Nathan Eovaldi made his 12th start of the season for the Red Sox against the Angels on Wednesday night.
Coming into play on Wednesday, the right-hander was averaging 96.7 mph on his four-seam fastball — his most-frequently used pitch.
In his latest outing at Angel Stadium, 32 of the 84 pitches Eovaldi threw were four-seamers, but he only averaged 94 mph and topped out at 97.1 mph with it, per Baseball Savant. It was Eovaldi’s lowest average fastball velocity in a start since 2012.
Nevertheless, the 32-year-old grinded through five scoreless innings, yielding just six hits and no walks to go along with five strikeouts en route to picking up his fourth win and lowering his ERA on the season to 3.16.
Following Boston’s 1-0 victory over Los Angeles, manager Alex Cora revealed that Eovaldi has been dealing with right hip tightness, which likely attributed to the dip in fastball velocity.
“Yeah, probably that’s it,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith). “He pitched well. He got us five scoreless innings. The stuff wasn’t great but he did a good job changing speeds, using his off-speed pitches.”
While his fastball velocity was down, Eovaldi still proved effective elsewhere. He induced seven swings-and-misses with the 24 splitters he threw, three swings-and-misses with the 13 curveballs he threw, and three more whiffs with the 10 sliders he threw.
Cora indicated that Eovaldi should not need to miss his next start since the Red Sox will enjoy an off day back in Boston on Monday, which will give the veteran righty an extra day of rest.
“It’s part of it sometimes,” said Cora. “The traveling and the beds, whatever. He should be OK.”
For his part, Eovaldi was ready to come back out for the sixth inning even after receiving a visit on the mound from Cora and a member of the training staff in the bottom of the fifth.
That ultimately did not happen, and Eovaldi revealed afterwards that he first began experiencing tightness in his hip when he woke up on Tuesday. It is not believed to be a serious injury.
“Yesterday, I woke up and it was a little tight, but I did some treatment and it felt better,” Eovaldi said, via MLB.com’s Ian Browne. “I came in and played catch, went about my normal business and today, during the game, it just got a little tighter as the game went on. But we were able to make big pitches when we needed to and the defense was great tonight, and we were able to come out on top.”
Assuming Eovaldi makes his next start as scheduled, that should come against the Athletics at Fenway Park next Tuesday.
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)