The Case For
Behind MLB’s best run support, Nathan Eovaldi, who took a loss against the Rays on Saturday, had not registered a loss since June 16 against his former team, the Miami Marlins, by which the right hander did not make it out of the first inning, yielding eight runs off nine hits.
Since that June start, Eovaldi, who then posted a 5.12 ERA on the year, shaved over a run off his ERA by August 24 (4.00), when he held the Astros scoreless over eight innings, an eventual 1-0 win at the Stadium. Several times in that start against Houston, Eovaldi hit triple digits with his fastball, which allowed him to strike out seven batters in convincing fashion.
In his twelve starts leading up to August 24, Eovaldi was 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA, sound enough for many to reconsider his status as merely a third starter in the rotation. Eovaldi would win three starts in August, boosting his record to 14-2 on the year, posting a win percentage (.875) over his first twenty six starts with New York that was bested only by Whitey Ford’s .900 win percentage (18-2) over his first twenty six start with the Yankees.
The Case Against
Despite his tear in July and August, Eovaldi’s numbers are rather unsightly. He is posting a 1.45 WHIP, allowing over ten hits and nearly three walks per nine innings. While his strikeout rate is the best of his career (7.1 SO/9 IP) and he is yielding far fewer home runs than Tanaka in twenty-four more innings pitched (10 to Tanaka’s 21), Eovaldi has mustered a below-average ERA+ (93), posting extremely poor marks on the road: a 5.21 ERA, .327 BAA, and .789 OPS in 14 starts.
Alas, his relative struggles on Saturday against Tampa Bay may have a been a sign of things to come, as the 25 year old will be out two weeks with an elbow issue, forcing Michael Pineda (10-8 with a 4.15 ERA in 22 starts) to make good on the promise of Friday’s start against Boston (by which he struck out seven over six innings, allowing one run in a quality start) despite his struggles Monday against Baltimore (allowing four runs over six innings in a start by which Greg Bird, with a three-run homer in the seventh inning, took him off the hook).
Nathan Eovaldi has right elbow inflammation, will be shut down for 2 weeks.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 7, 2015