Red Sox Notes: Nathan Eovaldi Posts Best Start Since April In Win Vs. Rays

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Nathan Eovaldi’s 2019 season has been eventful, to say the least.

After beginning the year as a fixture in Boston’s starting rotation, the right-hander underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow, landing him on the 60-day injured list.

Upon his return he was cast as the Red Sox’s closer, a role he’d last less than a month in as the team continued to shuffle its bullpen. As a reliever, Eovaldi never really found his stride, and the 29-year-old eventually found himself back in the rotation. He began as an opener but has transitioned back to a traditional starter, despite struggling over the last month.

But Sunday was different.

The right-hander went six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and just two walks in a 7-4 win over the Rays. It was the first time Eovaldi had gone six innings since April 17th when he tossed six one-run innings against the New York Yankees. The righty felt good after his win, saying he was happy to go deep into a game for the first time in a while.

“It was nice,” Eovaldi said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Any time you put up four runs early you want to try and keep that lead and go as deep into the ballgame as you can, and I was able to settle down and do that later.”

Manager Alex Cora was happy with the hurler as well, adding that it’s good to see Eovaldi finishing the year on a good note.

“We like where he went (with the fastball),” Cora said. “He did an outstanding job. … Physically he’s in a good place. That’s a good lineup with all those lefties. He did an outstanding job. Good to see him finishing the season strong.”

Eovaldi is looking to build off this strong start and head into the offseason on the right foot.

“I just want to be able to try and make every start that I can and finish on a strong note and go into the offseason focused on next year, healthy and picking up where we left off.”

Here are some other notes from Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays game:

— Christian Vazquez hit his 22nd home run of the year Sunday, improving his career-high, among a host of other career totals from this season.

The catcher now is hitting .274 with 69 RBIs on the season. As a player who was labeled as a defensive-minded catcher when his career began, Vazquez has been able to flip the narrative thanks to his power numbers.

— J.D. Martinez and Vazquez each collected three hits for the Red Sox on Sunday to lead the offensive charge.

Martinez now has 99 RBIs on the year. One more, and he’ll have three consecutive seasons of 100-plus RBIs.

— With the win, the Red Sox clinched at least a .500 record on the year.

— Boston and Tampa Bay wrap up their four-game set Monday night at Tropicana Field. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.

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