Eovaldi Ready to Pitch In
By Michael Silverman
BOSTON -- Nathan Eovaldi reported for work Thursday and expressed good cheer about his new surroundings.
Red Sox notebook
The newest part of that equation is that the righthanded starter left a .500 team, the Rays, to join the team with the best record in baseball.
“Very excited about joining the Red Sox, I’m very thankful for the opportunity they’re giving me,” said Eovaldi. “I know they gave up a big prospect in (Jalen) Beeks for me so, yeah, I’m super excited to be here.”
Eovaldi, 28, was 3-4 with a 4.26 ERA over 10 starts with Tampa Bay and a 0.98 WHIP. Among pitchers with at least 50 innings this season, Eovaldi’s strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6.63 is third highest in the AL behind Cleveland’s Corey Kluber (7.44) and Houston’s Justin Verlander (7.04).
Eovaldi doesn’t want to change a thing here.
“Keep pitching the way I’ve been pitching. Go deep into games, fill up the strike zone and try to limit the runs scored,” he said. “The expectations are definitely high. I try not to put any extra pressure on myself. I try to treat each game as if it might be my last and really go out there and try to do the best I can every time regardless of what team I’m with or where we’re placed, first or last. I want to give my team the best opportunity to win.”
Eovaldi has held right-handed hitters to a .207 batting average and a .217 on-base percentage with 29 strikeouts against only two walks. That the AL East rival Yankees have a lineup laden with right-handed threats is no coincidence.
“I’ve had some success against righties and using the cutter more,” said Eovaldi. “Since I came back from my recent injury, I’ve had a lot of success, and able to elevate up in the zone, and hopefully I can stay on that course and continue to mix up my pitches enough to get the job done.”
He pitched for the Yankees from 2015-16.
“I definitely know these guys, I know our division pretty well. I feel like I’ve done well against our opponents so I’m looking forward to starting against the Twins and then the Yankees following,” said Eovaldi.
He has had two Tommy John surgeries.
“I feel healthy and 100 percent ready to go. I try not to think about past surgeries,” he said. “I want to trust the work I’ve put in that I’ll stay healthy and not have any more injuries and hopefully take the ball every five, four days, pitching every fifth day and help the team win.”
To make room for Eovaldi on the 25-man roster, the Red Sox optioned right-handed reliever Brandon Workman. The only other candidate from the bullpen was Ryan Brasier.
“Sometimes it’s a numbers games,” said manager Alex Cora. “Obviously (Workman) wasn’t too thrilled about it, which I understand. But with BJ (Brian Johnson) here and we got Hector (Velazquez) that we can use for multiple innings, it just happens, you know.”