Eovaldi embraces do-or-die situation
‘It brings the best out of us’
The Red Sox certainly aren’t in the most ideal position, needing to win twice on the road to advance to the World Series. But they have exactly who they want on the mound for tonight’s Game 6 against the Houston Astros with the hopes he can pitch them to a Game 7 of this American League Championship Series.
RED SOX NOTEBOOK
Nathan Eovaldi has come through time and again for the Red Sox this year when they needed him to, and he’ll need to again to avoid the season suddenly ending tonight. The All-Star righthander embraces moments like this.
“I love it,” Eovaldi said. “I feel like this is what everybody wants to do. Every guy in the locker room wants to be able to start (tonight) and be able to be in this situation, and I’m thankful that I get to be here and be able to do it. There’s just something about when everything is on the line, and I think it brings the best out of us.”
Eovaldi’s Game 6 start will come three nights after he threw 24 pitches out of the bullpen in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s Game 4 loss, when he allowed the goahead run to score. But he’ll have no limitations. Eovaldi said he took Wednesday off from throwing, and threw catch on Thursday to make sure he was rested and recovered for today.
“My arm feels good, and mentally I’m going to be ready and prepared for this game tomorrow,” Eovaldi
He and the Red Sox will hope this start more closely resembles his Game 2 start in Houston last Saturday, when he threw 5 1/3 strong innings in the victory. Eovaldi said that on Tuesday, his off-speed pitches didn’t feel right. He attributed that some to getting caught up in the excitement of coming into the game out of the bullpen with the game on the line.
“One of the things I got to do better on is just simplifying the game, making sure I execute every pitch where I need it to be, and that’s what I plan on doing (tonight),” Eovaldi said.
Eovaldi expects the Red Sox to rise to the challenge today with their season at stake.
“I’m extremely confident,” he said. “Everybody is a little frustrated with the way we’ve been playing lately.
We know it’s not the way we are capable of playing, and we know where we’re at in the standings, and everything that’s on the line for this game. It’s do or die. You either win or you go home. Nobody is ready to go home right now, and we’re going to be ready to go tomorrow.”
Last gasp for offense
The Red Sox’ offense has been setting records individually and team-wide this postseason, making it that much more puzzling how it’s gone so cold in their Games 4 and 5 losses, where they scratched across just three runs on eight hits. Though it’s led to an undesirable predicament in Houston, however, they know full well their capabilities and how quickly the switch can be turned back on.
“It’s really bad timing for something like that to happen, to be honest with you,” Xander Bogaerts said. “But it’s one of the things I learned about this game, man. As you said, for six, seven days we were one of the best offensive teams ever, and then you go two games cold. It’s just like hitting. You’re hot for a while, and then you’re not. And that’s one thing I learned about this game that I’ve come to understand pretty much. You know, you’re not always going to be hot, man. I’ve never seen someone 162 games hot.
“It really, really sucks the timing of it because they were really important games. Obviously, all are, but there were two at home that we definitely needed at least to split one of these two. But it didn’t happen that way, and we still have Game 6 and Game 7 hopefully the next day. We can still get hot. We’ve done it before. Maybe just a two-game stretch.”
Odds & ends
Luis Garcia will start for the Astros in Game 6. The rookie, who has allowed 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings this postseason, left Game 2 in the second inning with right knee discomfort after giving up a grand slam. But he feels ready to pitch in Game 6.
“My knee is doing really good right now,” Garcia said. “I feel really good, like normal.” …
Kevin Plawecki will start at catcher for the Red Sox in Game 6, but manager Alex Cora wasn’t expecting any other lineup changes. …
Franchy Cordero, who was one of five players acquired by the Red Sox in January as part of the Andrew Benintendi trade, was designated for assignment.
The outfielder will hit waivers, where he’s eligible to be claimed by any team. Cordero produced a slash line of .189/.237/.260 and struck out at a rate of 37.5% in 48 games (37 starts) with the Red Sox.