Red Sox ALCS: Nathan Eovaldi loves the pressure of pitching in Game 6
Red Sox ace Nathan Eovaldi loves the pressure of Game 6
In a few very short hours, the Red Sox will be standing across the diamond from the Houston Astros in a game that could seal the fate of Boston’s 2021 campaign. A team that had zero business being this deep into the postseason is now two wins away from the World Series. While some hiccups along the way have made this journey far more arduous than it needed to be, Alex Cora has his best arm on the mound tonight and Nathan Eovaldi is ready to get the job done.
As a franchise, the Red Sox are no stranger to the Game 6 in regards to the ALCS. Tonight will be their seventh venture into those very waters and up to this point, they’re 6-0 with a chance to keep that record perfect. It’s no surprise that Eovaldi is getting the ball tonight as he’s been the strong and most consistent starter for the Red Sox all season long.
Despite a nightmare appearance the other night where a poorly played fly ball and missed third strike call took what could’ve been an electric ninth inning showing and destroyed it, he’s not phased. Even with the return of Chris Sale, this is Nasty Nate’s starting rotation and he’s the workhorse that Red Sox Nation should want holding that ball tonight.
He spoke to the media ahead of tonight’s clash, and let’s just say, he’s more than ready for that pressure.
"“I love it. I feel like this is what everybody wants to do. Every guy in the locker room wants to be able to start tomorrow and be able to be in this situation, and I’m thankful that I get to be here and be able to do it,” Eovaldi said. “There’s just something about when everything is on the line, and I think it brings the best out of us.”"
I couldn’t ask for a better mentality from my starting pitcher with the season on the line. The Red Sox were sitting pretty as they had a 2-1 series lead with two games remaining at Fenway Park. But the white-hot bats went cold and the team wasted stellar starts from both Nick Pivetta and Sale to shift the momentum back to Houston.
Even with his appearance the other night, Game 6 was always going to be Eovaldi’s and I wouldn’t be surprised with yesterday’s off-day if Cora goes all in. Win tonight, worry about tomorrow tomorrow. I don’t think AC will empty the entire arsenal tonight but don’t be surprised if we see Tanner Houck and Garrett Whitlock both show their faces at some point.
It’s felt like all season long the fireballing righty has had the ball in some of the most important moments. He was tabbed for the Wild Card Game against the Yankees, picked up a win against Tampa in the ALDS, and also earned the Red Sox a win in Game 2 of the ALCS. He’s the rock of this Boston pitching staff and having the ball in the most important game of the season is exactly what he’s been working for.
We all know what Evo did in the 2018 postseason and this year has a lot of that very same magic for the right-hander. Unfortunately, injuries put a damper on his luster in 2019 but a bounceback in 2020 and a stellar year in 2021 has brought him back to Red Sox postseason legend status. Quieting the curiously hot bats of the Astros tonight in their home park would just add another chapter to that legacy, and he’s more than ready for it.
"“We know what’s on the line,” he said. “I’ve faced them twice now within the week, so I have a good game plan going in, and it’s just going to come down to trying not to do too much out there, make sure I’m executing my pitches, and attacking the strike zone.”"
Some out there may be worried about him on the mound after what Houston did to him the other night but none of that would’ve happened if Hunter Renfroe remembered how to catch a ball and Laz Diaz wasn’t useless. Don’t be surprised if Nate comes out angry as all hell and is chucking gas right out of the gate tonight. He’s here to not just win for this team but to show that he’s a lot better than what the box score shows from the other night.
The Red Sox love being in this situation, backs against the wall, doubt all around them. Ask the New York Yankees how that worked out. Ask the Detroit Tigers how that worked out. Ask the Tampa Bay Rays how that worked out. If any team has the right to be confident going into tonight it’s this one, they just need to remember how damn good they are.
This is the perfect situation for Boston, a pissed-off lineup that was absolutely embarrassed in their house and a guy on the mound that will throw his arm off in order for his team to win. Hopefully, Nate does what he does best tonight, the boys finish it tomorrow, and the Sox will be “Dancing on Their Own,” all the way to the World Series.