During his first-ever trip to the postseason, Nathan Eovaldi allowed just three earned runs over the course of five appearances and was one of the major reasons why the Boston Red Sox were able to make it to the World Series and take a 2-0 lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic in 2018. Slated to pitch Game 4 against the Dodgers, the team that he debuted with in 2011 before being traded to the Marlins, Eovaldi was called upon to toe the rubber in Game 3 after throwing scoreless innings of relief in both Game 1 and 2.
Called upon to pitch in the bottom of the 12th inning with the game tied, Eovaldi wound up going six innings (plus one batter in the 18th) and gave up three hits while walking one and striking out five. Unfortunately for Eovaldi and the Sox, one of those hits was a walk-off homer to Max Muncy that ended the game and got the Dodgers back into the Series. Despite taking the loss, Eovaldi, who threw more pitches in the game than either starter, was treated like a winner.
“That was the most incredible pitching performance I’ve ever seen,” Boston starter Rick Porcello said at the time. “Actually after the game was over, I started crying because that was — I mean, he’s grinding. Every pitch. He literally gave everything he had on every single pitch, and it was special. It was a lot of fun to watch. That’s the epitome of reaching down deep. I’m really proud of him.”
There’s no doubt that Eovaldi’s current teammates on the Rangers feel the same way as he has been a force for Texas during the 2023 MLB playoffs and improved to 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA in the postseason this year with a victory on Sunday in a must-win game against the Houston Astros.
Eovaldi, 33, is a serviceable pitcher during the regular season and has posted a 4.10 ERA and 79-73 record across 265 career appearances. In the MLB playoffs, he’s been able to take it to a different level with a 2.87 ERA and 8-3 record with 69 strikeouts spread across 69 innings of postseason work.
“I’ve kind of run out of words at this point,” Texas catcher Jonah Heim said after Eovaldi’s performance on Sunday. “I don’t know. When he’s got that kind of resume, you think things have to turn around at some point, but I don’t think it is. That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s a guy who is gonna give you everything he’s got. He’s gonna come and compete, and he’s gonna give you the chance to win every time.”
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If the Rangers are able to get their fourth road win of the American League Championship Series tonight in Houston and eliminate the Astros, Eovaldi will get another chance to play the hero in the World Series. If not, Eovaldi will have nothing to hang his head about.
In winner-take-all Game 7 to decide the AL pennant. Cristian Javier gets the ball for Houston and the Rangers will send Max Scherzer to the mound. History is on Scherzer’s side as he previously won a Game 7 in Houston in 2019 for the Nationals when Washington won the World Series.