Nathan Eovaldi may be less than a full day removed his most-recent start for the Red Sox, but that does not mean he wants to take any time off.
Coming off a solid performance in which he surrendered just two runs on three hits, eight strikeouts, and one walk over five innings of work in Game 3 of the American League Division Series against the Rays at Fenway Park on Sunday, Eovaldi has apparently made himself available for Game 4.
When speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) ahead of Monday night’s contest with the Rays, Sox manager Alex Cora said the veteran right-hander volunteered to pitch an inning of relief if needed.
In tossing five strong innings in his latest start on Sunday, Eovaldi needed 85 pitches — 58 of which were strikes. Between last Tuesday’s Wild Card Game against the Yankees and Game 3 of the ALDS against the Rays, the flame-throwing 31-year-old has posted a 2.61 ERA and 2.88 FIP to go along with 16 strikeouts to one walk over 10 1/3 total innings pitched.
Eovaldi’s postseason legend, of course, dates back to Game 3 of the 2018 World Series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. On just one day of rest, he provided Boston with six impressive innings of relief before giving up a walk-off home run to Max Muncy in the bottom of the 18th inning.
While he was lauded for his effort and preserving the Sox bullpen for the remainder of the series, Eovaldi — having just thrown 97 pitches — came up to Cora the following morning and told him he was ‘ready to go’ for Game 4.
At that time, Eovaldi was on the cusp of free agency, leading Cora to respond to him by saying, ‘Your agent is going to kill me.’
Despite his request, Eovaldi was not used again in the World Series following the conclusion of Game 3. It’s unlikely he will be used in Game 4 of this year’s ALDS as well.
That being said, Cora did mention on Monday that the likes of Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck would be available out of the bullpen, while Adam Ottavino could be used to record more than three outs.
Eduardo Rodriguez will start for the Red Sox opposite Rays right-hander Collin McHugh to begin things on Monday. With a two-games-to one lead in this best-of-five series, Boston has a chance to punch their ticket to the ALCS with a win.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FS1.
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)