Mazz: The No. 1 concern for the Red Sox remains unchanged
Nathan Eovaldi has had other bad starts this season, so don’t overreact to one outing. But when the Red Sox announced their pitching plans for the second half, they told us plenty.
Continuing to protect Eovaldi – and the rest of their starters – will be paramount.
After losing to Shohei Ohtani and the Angels Tuesday night, Eovaldi won’t pitch again until July 17 – a span covering 11 days. And while manager Alex Cora announced the change while revealing that Eovaldi will pitch an inning in next week’s All-Star Game, don’t be fooled. The Sox want to protect Eovaldi as much as they can, something they have historically done with some starters around the All-Star break.
Eovaldi, by the way, is on pace for slightly more than 192 innings, the second-highest total of his career. (His career high is 199-2/3 in 2014.) In fact, he hasn’t pitched more than 154-1/3 innings since 2015 and threw only 227 innings from 2018-2020.
More than anything else, the durability of their starting pitchers remains the chief concern of the 2021 Red Sox. With the exception of Eduardo Rodriguez at the beginning of the season, Sox starters have taken every turn, something history has proven to be critical to the success of any team.
Aside from Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta is on pace to throw a career-high 172 innings, surpassing his previous best from 2018. Garrett Richards already has pitched more innings than any season since 2015 and Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched more than 137 1/3 innings only once in his career. Martin Perez, meanwhile, is really the only Sox starter who projects to fall short of his heaviest career workload.
The Sox are expected to use Tanner Houck for at least a spot start after the All-Star to further alleviate any strain on the staff.