Nathan Eovaldi, who gained the reputation as Playoff Nate for his domination in the 2021 postseason, will get the ball on Opening Day. Chris Sale was expected to be named the starter when the Red Sox battle the Yankees in New York on April 7.
On Wednesday, the organization announced that Chris Sale would miss the start of the regular season with a rib injury. One of Sale’s biggest issues has been his inability to stay healthy. When he has been on the bump, he has not looked like an ace following his Tommy John surgery.
Eovaldi is a tremendous pitcher, but he is not worthy of being an Opening Day starter for Boston. Eovaldi is 32 years old with a career 4.19 ERA. He was solid in the playoffs for a couple of starts, but he should not be the first pitcher to get the ball.
Chaim Bloom knows what he is doing, but pitching was an issue for the team last season. When Boston’s bats cooled off late in the ALCS, the pitching was not good enough to save the day. I am hopeful this will not be the case in 2022, but Sale already being hurt is not a good sign.
The one positive is that Playoff Nate is coming off his first All-Star appearance in 2020. He made 32 starts last season with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 182.1 innings.
In Eovaldi’s first start of the spring on Friday against the rays, he went three innings and gave up two runs on three hits. He did strike out three batters, but it was apparent Eovaldi was raw. He has three weeks to get his arm back and shut down the Bronx Bombers, which will not be an easy task.