Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez will enter the Major League Baseball postseason on very different notes.
Both Boston Red Sox pitchers worked two innings in Saturday’s 8-5 loss to the New York Yankees, but the results decidedly were mixed. Eovaldi, who reportedly will start in the playoffs, gave up an unearned run on one hit while striking out four in two impressive innings. Rodriguez, who reportedly will pitch out of the bullpen in October, gave up three runs on four hits and two walks over two ugly innings at Fenway Park.
Both performances continued recent trends for the respective pitchers.
Eovaldi entered Saturday’s game 1-0 with a 1.53 ERA in his last four appearances (three starts). Rodriguez, meanwhile, entered the penultimate game of the regular season 0-1 with a 6.06 ERA in his last five outings (three starts).
It’s worth noting that Rodriguez’s last two appearances were in relief, and both were scoreless and dominant efforts. But it’s also worth mentioning, however, that both came against the lowly Baltimore Orioles.
Most important (and, perhaps, most worrisome) was how both pitchers looked while on the mound.
Eovaldi pitched like he has for much of the last month: confident, in command and, at times, electrifying. Rodriguez, on the other hand, did what he does when he struggles: nibbled, lacked tempo and served up flat, hittable fastballs.
Whether Alex Cora is confident pitching Rodriguez in a key spot in October remains to be seen. The left-hander has shown the ability to overwhelm out of the bullpen, but the inconsistency that’s marred his entire career is as concerning in relief as it is in the starting rotation.
As for Eovaldi, no one expects the hard-throwing righty to pitch like an ace in the postseason. But Cora wanted Eovaldi to prove he’s worthy of a playoff start, and the 28-year-old delivered down the stretch.
Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees game:
— Gleyber Torres’ three-run homer was the Yankees’ 265th of the year, a single-season Major League Baseball record.
— It also gave the Yankees at least 20 homers from every spot in the lineup this season, also an MLB record.
— With the loss, Boston now is 9-9 against the Yankees this season. Here’s the Red Sox stack up against other American League playoff teams:
Vs. Yankees: 9-9.
Vs. Houston Astros: 2-4.
Vs. Cleveland Indians: 3-4.
Vs. Oakland Athletics: 2-4.
— Cora’s club is 4-7 in its last 11 games.