It wasn’t Nathan Eovaldi’s best performance Wednesday night against the Cleveland Guardians, but it was an improvement for the Boston Red Sox starting pitcher compared to his latest outings.
The hard-throwing right-hander has struggled since coming off the injured list — he allowed 12 earned runs across seven innings in his previous two showings — but turned in a quality start despite the Red Sox dropping a 7-6 decision to the Guardians at Fenway Park.
Eovaldi tossed six innings, letting up nine hits and five runs, only three of which were earned while walking none and striking out one.
“Stuff-wise, it is OK, right? Not too many swings and misses, but that’s what they do anyways, they put the ball in play,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “He gave us a chance. We didn’t play great defense. In the bunt play, he dropped the ball. But overall, he gave us a chance to win. That’s what we want.”
For Evoladi, it was the deepest he has gone in a game since June 3, and he certainly had to work for it with the Guardians’ not looking to help out Eovaldi in any way.
“I feel like I was using offspeed early in the counts and they weren’t necessarily being too overly aggressive or anything like that,” Eovaldi said, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “Made me throw a lot of strikes. And then when I was ahead in the count, they had really good plate discipline. They work the counts really well and made me throw a lot of strikes.”
Eovaldi didn’t have a strong defensive effort behind him as first baseman Franchy Cordero committed three errors, with one of the throwing errors aiding a three-run second inning for Cleveland to give it the early lead.
Eovaldi also contributed to the poor defensive showing when he had trouble fielding a bunt attempt from Austin Hedges in the fourth — Cleveland went on to score twice in that frame. Eovaldi explained following the contest what happened on that play.
“We had the anticipation that Hedges was going to try to bunt to get him over,” Eovaldi said. “That’s why we threw him the curveball. I felt like I had it, and as soon as I went to go throw it, I just lost the ball.”
So while Eovaldi cleaned some things up, and had a strong finish to his outing with a 1-2-3 sixth inning, there is still certainly room for improvement going into his next start.