Nathan Eovaldi was scheduled to make his 19th start of the season for the Red Sox in Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates. That will no longer be the case.
Following Boston’s 8-3 win over Pittsburgh at PNC Park on Wednesday night, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) that Eovaldi has been scratched from his start due to a sore trapezius muscle. Fellow right-hander Josh Winckowski will pitch in his place.
Winckowski was originally slated to work in relief of veteran left-hander Rich Hill, who allowed two runs over five solid innings, on Wednesday. Cora instead opted to have Ryan Brasier, Hirokazu Sawamura, and newcomer Jeurys Familia record the final 12 outs of the Sox’ series-clinching victory.
Eovaldi, meanwhile, last pitched against the Yankees on Friday, yielding two runs on eight hits, two walks, and three strikeouts across six innings. The 32-year-old missed time on the injured list earlier this season because of low back inflammation. Since returning on July 15, he has posted a 6.32 ERA (4.42 FIP) with 24 strikeouts to eight walks in his last six starts while showing diminished fastball velocity.
If it were up to Eovaldi, he would pitch on Thursday. But the Red Sox are playing it safe and will have him skip his next turn through the rotation. He is now lined up to start against the Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
“I feel I feel like I could pitch [Thursday], but we’re playing it safe,” Eovaldi said. “Just going to skip this turn and be ready to go Tuesday against Toronto. I feel like I could pitch, but we don’t know how I’ll rebound afterward. So, we’re just trying to be cautious right now.”
Winckowski last pitched for Boston last Thursday. The 24-year-old rookie made his major-league debut in late May and has since produced a 4.69 ERA and 4.94 FIP to go along with 34 strikeouts to 20 walks over 11 starts spanning 55 2/3 innings of work.
Following Thursday night’s finale in Pittsburgh, the Red Sox will travel to Baltimore to take on the Orioles in a three-game weekend series. Righties Kutter Crawford and Michael Wacha will start the first two games at Camden Yards, while fellow righty Nick Pivetta will start the Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa. on Sunday.
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)