Eovaldi looks ready for Opening Day nod
Pitched five solid innings Tuesday
The worst-kept secret out of Red Sox camp is that Nathan Eovaldi will be the Opening Day starter when the season starts next Friday night against the Orioles.
Either way, the right-hander continued to prove Tuesday he’s ready to go.
Eduardo Rodriguez, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, is feeling better but still has hurdles to clear before he can come to Boston. With nine days to go before the opener, it’s inevitable that Ron Roenicke will name Eovaldi the starter. The Red Sox manager said Tuesday that he will have a conversation with Eovaldi in the next few days.
The righty doesn’t have much competition for the job, especially after another solid performance in Tuesday’s intrasquad game at Fenway Park, where he threw a total of five innings. He pitched three innings before a rain delay forced him inside for an inning, then threw one more after the delay. Including the inning he threw inside, Eovaldi said he made 82 pitches. He gave up four hits, all singles, struck
out three and walked none.
After throwing four scoreless innings last week, it was another encouraging step for Eovaldi.
“The fastball, cutter, slider all felt really good,” Eovaldi said. “The curveball toward the end felt better than I started with. The only frustrating thing was the splitter. I felt like I was flying open with it. That’s going to happen at times, but I have to make those adjustments a lot faster than I did.”
It sounds like a pitcher ready to go on Opening Day, though Eovaldi didn’t want to get ahead of himself.
“I haven’t been told anything yet,” he said. “I just talked to Eddie and he says he’s feeling great. It’s just waiting for the negative test results so we’ll see what happens. Either way I’m going to be ready to go.”
The final step for Eovaldi will theoretically come in Sunday’s instrasquad game, which would be five days before Opening Day. Roenicke is hopeful he can pitch six innings in that last tune-up, and Eovaldi thinks he’ll be ready to throw around 100 pitches in his first start.
“His strength is there,” Roenicke said. “His command, like you saw today, his command has Given where he was a year been pretty good so I think he’s ago, it’s somewhat remarkable pleased with what he’s doing. Eovaldi is in this position.
He’s a perfectionist like all of At this point last season, the them so he wants to continue to right-hander was still on the inget better but we really are hapjured list as he recovered from py with where he’s at.” surgery to remove loose bodies
After a strong spring, Eovaldi from his pitching elbow. He rehasn’t needed much time to turned in late July as a reliever build back up this summer. He’s before ultimately finishing the using all of his pitches and more season strong and healthy as a importantly getting successful starter, but 2019 was largely a results in these intrasquad disappointment for Eovaldi afgames, and seems like a guy the ter signing a four-year, $68 milRed Sox can rely on right away. lion contract the previous win
That’ster.musictotheRedSox’ ears right now given the state of Now, as he enters the second their rotation, which features year of that deal — albeit a Martin Perez and Ryan Weber as shortened 60-game version — the No. 2 and 3 pitchers, respeche’s arguably the Red Sox’ most tively, and an array of others vyimportant pitcher and at the ing to fill innings on the back least someone they will heavily end. It’s going to be crucial for rely upon.
Eovaldi to give the Red Sox at “I think anytime you’re in least six innings for them to win that position and you’re one of games and not tax the rest of the the guys that a team counts on, staff. it’s a good feeling,” Roenicke
“We know we’re going to need said. “He’s pitched enough in innings from him,” Roenicke the big leagues. He’s had enough said. “With what our rotation is, success in the big leagues, he’s he’s got to be a guy we’re going gone through struggles in the to count on to give us innings albig leagues. So I think all of most every game and hopefully those things allow him to hanalong with that throw up a dle Opening Day if we go with bunch of zeroes and we’ll score him. some runs for him.” “I’m not worried about the
Said Eovaldi: “You’ve got evmakeup. I know there will be a ery five days. It’s definitely golittle anxiety there and that’s ing to be important to get quick fine but we feel good if he’s that outs and stay out there as long guy. We feel good starting with as I can.” him.”
Nathan Eovaldi delivers a pitch during an intrasquad game Tuesday.