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Post There’s a few guys struggling and we’ve faced some good pitc
To a certain extent in the regular season and to a far greater extent in the postseason , Nathan Eovaldi has finally become a pitcher worthy of his extraordinary right arm.It will soon be time for him to be paid accordingly.For now, it's no exaggeration to say that the Boston Red Sox would not have wontheir fourth World Series championship since 2004 without Eovaldi. He helped get them to October with 54 solid innings after coming over from the Tampa Bay Rays in a July 25 trade. Once there, the hard-throwing righty became their best and most valuable pitcher.Eovaldi put up a 1.61 ERA over 22.1 playoff innings, spread out over two starts and four relief appearances. This was all against the second, fifth and sixth highest-scoring offenses in Major League Baseball to boot.The one tragedy, as it were, is the lone earned run that Eovaldi, 28, gave up in relief: Max Muncy's walk-off home run at Dodger Stadium in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday.But since that came on his 97th pitch鈥攖he most-everrecorded by a reliever in a World Series game鈥攊nthe longestFall Classic game ever, Eovaldi earned a hero's reception from his teammates anyway."That was the most incredible pitching performance I've ever seen," Rick Porcello, who started Game 3 for Boston, told reporters. "Actually after the game was over, I started crying because that was鈥擨 mean, he's grinding. Every pitch. He literally gave everything he had on every single pitch Preston Tucker Jersey , and it was special. It was a lot of fun to watch. That's the epitome of reaching down deep. I'm really proud of him."All's well that ends well. Rather than compound the disappointment of Game 3, the Red Sox fought back to win Games 4 and 5 to dispatch the Los Angeles Dodgers in five.Eovaldi and everyone else will be wearing rings come next spring.Between now and then, Eovaldi has some money to make on the winter free-agent market.Frank Franklin II/Associated PressEovaldi has had Tommy John surgery twice, first as a high schooler and again as a professional in 2016. By the time he went in for the latter, he was sitting on a pedestrian 4.21 ERA over739 career innings for the Dodgers, Miami Marlins and New York Yankees.So when he took the mound for his Rays debut back on May 30, it was the proper start of a true reclamation project. What followed was a 3.45 ERA over 133.1 total innings, and it was all possible thanks to his evolution Eovolution.As evidenced by his four-seam fastball's 97.4 mph average and 101.6 mph maximum, Eovaldi's superb arm strength wasn't lessened by his second Tommy John operation. He did, however, take to throwing his fastball higher on average鈥攁standard adjustment to the launch-angle revolution, to be sure, but it worked nonetheless.The slugging percentage against Eovaldi's heater dropped from .446 in 2016 all the way to .309.It also helped that Eovaldi made it more difficult for hitters to sit on his fastball. He threw it a career-low 39.9 percent of the time. The other 60.1 percent of his pitches were made up of cutters, splitters, sliders and curveballs.Eovaldi's cutter was the biggest beneficiary (31.9 percent) of that shift , and why not? It was a standout pitch in terms of both its velocity and its spin rate:Data courtesy of BaseballSavant.MLB.comAll told, what Eovaldi achieved in 2018 is perhaps the most GIF-able arsenal of pitches in MLB.To wit, here's a 102 mph fastball to Alex Bregman, via Rob Friedman:Rob Friedman PitchingNinjaNathan Eovaldi, 102mph 馃敟 LLcD5e4gAkAnd, also courtesy of Friedman, an absurd three-pitch strikeout of Carlos Correa:Rob Friedman PitchingNinjaNathan Eovaldi, Filthy 3 pitch K Sequence (78mph Curveball, 92mph Cutter and 84mph Slider). 馃あ yXvg35r20ZIn theory, the biggest shortcoming for a guy with Eovaldi's stuff should be a tenuous relationship with the strike zone. In reality, he's always been the type to relentlessly attack the zone. So it went in 2018, during which he walked only 1.6 batters per nine innings.Eovaldi saved his best performance for October. He walked only three batters and surrendered 15 hits. Pitching exclusively in high leverage, he permitted only one walk and four hits in relief over his last four appearances.Despite Eovaldi's evolution and his monumental October statement, some teams may still look at him and see a guy whose body is too scarred to trust. Teams might also take issue with how he's not much of a strikeout artist. He whiffed only 7.9 batters per nine innings this campaign (including the postseason).However, Eovaldi's huge upside is such that few Adam Jones Jersey , if any, other starters on the open market will be able to match it.If nothing else, he'll be the only accomplished starter younger than 30 available. Fellow free-agents-to-be like Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, Lance Lynn and possibly Clayton Kershaw and David Price are past their primes. Patrick Corbin is coming off a better season than anyone else, but he has his downsides.Nobody should expect a nine-figure contract to come Eovaldi's way. But if last winter's market could conjure a $57 million deal for Alex Cobb, Eovaldi should do at least that well this winter. From there, he might have a shot at matching Ian Kennedy ($70 million) or Mike Leake ($80 million). Even Jeff Samardzija ($90 million) may not be out of reach.As recently as May, it would have been unthinkable for Eovaldi to be worthy of such figures. But when a guy breaks out to the degree that he has, well, things change.Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, Brooks Baseball and Baseball Savant. NEW YORK — The Boston Red Sox are trying to secure their third straight American League East title while the New York Yankees are preventing it from happening and auditioning potential starting pitchers for the wild-card game.So far, the Yankees are 2-for-2 in keeping the champagne in storage for their rivals and New York will try to complete the sweep and keep the Red Sox from clinching Thursday night in the finale of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.“We don’t want them to celebrate here and we’re going to do everything we can to not do that,” New York’s Neil Walker said Tuesday.Article continues below ...Walker was responsible for putting the celebration on hold Tuesday by hitting a go-ahead three-run homer off Ryan Brasier in the seventh inning to give the Yankees a 3-2 win. On Wednesday , it was Luke Voit homering in consecutive at-bats off David Price in New York’s 10-1 win.Besides the power resulting in the Yankees tying their single-season record of 245 homers, the first two games can be viewed as part of the competition for who starts Oct. 3. New York’s J.A. Happ allowed an unearned run in six innings Tuesday and Luis Severino followed it by pitching seven innings of one-run ball to win his 18th game on Wednesday.“We’re going to fight to the end,” Severino said. “It doesn’t matter what the score says. They’re going to win 100-something games. We’re going to be behind them. We’re going to grind to the end and every game from here now we’re going to fight to the end.”On Wednesday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone seemed to drop a hint about who might pitch in a wild-card game, and it appears Masahiro Tanaka, who starts Thursday, could be deployed for that start. “We’ve started to talk about it a little bit in earnest the last few days in about where we’re at, what we’re thinking, possibilities and then how these next dozen games or so, whatever we have left, how they play out and how the rotation falls a little bit will all factor into our decision as to who we would pitch in a wild-card scenario, who would we pitch if we were moving on,” Boone said. “Those are things we’re starting to have conversations about and I would say that these next 12 days will play a role in that.”Tanaka enters the audition armed with a 12-5 record and a 3.47 ERA but, more importantly, on a roll. He has won his last three starts and is working on a 20-inning scoreless streak Chris Davis Jersey , which is just shy of the 21 1/3-inning scoreless run Tanaka put together from July 15-Aug. 5.Tanaka also has allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of his last 11 starts, posting a 2.15 ERA in that span. Equally important, he has allowed just six homers in his last 71 innings.The right-hander last pitched in Friday’s 11-0 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays when he allowed four hits in six innings.Tanaka is 8-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 17 career starts against the Red Sox and 1-0 with a 6.60 ERA in three starts this season against Boston.The Red Sox (103-49) have lost their third series in the last 22 since the start of July and are trying to avoid three straight losses for the fourth time this year and first instance since Aug. 24-26.“It’s disappointing because what we set to do every series is to win it,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We don’t have a chance to win the series. We’ll show up tomorrow. We know what’s at stake. We’ll try to win a game and make it a happy flight.”Boston has managed three runs in the two games to fall to 2-6 at Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox are hitting .244 (129-for-530) this month, with a few hitters slumping of late.Andrew Benintendi is in a 2-for-15 slide, Xander Bogaerts is in a 2-for-14 slump while Mookie Betts has one hit in his last 12 at-bats. Betts went 0-for-4 with a walk as the designated hitter Wednesday after sitting out Tuesday to rest his left side.“There’s a few guys struggling and we’ve faced some good pitching too,” Cora said. “It’s a combination of both. I do think that sometimes we get too passive at the plate. We’re taking too many pitches right in the middle.”Eduardo Rodriguez will make his fourth start since returning from a sprained right ankle that cost him 39 games. Rodriguez is 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA since returning but allowed one run on five hits in six innings a week ago in a no-decision against TorontoRodriguez is 12-4 with a 3.53 ERA. He began the season 3-0 with a 5.29 ERA but is 9-4 with a 2.89 ERA in his last 16.In 11 career starts against the Yankees, Rodriguez is 4-3 with a 3.16 ERA. This year, he is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts versus New York.

Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:54 am
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