|Red Sox setting table for playoff as Orioles' season winds down|
BOSTON -- A report surfaced Saturday that had Nathan Eovaldi emerging as the Boston Red Sox's fourth starter in their upcoming American League Division Series.
The news, from Ken Rosenthal of the The Athletic, had Eovaldi jumping ahead of the struggling Eduardo Rodriguez to start Game 4 of the American League Division Series -- because of his success against the New York Yankees.
"We saw what happened this week," said manager Alex Cora. "We have a pretty good idea who matches well with the Yankees."
Last week, Eovaldi, picked up in July from the Tampa Bay Rays, pitched six shutout innings against the Yankees in the Bronx, which would be the site of a potential Game 4 of the first round. Rodriguez had a poor start in that same series.
The Red Sox, of course, are also scouting the Oakland A's, who will play the Yankees in a wild-card game.
"(Rodriguez) likely is out of the division series rotation with Nathan Eovaldi opening the series in the bullpen and then being able to start Game 4 if necessary," Rosenthal said.
Meanwhile, Eovaldi, who faces the Baltimore Orioles -- and Dylan Bundy -- in the opener of a three-game series and the start of the regular season-ending seven-game homestand Monday night, hasn't won in his last eight starts, going 0-3. He started his stay with the Red Sox with a pair of no-run outings, but has been sporadic since.
The right-hander is 5-7 with a 3.98 ERA overall this season, 2-3 with a 3.64 ERA in nine starts with Boston.
Eovaldi is 2-0 with a 5.16 ERA in six career starts against the Orioles.
The Red Sox equaled the franchise record of 105 wins with a victory in Cleveland Friday night -- a night after celebrating winning the American League East in New York -- but then lost Saturday and Sunday nights. They fell to the Indians in 11 innings Sunday night.
Bundy, like most of the Orioles, is suffering through a miserable season, coming in at 8-15 with a 5.37 ERA. He is 1-6 in his last nine starts and is 0-2 in four starts against the Red Sox this season.
The Red Sox are 14-2 against the Orioles this season, 6-1 at Fenway Park -- after Baltimore went 6-3 against the Sox at Fenway each of the last two seasons.
Caleb Joseph is 5-for-9 (.556) with a home run, Adam Jones 6-for-17 (.353) and Chris Davis 4-for-13 (.308) with two homers against Eovaldi.
The Red Sox have some strong numbers against Bundy.
Brock Holt, who has been so vital for his team down the stretch, is 8-for-13 (.615), Steve Pearce 3-for-8 (.375), Sandy Leon 4-for-12 (.333) with a homer, Xander Bogaerts 9-for-29 (.310) with two homers and Andrew Benintendi 8-for-26 (.308) with a home run.
Mookie Betts is at just .258 (8-for-31) but has three home runs against Eovaldi, while Eduardo Nunez is 1-for-8 (.125), Mitch Moreland 4-for-24 (.167) and J.D. Martinez 2-for-11 (.182).
With the Red Sox concentrating on getting through the final week while setting up their postseason pitching and trying to prevent injuries, there's no telling what kind of lineup Cora might put out onto the field in this series.
Bogaerts left Sunday night's game during an at-bat with left shoulder soreness, the move announced as precautionary. Eduardo Nunez remained out with a sore knee but is expected to return early in the week.
Mike Wright came on during the first Yankee at-bat of the game after Alex Cobb suffered a recurrence of his blister trouble. Wright walked the bases loaded (finishing the opening walk) and allowed three runs in that first inning but that was all for the Yankees for the day.
"I mean usually you're kind of aware whether or not you're the long guy for the day," Wright said. "Obviously Alex had issues with his fingers before, so we were kind of on high alert. Once I saw somebody go out I was pretty much ready to go in the game."