Say whatever you want about the Red Sox’s season, but if there is one person who would benefit from a strong finish, it’s Nathan Eovaldi.
The right-hander has bounced from the rotation to the injured list to the bullpen and back into the rotation this season. Since returning in July, Eovaldi has yet to fully find his footing on the mound, showing glimpses of the arm that Boston inked to a lucrative extension in the offseason. But mostly, it’s been outings like Tuesday’s, where he allowed a pair of home runs while failing to make it through five innings in the Sox’s 4-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Eovaldi needed 93 pitches to make it through 4 1/3 innings. It’s the most pitches he has thrown since coming off the IL, but it was anything but a step forward from his last outing in which he tossed five innings of one-run, one-hit ball.
Eovaldi was unable to put hitters away early, racking up his pitch count. Manager Alex Cora said the righty did not have a feel for his splitter and curveball, allowing the Jays to gear up for the hard stuff and keep at-bats alive.
“The thing with him is the foul balls,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “And they will always be there because of the stuff … It’s 100 (mph). … They keep fouling off pitches and the pitch count goes up. I think he went to the fastball where he is supposed to, it’s just they kept battling and putting in long at-bats. He was ahead of guys, but they keep fighting and fighting in the at-bat and all of a sudden the pitch count got up.
“We talked and he said his split and his breaking ball didn’t feel good today, but he gave us enough.”
Looking at the pitch breakdown certainly tells the story.
Here are some more notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays game:
— Rafael Devers’ incredible season got a little better on Tuesday.
The third baseman became the youngest Red Sox player to reach 50 doubles in a season. He currently leads the majors in two-baggers, with Xander Bogaerts closely behind with 49. He is the third player to reach the milestone at age 22 or younger, joining Alex Rodriguez and Manny Machado.
–Mookie Betts continued to be aggressive at the plate.
The right fielder laced the first pitch of the game off the left field foul pole for a lead-off homer.
Over his last 12 games, Betts is batting .373 with seven home runs, two doubles, 11 RBI and 11 runs.
— Rowdy Tellez officially is a Red Sox killer if we’ve ever seen one.
Tellez drilled his 18th home run of the season off Josh Taylor in the fifth, serving as the decisive blow of the game. It was his sixth long ball against Boston.
Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images