Nathan Eovaldi

Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports

Red Sox moved to tears by Nathan Eovaldi after gutsy outing ends in undeserved defeat

John Tomase
October 27, 2018 - 4:44 am

Whatever blame deserves to be shared following Boston’s marathon 18-inning loss in Game 3 of the World Series, here’s where none of it should be directed: the losing pitcher.

Nathan Eovaldi will wear the L after surrendering a walk-off homer to Max Muncy, but he’s the only reason the Red Sox had a chance to beat the Dodgers on Friday (and then Saturday).

Effectively ruled out of Game 3 after delivering scoreless innings of relief in Games 1 and 2, Eovaldi was nonetheless pressed into service in the 12th inning, and for the next six innings, he was outstanding.

With the Red Sox down to just two pitchers – left-handers Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale – Eovaldi took the ball and didn’t look back. He threw 97 pitches over six shutout innings and carried the Red Sox to the 18th inning, where Muncy finally took him yard on a 3-2 cutter leading off the frame.

Eovaldi’s Red Sox teammates were in awe regardless of the result. It’s not his fault the offense proved beyond feeble, with the top four spots in the order combining to go 0-for-28.

"That was the most incredible pitching performance I've even seen,” said starter Rick Porcello, who made a startling admission.

"I actually, after the game was over I started crying because that was -- I mean, he's grinding. Every pitch,” Porcello said. “He literally gave everything he had on every single pitch and it was special. It was a lot of fun to watch. That's the epitome of reaching down deep and I don't know. I'm really proud of him. I'm proud of the way our guys battled tonight. We came up one run short. So be it. We'll be back tomorrow."

Eovaldi has been a revelation this postseason, and Friday’s appearance marked the third time in the playoffs he has pitched at least six innings without allowing more than two runs. It just so happened the Red Sox couldn’t do anything to help him.

“Can’t put it into words,” said center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. “Tremendous. Amazing. Spectacular. I want him on my side 10 out of 10 times. Nothing but love. Nothing but love. That was pretty special, for him to be able to up zero after zero after zero on the board. He wasn’t even scheduled to pitch. But we had that all-hands-on-deck mentality, and unbelievable. Unbelievable.”

At the moment of Muncy’s homer, Pomeranz was only starting to warm. To that point, it had been Eovaldi’s show.

“They were checking with me, asking me how I was feeling and I told them I was good, I want this win, I want to come out here and finish it and get ready for tomorrow,” Eovaldi said. “But unfortunately I wasn't able to come out on top.”

Trying telling his teammates that.

Said manager Alex Cora: “That was one of the best performances probably in the history of the World Series.”