Red Sox righty Nathan Eovaldi bounces back to form in return from IL

Red Sox righty Nathan Eovaldi returned from the IL against Tampa

With two weeks left in the season, the Boston Red Sox activated Nathan Eovaldi from the Injured List and he made his return to the mound tonight. I was sure that Boston should’ve brought the fireballer back considering his injury history with the new wrinkle of the calf strain from this year. If the team was in contention for a playoff spot, then absolutely, but they’ve been on the outside looking in since the first weekend of the season.

Nevertheless, Eovaldi made his way back to the starting rotation and had himself one hell of a return to form. For the first part of the season he’d been pretty locked in but before his stint on the IL, there was a bit of a sputter on the mound. Boston’s fireballer did his due diligence as far as rest and rehab is concerned and is now able to finish what he started at the beginning of the campaign.

Of course in his first start back in the rotation, he had to battle the white-hot first-place Tampa Bay Rays. The opposition didn’t waste any time at all in reminding Eovaldi why they’re at the top of the food chain in the AL East as Austin Meadows sent a 100mph fastball out of the park without flinching. The good news for the Red Sox though is that Nasty Nate would settle down right after that homer and cruised for the rest of his start.

He didn’t go deep into the game which was logical and probably the best plan by Red Sox skipper Ron Roenicke. There’s no need to stretch the righty late into games and risk possibly reinjuring the calf or even worse. We’re in full tank mode and just trying to make it to the end of the season with as few casualties as possible. Eovaldi tossed a solid 3.0IP/3H/1R/4K/1BB line and didn’t show any signs of weakness beyond that homer, and even that was a great pitch.

Going into this season Eovaldi was slated to be the fourth man in the rotation, which is the perfect spot for him. Considering his injury history and occasional lack of control, he shouldn’t go beyond the third slot in the rotation. Obviously, with the health issues surrounding Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez, the plan changed. Toss in the trade of a former Cy Young winner and Nate found himself as the top man in the staff.

Hopefully next year we’ll see both Sale and Rodriguez return to the rotation and this will allow Eovaldi to be in a spot that more suits his abilities. We all know what Nate is capable of but at this point in his career, he just isn’t the ace of a staff and likely won’t be. However, he could be a killer coming in as the swingman to either flip the rotation to the back half or even back to Sale at the top.

Tonight was a good showing from Eovaldi and something that can not only build his confidence but the confidence of Red Sox Nation. With some serious reinforcements coming in 2021, we need his morale as high as possible. The numbers may not always be the prettiest but if he’s believing in his stuff and is ready to rock every fifth day, then that’s big for Boston. I was impressed with what he showed tonight and despite it leading to a homerun, seeing him hit triple digits on the black was damn reassuring.

I think by this point we’ve all pretty much flipped our calendars to next March. This season was already going to be an uphill battle but it didn’t take long for that hill to become Mt. Everest. Getting Eovaldi back for a few starts can allow the Red Sox to evaluate where he’s at in order to decide their plan of attack for the offseason. Whether it be through trades or free agency, Boston needs pitching, it’s just a matter of the level of starter they want to target. Either way, having Nasty Nate throwing gas every five days is something that we can look forward to in 2021.