Red Sox seek longer outing from Eovaldi vs. Padres

Field Level Media

August 24, 2019 at 8:34 am.

The biggest news coming from the Boston Red Sox on Friday was not about who is starting Saturday against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

That will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 6.69 ERA) who will go against Padres right-hander Dinelson Lamet (2-2, 3.95 ERA) in the middle game of a three-game interleague series.

No, the headline from the Red Sox was about who won’t be starting the series finale Sunday. Ace left-hander David Price, out since Aug. 5 due to a left wrist cyst, will not return from the injured list.

“David’s going to throw a simulated game in Denver on Tuesday,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Friday afternoon. “He’ll throw around 55 pitches. We’ll see how he reacts to that and go from there. We didn’t feel comfortable yet starting him on Sunday.”

From all indications, the Red Sox’s Sunday starter also won’t be former Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner, who was moved from the Boston rotation in mid-August after making six largely ineffective starts for his new team.

The first order of business for the Red Sox is getting a quality start from Eovaldi, who was on the injured list from April 18 to July 20 due to a loose body in his right elbow.

Saturday will be Eovaldi’s second start since his return, and his first was unimpressive. Eovaldi lasted just two innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, giving up five runs on three hits and three walks.

After posting no decisions and a 6.00 ERA in four starts before landing on the IL, Eovaldi moved to the bullpen upon his return. He made 11 relief appearances, going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA, before Cora plugged him back into the rotation last weekend.

Eovaldi is 1-2 with a 3.90 ERA in five career starts against the Padres. However, he hasn’t faced them since 2016.

Lamet, meanwhile, continues to improve in his return from Tommy John surgery performed in the spring of 2018.

In three starts this month, Lamet has given up five runs on 11 hits and eight walks with 25 strikeouts in 18 innings for a 2.50 ERA. In his most recent outing, Aug. 17 at Philadelphia, he got the win with six innings of three-run ball, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out six.

“His stuff has been there from the get-go,” Padres manager Andy Green said recently of the 27-year-old. “The velocity might actually be up a tick. The fastball/slider mix is excellent.

“What’s been slower to come around, not unexpectedly, is his command. As that comes around, Dinelson has gotten tougher and tougher. He’s got the stuff to win in the major leagues. … He showed that before the surgery.”

Lamet will face the Red Sox for the first time Saturday night, going against a lineup that amassed 14 hits Friday en route to an 11-0 win in the series opener.

“The Red Sox present different challenges,” Green said. “They grind every at-bat. They play the longest games in the major leagues. It’s going to be an interesting challenge for Lamet.”