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Nathan Eovaldi proves his worth out of the gate

Rob Bradford
July 29, 2018 - 3:26 pm

We don't know how this whole Nathan Eovaldi thing is going to end up, but early returns sure are positive.

The newest Red Sox made his presence felt right away, throwing seven shutout innings against a Minnesota team that had given Eovaldi his worst start of the season two starts ago.

Eovaldi was dominant, allowing just four hits while striking out five and not walking a batter. This coming against lineup that had torched him for eight runs over 2 2/3 innings. He threw 82 pitches, 63 for strikes. The outing resulted in a 3-0 win over the Red Sox, with Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel pitching the final two innings. (For a complete recap of the Sox' win, click here.)

"My last start against these guys I felt like I was missing with all my pitches down the middle and I was behind in a lot of my counts," Eovaldi said. "And today I was able to establish the strike zone early and I was able to work ahead in the counts and that was the biggest success for me."

As for the importance of making a good first impression?

"It’s always good because you avoid the noise," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "People can now talk about how good he is and how much he’s going to help us out instead of going the other way around."

Leading into that start in Minnesota the righty had allowed just two runs over 19 innings, having also rebounded from the Twins game with a six-inning, one-run gem against Miami in what was his most recent appearance.

Eovaldi's velocity was impressive, with his fastball averaging 97.4 mph and maxing out at 98.9 mph. He pitch-mix was as follows: 32 cutters, 28 fastballs, 10 sliders, seven curveballs and four split-fingered fastballs. He managed first-pitch strikes on 18 of his 24 batters.

"I felt like I had all my pitches really working today," Eovaldi said. "I was able to mix in the curveball a lot more than I have in the past. The fastball and cutter were there. The slider felt really good and I threw some decent splits today as well."

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J.D. Martinez once again had the biggest hit of the game for the Red Sox, ripping a two-run double in the second inning. Martinez was one of four Red Sox to claim two-hit games joining Blake Swihart, Eduardo Nunez and Andrew Benintendi. The Sox were just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.