Boston Red Sox

Nathan Eovaldi of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Nathan Eovaldi is nearing a return from the injured list. And a new report suggests that he’ll immediately lead the Red Sox’ beleaguered bullpen.

NESN’s Tom Caron reported on Monday night that the Red Sox plan to install Eovaldi as the closer when he returns from the 60-day IL. Sources apparently described Eovaldi’s impending role as a “traditional” closer, meaning he will consistently pitch the ninth inning with Matt Barnes and others setting him up.

The Red Sox’ bullpen ERA stands at 4.37 entering Tuesday, which is eighth in the American League. But the eye test has painted a much worse picture. They’ve blown as many saves as they’ve converted. Boston sits 12th in the AL, down with the dregs of the league, with just 17 saves, but leads the AL with 17 blown saves.

Clearly, they need a new closer from somewhere. Eovaldi should have the stuff and the makeup to be a better closer than anyone the Red Sox have tried so far. Dave Dombrowski would also be smart to look into the trade market for a reliever, if not a permanent closer. But for now, it sounds like we’re getting the Eovaldi experiment for a bullpen in desperate need of a boost.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at