Starting pitching has been an adventure for the Boston Red Sox all season, there’s simply no other way to put it.
So, Nathan Eovaldi tossing five innings of one-run ball Thursday night was encouraging. Unfortunately, “encouraging” wasn’t enough as the Red Sox fell to the Minnesota Twins 2-1, dropping their three-game series.
But Eovaldi did look much improved, providing his longest outing since he returned to the starting rotation. The righty, however, harped on a rough fifth inning in which he walked the bases loaded. He managed to give up just one run, but that tied the game.
“I thought that everything was coming out well, my splitter felt really good. It was just the walks I had in the fifth inning,” Eovaldi said on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I gotta come out and be aggressive and attack the hitters and I walked three guys.
“I felt really good all the way up to that fifth inning,” he added. “Then I don’t know, mechanical, or what it was, maybe nibbling. I just felt like I was all over the zone and I couldn’t get the strikes when I needed them. Building off of last start and coming into this one I have been feeling really good. Tonight, I was able to get some quick outs and have really quick innings and I was able to keep my pitch count down. That fifth inning didn’t help, but I was able to get out of it and keep the game tied.”
Here are some other notes from Thursday’s Red Sox-Twins game:
— Red Sox pitchers tied a season-high with nine walks in the loss, yet only allowed two runs in a pretty rare performance.
— Boston came incredibly close to tying the game in the bottom of the ninth, with Rafael Devers getting thrown out at home plate to end the game following a J.D. Martinez double off the Monster. Eddie Rosario made a dazzling throw to gun down Devers.
“Just trying to be aggressive in that play,” Devers said through a translator on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I mean obviously I was running hard and I know Eddie has a good arm, but I was just following what the coaches … (Red Sox third base coach Carlos Febles) had me going. I just put my head down and went full speed and I actually thought I had a good chance of scoring but it just didn’t work out that way.”
— Mookie Betts was the only Red Sox batter that could provide any production at the plate through the first eight innings.
The right fielder continued his scorching pace, going 2-for-3 with his third homer over the last two games, drilling his 26th of the season off of Pesky’s Pole. He continues to put up eye-popping numbers before reaching 27-years-old.
— While the offense has been putting up pretty historic numbers this season, the middle of the Red Sox’s lineup hit a bit of a lull against the Twins.
Devers, Xander Bogaerts and Martinez combined to go 4-for-34 over the three-game series.
Boston’s offense as a whole batted just .202 through the series.
— Manager Alex Cora warned that he would use all the arms available to him since the roster has expanded, and he did just that.
The Red Sox used 17 pitchers in the series. And actually, despite losing the series, that pitching strategy worked well for Boston. Starters posted a 3.94 ERA while the bullpen dazzled with a 1.20 ERA over 11 innings of work in the three games.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images