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Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 4 of World Series, unless he pitches in relief in Game 3

John Tomase
October 26, 2018 - 7:20 pm
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LOS ANGELES – Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday. Unless he pitches in relief in Game 3 on Friday.

Welcome to postseason roster management.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora has aggressively used his starters in relief this October, and he’s not about to change now with the Red Sox two games away from a title.

That means Eovaldi, the team’s best starter this postseason, could once again be summoned in relief, just as he was to record four outs in the ALCS clincher against the Astros, or Chris Sale was to toss an inning against the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALDS.

“If we use him, it’s a situation just like Sale, just like the way we used him,” Cora said. “If his stuff matches up with whoever is coming up and we feel it’s a great matchup and it’s going to keep the lead, we’ll go to whoever is coming next and finish the game. If we have a chance to make it 3-0 with him on the mound, we’ll take our chances.​”

Eovaldi isn’t sure when Cora first approached him about pitching in relief, but he expected the all-hands-on-deck approach.

“That's just the way it happens in postseason,” Eovaldi said. “I was prepared for it. Anytime that you can help the team win, I feel like that's the biggest part of it. I can’t think about the first time he told me to.

“But I feel like watching in the past the starters always seem to come out of the pen. Like I said, you're built up for 100 pitches, so if you could break it down to 10, 20 pitches, I feel like it's okay. You don't really take that much of a toll. A lot of times the managers do a good job of not bringing you in right after a start, the day after. It would be more so like on one of your bullpen days, that you're already going to be throwing 20, 30, 40 pitches.”

If Eovaldi does pitch on Friday, Cora said he likely wouldn’t be available to start Game 4. Cora added that left-handed David Price has volunteered for bullpen duty, too, if the need arises.

“They’re willing to do it,” Cora said. “They know it’s -- I don’t know how many days we’ve got left in the season, five, six days, seven if it goes to seven games. Maybe two, maybe three, four, whatever it is. They see it, they feel physically fine. So why not?”