loop for ten days, it’s going to be an incredibly long week for Boston.
"“We’ve been kind of chasing this thing around with the calf,” Roenicke said. “Yesterday’s bullpen was definitely the best we’ve had. I kind of felt like it was going to be a while anyway, being able to back-date it and have a plan for him, we feel really good about him being ready on Saturday.”"
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As I said above, when the news came out today it didn’t take members of Red Sox Nation by surprise. Up until now, it’s been Nate’s throwing arm that has earned him trips to the IL, but now that the push-off leg is acting up, that’s worrisome. Considering Eovaldi can regularly and comfortably hit 100mph on the radar, that right leg needs to be at full strength. If he loses that then the ability to hit the top of the velocity charts is going to start going away.
We’re now in the second half of the 2020 season and at this point, the Red Sox won’t even be able to watch the postseason on TV, let alone participate. From the get-go this year has been an uphill battle for Boston and now it’s not going to get any easier. Losing one of their only competent starters with a hair under half of a season left isn’t a good time for anyone. It’s already been hard enough as a fan to watch some of these pitchers, but losing one of the two that have been a joy to see weekly is tough.
Nathan Eovaldi can make his way back next weekend and has a chance to finish the campaign strongly. If the calf is able to heal up and his bullpen sessions this week go well, then I expect him to be right back on the bump on Saturday as planned. The rest of this season is most likely going to be an audition for the 2021 Red Sox roster, and Eovaldi still needs to earn his spot. With a strong final handful of starts under his belt, he could remain towards the top of the rotation for next year.