For the second year in a row, Nathan Eovaldi will be starting for the Red Sox on Opening Day against the Orioles at Fenway Park.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora had originally named Eduardo Rodriguez as the team’s Opening Day starter last week, but those plans have now changed since the left-hander was scratched from that start due to dead arm.
“Nate is going to start Opening Day,” Cora said earlier Friday morning. “He’s in line to do that. And there’s no problem with that. The way we present it to him and the pitching staff, especially in a season that there’s a lot of unknowns, their bodies are going to let us know how we treat them.”
Eovaldi is coming off his best outing of the spring thus far in his last time out against Baltimore on Wednesday at JetBlue Park
The 31-year-old right-hander kept the Orioles off the scoreboard while scattering all of four hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts over 5 2/3 efficient innings of work.
As it turns out, that was Eovaldi’s last in-game action of the spring, as he will now just get some work in in the bullpen a couple of times between now and Thursday.
“He’s built up as far as the pitches and all that,” Cora explained. “He’s ready to go. It’s just a matter of how we manage his week. So probably two bullpens before he faces the Orioles.”
Last year on Opening Day, which came on July 24 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Eovaldi yielded just one earned run on five hits, one walk, and four strikeouts over six strong innings against Baltimore en route to picking up his first winning decision of the 2020 season.
Before Friday’s news, Boston’s starting rotation for their opening weekend series against Baltimore was probably going to look something like this:
- Eduardo Rodriguez
- Nathan Eovaldi
- Garrett Richards
Rodriguez being scratched from Opening Day on account of dead arm has since thrown a wrench in those plans, as Cora explained Friday morning.
“Now we’re kind of like rescheduling everything,” said the Sox skipper. “We’re going over plans. We had it all set up, but now we have to sit down and go over our situation, where we’re at dates-wise, and all that. And we’ll make a decision.
The thing about this is that it’s opening weekend, right?,” he added. “It’s such a big deal because it’s opening weekend. But if this happens during the season, it’s not a big deal. You just skip one guy, you move the other one, and you make decisions based on your schedule and we’re they’re at. But now, because everything was so structured up until now, now we have to scramble a little bit. So, we’ll have more news in the upcoming days.”
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)