A Dave Dombrowski addition may emerge as a crucial piece in the Red Sox postseason puzzle.
Following a four-game sweep of the Yankees, the Red Sox have given themselves a sizable lead in the AL East. This team has the opportunity to record the most regular season wins in MLB History, a title currently held by the 2001 Seattle Mariners. However, like the ’01 Mariners soon found out, none of it matters unless you win the World Series.
At this point, the top three Starting Pitchers during the playoffs are clear: Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and David Price. The way the schedule works, there are only three days in between Game 1 and Game 4 of the ALDS. Unless Cora feels comfortable pitching Sale on only a few days rest, they’re going to have to use a 4-man rotation.
In a perfect world, I’d love to see Eduardo Rodriguez be that 4th man. With the leaps and bounds Rodriguez has made since heading to the DL, it’s possible we could see him back in the rotation by late August. However, even if he does, we can’t assume E-Rod will be able to pick up where he left off.
Nathan Eovaldi could also be our #4 starter. In 15 IP with the Sox this year, he has yet to allow a run. He’s been incredibly efficient with his pitches during his first two starts, and his stuff is absolutely filthy. However, there’s still a part of me that believes his talents could be more useful somewhere else.
As of right now, our 4th playoff starter probably isn’t our biggest concern. I’m much more concerned about our bullpen.
Outside of Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel, the rest of the Red Sox bullpen is a bit shaky. Ryan Brasier has become one of our most reliable arms since joining the Red Sox, but going to a rookie in the postseason still scares me. Kelly hasn’t been the same since the beginning of the year, Thornburg is still trying to get his mojo back, and Hembree is…well, Hembree. In all likelihood, Wright and Pomeranz will also be heading to the bullpen, neither of whom I can entirely trust.
The guy I want to see coming out of the ‘pen this October is Nathan Eovaldi.
His 100 mph fastball paired with a 90+ cutter and that nasty slider is built to dominate out of the ‘pen. Not only that, but his numbers prove that he would be very successful as a relief pitcher.
Out of everyone in the Sox bullpen (including Pomeranz, Wright, Rodriguez, and Eovaldi), Nathan Eovaldi has the lowest Walk Rate, allowing only 1.13 BB/9. He also possesses the lowest WHIP (0.89), the 3rd lowest BABIP, and the 5th Highest GB%. Behind Barnes, who has emerged as a very solid 8th inning guy, and Kimbrel, one of the best closers in the game, a guy like Nathan Eovaldi could complete a very scary trio in the back end of the bullpen.
As of right now, this team’s biggest weakness is the bullpen, it doesn’t stack up with the other AL juggeranuts. If one of our starters can transition to the bullpen and be a dominant reliever, this team has a very good chance at making a deep run in the postseason. And if there’s one guy who can do that, it’s Nathan Eovaldi.