LADY AT THE BAT: Eovaldi Showing Potential At Crucial Time For Yankees

Monday, July 25, 2016

Eovaldi Showing Potential At Crucial Time For Yankees

Maybe a demotion to the bullpen was the wake up call Nathan Eovaldi needed.

When Eovaldi was traded to the Yankees prior to the 2015 season, my first thought was one of concern. The young righty reminded me of another import from the then Florida Marlins, with Eovaldi’s obvious talent coupled with his equally obvious lack of results. I was less concerned with his demeanor, feeling very confident that no one could replicate the “get paid and hardly ever play” approach of Carl Pavano. (There, I said his name. Let’s never say it again.)

But even if he wanted to help, there was still a question of whether he could. I never put much stock in the “only certain types can play in NY” thought process until Randy Johnson joined the team and I saw just how the environment could affect some players.

So I worried about Eovaldi. The Yankees are his third team in just 7 years. That’s strange for a player with a mid to high 90s fastball and two off-speed pitches with different mph differential.

He did nothing to allay my concerns for the first half of 2015 but then went on a terrific run, marred by an injury, to end the season. My hopes were dashed as Eovaldi, along with much of the Yankees rotation struggled to start this season. Eovaldi’s struggles were hidden by those of Luis Severino and Michael Pineda, but the time finally came when the attention shifted to #NastyNate.

The results were not pretty and, prior to the All-Star Break, Eovaldi was demoted to the bullpen in favor of Chad Green, and I firmly believe that, if Green hadn’t been shelled in his replacement start, the demotion would have lasted longer.

Green struggled, however, and Eovaldi was restored to the rotation. He has responded relatively well with strong starts against the A.L. East leading Baltimore Orioles (5.1 IP, 1 ER) and the N.L. West leading San Francisco Giants (6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 SO).

Eovaldi got into his biggest jam in the top of the 4th inning when he loaded the bases (BB, 1B, BB) with only 1 out. He buckled down, got out of it and proceeded to provide 2.2 more innings of length on a day when the Yankees “big three” (potentially soon to be big two) were all unavailable.

So far, so good post-ASB but the clock is ticking. With the trade deadline just a week away and Chapman reportedly already out the door, the Yankees will be hard pressed to hold off a bigger sell-off.

The Yankees are now two games over .500 and have won back to back series against those same Orioles and Giants. They now head back onto the road to face the Houston Astros. The potential Eovaldi is showing now is the potential the Yankees traded for and the potential they will need if they truly hope to make a playoff run.

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