WEDNESDAY: Not so fast. Eovaldi came out of Boston’s bullpen Tuesday. Having only thrown six pitches, he will be available today, but will not get the start, Cora told reporters including Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com (via Twitter). Brian Johnson will instead take the ball to open today’s contest. Where things go from this point remains to be seen.
TUESDAY: After a short run as a reliever, the Red Sox are returning right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to a starting role. Eovaldi will start Wednesday and then spend the rest of the season in the Red Sox’s rotation, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports. He’ll only throw around 55 pitches Wednesday, according to manager Alex Cora (via Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe).
Eovaldi has been a starter for almost all of his career, but after he sat out from late April toward the end of July while recovering from elbow surgery, reliever-needy Boston planned to give him a shot as its closer. The decision came in part because the Red Sox weren’t sure if Eovaldi would have the time to build his arm up enough to go back to his typical job as a starter. Eovaldi did not acquit himself well out of the Red Sox’s bullpen, though, as he has allowed eight earned runs in 10 2/3 innings since coming off the injured list. The 29-year-old didn’t even rack up a save attempt, with the club instead using Brandon Workman as its closer.
The hard-throwing Eovaldi also had a tough time as a starter this year before going under the knife, which isn’t what the Red Sox envisioned when they splurged on him last winter. After coming over in a midsummer trade with the Rays and then establishing himself as one of the Red Sox’s many playoff heroes during their championship run in 2018, they re-signed him to a four-year, $67.5MM contract in free agency. Eovaldi has since logged a 6.25 ERA/5.74 FIP with 8.81 K/9 and 4.26 BB/9 across 31 2/3 innings. He’s one of many Boston pitchers who have gone through less-than-ideal seasons.
Thanks largely to the struggles of their pitching staff, the Red Sox are on track to begin their offseason far earlier than expected this year. The club’s 62-59, placing it a whopping 17 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East and 8 1/2 back of a wild-card spot. Realistically, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2020, when Eovaldi, Chris Sale, the currently injured David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez figure to comprise 80 percent of the team’s rotation.