Red Sox need to shut down Nathan Eovaldi despite wanting another start

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 09: Nathan Eovaldi #17 pitches in an intrasquad game during Summer Workouts at Fenway Park on July 09, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - JULY 09: Nathan Eovaldi #17 pitches in an intrasquad game during Summer Workouts at Fenway Park on July 09, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Red Sox righty Nathan Eovaldi shuts down Marlins

In his second start since returning from the Injured List, Red Sox fireballer Nathan Eovaldi looked stellar against the playoff-bound Miami Marlins. The righty tossed five innings while giving up just two hits and striking out seven. Absolutely stunning stuff from a guy who was supposed to be Boston’s third to possibly the fourth man in the rotation this year.

It was awesome watching him have full control of the strike zone yesterday while hitting 100mph on the radar gun with relative ease. It felt like he could throw whatever he wanted at any time in the count and hit any spot in the zone. Absolute control of his arsenal. Eovaldi expressed his joy with how well he pitched and how strong he’s felt since his return from the IL.

"“I feel like I’m attacking the zone a lot better these last couple outings,” Eovaldi said. “Throwing the ball in, mixing in all my pitches. I’m not just relying on the fastball. I feel like I can throw the fastball in, away, up in the zone, and then I got my offspeed pitches following that.”"

I love seeing the fire from him and his competitive nature has never been in question. When it became clear that the Red Sox weren’t going to see October for the second year in a row, a lot of people probably wouldn’t have been mad if he decided to shut it down with the calf strain, but he didn’t.

However, every time he’s on the mound there’s a voice in the back of my head worrying about him getting hurt. I know there’s that risk with every player on every play of the game, but with him, it feels more inevitable.

Which leads me to my thought process here, I think we shouldn’t see him pitch again in 2020. Hear me out here, I know he’s been pretty good for most of the year but we all know that those good outings will always be followed by the injury bug. Whether or not it chooses to bite him is out of our control but it feels like it’s always lurking and waiting. I’m just thankful that his time on the IL this year wasn’t in regard to his throwing arm and was a mere calf strain.

Again, why I wouldn’t be mad if we didn’t see him again for the remainder of 2020.

Red Sox should shut down Eovaldi ahead of final start

In a recent episode of “The TC and Jerry Podcast” as well as on the broadcast yesterday, former Red Sox infielder and NESN broadcaster Jerry Remy also expressed his desire to see Eovaldi shut down. The long time analyst cited Nate’s long injury history and the fact that this season was lost long ago.

I can’t disagree with him as it doesn’t make much sense to trot him out there for a final start that will mean nothing for either the team or player. Possibly another good start can continue to boost his confidence but at what cost?

Say he makes it through the season unscathed but then in January we find out while he’s tossing that there’s a familiar uncomfortable feeling in his elbow. Or maybe his calf strain didn’t fully heal and he aggravates it but to a worse extent? I know I’m speaking in nothing but hypotheticals, but considering his health history, they feel like very real worries. Boston can’t afford to go another season without a solidified and quality starting rotation, and losing Eovaldi would lead to exactly that.

"“I feel like the curveball’s been really good this year. It’s been one of my most consistent pitches, and the splitter’s the last couple games have been really good for me,” Eovaldi added. So going into the offseason, it’s just going to be — main goal of course is staying healthy, but enjoying the offseason and being ready to go for next year as well.”"

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We don’t know what Chris Sale will look like when he returns or even when that will be. New reports have come out that Eduardo Rodriguez is still working through his Myocarditis and has yet to begin building his strength. Going into the offseason Boston already has massive question marks over the two top dogs, if something happens to Nate in his final start, 2021 will be worse than 2020.

I fully understand his desire to compete even in a lost season. I’ve been a competitive athlete for most of my life, obviously not to this level, but anyone that competes in any aspect never wants to quit. But with how he pitched in his two return starts, why risk having a bad outing in your final start and wrecking all of the positive that you’ve done?

There are just too many “what-ifs,” that have me very cautious with him pitching again in 2020. Especially with it looking like he’s going to be the ace once again at least for the beginning of next year.

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I’m a big fan of Nathan Eovaldi and have enjoyed his time with the Boston Red Sox. I want him to enter the offseason as healthy and mentally strong as possible for next year. To me, with how well he pitched yesterday, that means shutting him down and passing over his final start of 2020. In the end, the risk far outweighs any reward that there is in having him toss a handful of innings in a meaningless game in a lost season.