Mazz: Nathan Eovaldi Back to Being Nate The (No So) Great

Apr 11, 2019; Boston, MA: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)
Apr 11, 2019; Boston, MA: Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub

The unfortunate truth is that Nathan Eovaldi was never that good, which doesn’t mean he stinks ... or that he’s useless ... or that he will never again make a contribution. It just means that everyone fell in love with him for very understandable reasons, and it means that he’s now overpaid.

So just admit it: you fell in love with him last October after what should have been a one-night stand. We all did. And then you committed to something that you really shouldn’t have committed to, a baseball version of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light".

In case you missed it, the Red Sox rallied for a 7-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays last night, first overcoming an early 5-0 deficit and then scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth to celebrate in walk-off fashion. The Red Sox are grinding, for sure, and they’ve had to rub sticks together for hours just to light the smallest fire.

Think about it: their first win came as the result of a pinch-hit, three-run home run. Their second came when Mookie Betts hit a bouncer that struck third base in Oakland. Their third win was a bullpen, assembly-line special that came by a 1-0 score on a home run from Moreland that all but scraped both the right-field wall and outfielder Adam Jones’ glove. And then there was Thursday night.

And you know why this is the case? Because their vaunted starting pitching continues to put the Red Sox in holes as if they’re nothing more than richly-paid grave diggers.

Last night, in his third start of the season, Eovaldi allowed six hits, five runs (all earned), four walks and – you guessed it – two home runs. For the season, among 90 qualifying major league pitchers, Eovaldi now ranks 85th in ERA (one spot ahead of Chris Sale, who is 86th), and 85th in WHIP. He has allowed 14 runs (tied for eighth most), 10 walks (tied for fifth most) and six home runs (tied for most). The OPS against him is a whopping 1.081 (second-highest).

Quite simply, it’s hard to find many pitchers in the major leagues who have been worse through three starts.

Is Eovaldi this bad? No. Of course not. But the lesson here is that he was never that good, either, at least not good enough to warrant the four-year, $68 million contract that the Red Sox granted a postseason hero who entered last season with a 38-46 record and 4.21 ERA in 739 career innings covering 134 games and 127 starts.

Come October, of course, there is every chance Eovaldi will have great value again.

That is assuming, of course, that the Red Sox get there.

You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.