Eight Shutout Innings from Nathan Eovaldi on Saturday Gives Red Sox Opportunity to Finish off Four-Game Sweep of Yankees on Sunday Night.
Nathan Eovaldi has been with the Red Sox for less than two weeks, yet he has already made a bit of a name for himself with his new club.
In his most recent start before yesterday and first in a Red Sox uniform, Eovaldi tossed seven scoreless frames in a winning effort over the Minnesota Twins last Sunday.
Six days and one turn through the rotation later, it was more of the same for the right-hander this Saturday.
Lest we forget, Eovaldi was once a New York Yankee himself. He spent two seasons with the club, posted a 4.45 ERA in 51 total appearances (48 starts), and was released during the 2016 offseason.
How did that factor into Eovaldi’s Saturday? Well, to put it simply, he SILENCED his former team.
Making his 12th start of the season and pitching eight full innings, the Houston native scattered three hits and one walk to go along with four punch outs on the afternoon.
Starting right away in the first, Eovaldi appeared to send a message to the Yankees dugout after what happened the night before by throwing a 76 MPH curveball right by Giancarlo Stanton’s head.
Nothing came as a result of that pitch selection though, and Eovaldi ended up making Stanton look foolish in the same at bat.
Please don’t let any Yankee fans see this pic.twitter.com/sLpCusxNbZ
— Sox Lunch (@Soxlunch) August 4, 2018
With the help of two double plays in the first four innings, the ex-Ray ended up needing just 93 pitches (65 strikes) to pick up his second straight winning decision.
Out of those 93 pitches, Eovaldi relied on his fastball, four-seam and cutter, 73 times on Saturday and topped out at 100.4(!) MPH with the four-seamer in the eighth. He’ll look to build on this successful outing in his next start against the Baltimore Orioles sometime next weekend.
In relief of Eovaldi, Alex Cora, who was congratulated by Dustin Pedroia via text on his first ejection as a manager yesterday, had to turn to his bullpen for one lone inning to wrap this win up.
Having not made an appearance since last Sunday, Craig Kimbrel was the one who got that call for the ninth, and he had a four run lead to protect with three outs to get.
It certainly was no cakewalk, as the Yankees reached base four times and tacked on one run with two outs in the frame off of Kimbrel. But the Red Sox closer buckled down, got Greg Bird to fly out to center field for the third and final out, and secured his team’s 78th win of the season despite not picking up the save.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a pitcher who had never seen a Major League mound before Saturday in Yankees rookie Chance Adams.
Adams, 23 and ranked as New York’s 13th best prospect, was certainly not awful in his big league debut, but he was not phenomenal either.
Beginning in the first inning, Mitch Moreland greeted the Yankees’ newest hurler by launching a two-run home run 407 feet into the Red Sox bullpen. 2-0 game.
Three innings later, JD Martinez retook the league lead in homers with his 33rd big fly of the season, this one a 390 foot shot pulled by the Red Sox DH into the Monster seats in left field.
Fast forward all the way to the seventh now, with Adams out and AJ Cole in for New York.
With one out and runners on first and second, Sandy Leon provided some late game insurance with an RBI ground-rule double that was initially ruled foul, but was overturned to fair following a lengthy review.
Credit to Alex Cora and the Red Sox video room for challenging that.
Leon’s 20th run driven in of the season would score his team’s fourth and final run of the afternoon, which is all they would need in this one.
Some notes from this win:
Two starts into his Red Sox tenure, Nathan Eovaldi has thrown 175 total pitches in 15 scoreless frames. That’s just under 12 pitches per inning.
From @SoxNotes: Nathan Eovaldi has allowed 0 runs in 15.0 innings since joining the Red Sox. The last pitcher to begin a Red Sox career with a scoreless streak that long—all as a starter—was Billy Rohr in 1967 (16.0 IP).
This is from Friday night, but still pretty cool regardless.
Sale yelling at Severino after Pearce's homer last night pic.twitter.com/jnau0skwUw
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) August 4, 2018
Two straight 4-1 wins, three straight wins over the Yankees overall, and a 8.5 game lead atop the American League East. That is some serious damage done if you ask me.
Going for the four-game sweep on ESPN later tonight, it will be David Price getting the ball for Boston.
Known for his struggles against New York, Price surrendered eight runs in 3.1 innings pitched at Yankee Stadium back on July 1st.
Going up against Price will be Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees, who owns a lifetime 4.18 ERA in 16 career starts against the Red Sox, with the most recent one coming on May 9th. An outing in which the righty gave up four runs on eight hits in less than six innings pitched. That was not a quality start.
First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 8:05 PM ET Sunday.