BOSTON — Against his former team, Nathan Eovaldi was a cut(ter) above.
Asked what impressed him about the hard-throwing righthander who pitched eight scoreless innings in Boston’s 4-1 victory Saturday, Aaron Boone did not hesitate. “His cutter,” the Yankees’ manager declared. “Obviously really good velocity on the fastball, but the cut fastball, it seemed like he was throwing a lot of them and they were moving quite a bit. That gave us some problems.”
That’s an understatement. The Yankees managed only three hits against Eovaldi, acquired by Boston from Tampa Bay on July 25, and got only one runner to second base — Giancarlo Stanton, who doubled leading off the seventh. He struck out four and walked one, throwing 65 of his 93 pitches for strikes.
“He added and subtracted on it,” Stanton said of Eovaldi’s cutter, a pitch Eovaldi said he grew confident with late in 2016, the second of his two seasons with the Yankees. “He threw some at 90 and some at 95, and just put different depths on it.”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Eovaldi has “some of the best stuff in the American League” and Eovaldi’s response mirrored Boone’s. “I’d say it’s the cutter. Just being able to throw that pitch in any count helps the hitters off of my fastball,” he said. “I felt really good today. Fastball command, and the cutter was working. Maybe moving a little more than I would like but it was effective."
Eovaldi’s fastball was consistently in the high 90s, pretty much where it sat while he was with the Yankees, meaning he is all the way back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow that led to the Yankees releasing him after the 2016 season. The Rays signed him knowing he would miss the 2017 season and, in fact, Eovaldi didn’t return to the mound until May 10 this season and made 10 starts before being dealt to the Red Sox.
He won his first start for Boston last Sunday, also at Fenway, with seven shutout innings in a 3-0 victory over the Twins. Two starts, two wins, 15 scoreless innings. Not a bad trade-deadline deal.
"It’s been a lot of fun pitching here,” he said.
Former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi shut down his former team.
8 IP 3 H 0 ER 4 SO 1 BB 93 Pitches 65 Strikes