Why Alex Cora Went With Nathan Eovaldi In Ninth Inning Of Game 4

'It didn't work'


October 20, 2021

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora hinted that Nathan Eovaldi could have been used out of the bullpen in Game 3 on Monday, and when he wasn’t, it seemed reasonable a Game 4 appearance could be in the cards for the hard-throwing right-hander.

That proved to be the case Tuesday at Fenway Park as Boston hosted the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. Eovaldi came in from the bullpen during the ninth inning of a 2-2 deadlock.

Eovaldi, who started Game 2 in Houston on Saturday, wasn’t able to make Cora’s win-now move pay off, however. But that’s not to say the manager regretted his decision.

“Right there in that pocket, it was good for him,” Cora said after Boston’s 9-2 loss in which the Astros scored seven runs with two outs in the ninth inning, four of which were credited to Eovaldi.

“I wasn’t going to use him in extra innings because then I get tempted to use him for six (innings),” Cora said with a smirk. “So, I decided to use him in the ninth. It didn’t work.”

Eovaldi allowed a lead-off double to Astros star Carlos Correa and intentionally walked Yuli Gurriel. Jason Castro, who entered the game in the seventh as a pinch-hitter, hit what proved to be the game-winning hit with two outs against Eovaldi.

It came after Eovaldi looked to have got out of the inning with a 80 mph curve ball in the top corner of the zone. It was not called a strike, giving Castro a second chance, and he hit the run-scoring single two pitches later.

“I gotta take a look,” Cora said of the call, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I mean, a lot of people thought it was a strike.”

Eovaldi is unlikely to pitch out of the bullpen in Game 5 on Wednesday given the fact he likely will serve as Boston’s Game 6 starter when the series shifts back to Houston.

The pivotal Game 5 between the Red Sox-Astros is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 5:08 p.m. ET, and you can watch an hour of pregame starting at 4 p.m.

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers
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