Top-5 Red Sox pitching performances from the 2021 season

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /
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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) /

Red Sox ace Nathan Eovaldi tames the Yankees lineup

It’s no surprise that Nathan Eovaldi finds himself on this list. He was Boston’s best pitcher this season and a viable Cy Young candidate who ultimately finished fourth on the ballot.

One of the most memorable moments from his All-Star campaign was when Eovaldi faced the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in June. The right-hander held the Bronx Bombers to only one earned run on seven hits over 7 2/3 innings. He didn’t allow a walk and struck out six.

The lone run that Eovaldi allowed was to the last batter he faced, a solo home run from DJ LeMahieu with two outs in the eighth inning. Boston still held what seemed to be a fairly comfortable three-run lead but they wouldn’t allow Eovaldi to finish the frame since he had already reached a season-high 109 pitches.

Pulling his starter nearly backfired on manager Alex Cora. Hirokazu Sawamura walked all three batters he faced to load the bases for Luke Voit, who led the league in home runs during the shortened 2020 season. One mistake to a slugger with Voit’s power would wipe out a lead Eovaldi had worked so hard to protect.

Former Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino bailed out Sawamura by retiring Voit on a groundout to escape the jam. Ottavino remained in the game for a shaky ninth inning in which he allowed a run and saw the potential go-ahead run step to the plate. He managed to strike out Aaron Judge to seal the win for Eovaldi.

Eovaldi’s innings total matched his season high, which also came against the Yankees when he faced them again in a narrow loss in July. This game in June was the middle game of a three-game set in which the Red Sox swept the Yankees.