Red Sox: Nathan Eovaldi is finally having his career year

Sep 8, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 8, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (17) throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 4
Next
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi
FORT MYERS, FLORIDA – MARCH 14: Nathan Eovaldi #17 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at Hammond Stadium on March 14, 2021 in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Red Sox acquire Nathan Eovaldi

That performance definitely caught the attention of the Red Sox. The week before the 2018 trade deadline, Boston sent Jalen Beeks to Tampa Bay in exchange for Eovaldi. With the 2018 Red Sox, Eovaldi had one of the best runs of his career, posting a 3.33 ERA in 12 games, striking out 48 batters in 54 innings.

Eovaldi was excellent in the postseason — he shut down the Yankees over 7 innings in the Brock Holt game, pitched 6 innings of 2-run ball against the Houston Astros in Game Three of the ALCS, and helped close the door on Game Five, throwing 1.1 innings out of the bullpen.

If all of that wasn’t enough, Eovaldi went above and beyond, establishing himself in Red Sox lore with a gutsy performance in Game Three of the 2018 World Series against the Dodgers. Though he became the losing pitcher in the longest World Series game ever recorded, Eovaldi gutted through 6 innings of relief (the first reliever to do so in a World Series game since 1977) and throwing 97 pitches (the most ever thrown by a reliever in a World Series game).

After the Red Sox and Chris Sale shut the door on the Dodgers in Game 5, Eovaldi became a free agent, but it was obvious the Red Sox had a lot of interest in locking him up for the long run, and that’s exactly what they did to the tune of $68 million over 4 years. It was an obvious move to make, and it was certainly deserved — though some were concerned due his injury history and inconsistent numbers. 2019 was to be Eovaldi’s age-29 season, and the Red Sox were counting on Eovaldi to be a top-of-the-line starter, along with veterans Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Rick Porcello.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t mean to be. Eovaldi struggled right out of the gate, posting a 6.00 ERA with four no decisions in his first four starts. It wasn’t long before another “loose body” was found in his pitching elbow and he missed the next two-and-a-half months after undergoing surgery. Eovaldi scuffled upon his return, first in a closer role, giving up 5 earned runs in 3.2 innings.

The Red Sox opted to move Brandon Workman to the closer role, shifting Eovaldi back into the rotation. He went on to finish with a 5.99 ERA in 23 games (12 starts), but his strikeout numbers were encouraging (70 in 67.2 innings).