New York Yankees’ right-hander Nathan Eovaldi continues to stumble and develop an identity of true inconsistency.
Just three starts back, Nathan Eovaldi’s ERA was down to 3.71 having won five straight decisions. Ace comparisons were being drawn to the flame thrower of the New York Yankees and confidence was at an all-time high.
A little over two weeks later and his ERA is a lofty 4.90, he is back to where he was in early April, and fans are wondering where it all went.
The right-hander admittedly said that his struggles are largely due to a loss of effectiveness with his splitter. Well known is the sheer fact that when Eovaldi does not feature an above average split-finger, his fastball may as well be hit off a tee.
9.82 is the 26-year-old’s ERA over his past three starts in which he has allowed 26 hits and five home runs. In the preceding five starts, he was 5-0 with a 2.03 ERA with only 23 hits allowed.
To no surprise, the numbers opposing batters possess off his splitter have coincided with his overall results.
According to Brooks Baseball, over the five starts in which he possessed a 2.03 ERA, opponents only managed a .177 average, did not go deep once, and mustered a mere six singles off his split-finger.
In the span since, prior to tonight, they had three more total extra-base hits, a .333 average, and a .571 slugging off that same pitch.
Given that Eovaldi implemented it to his repertoire last year and it has proved so effective, it makes sense for him to experience some bumps in the road. However, a quick fix must be made as the Yankees rely heavily on his dominance.
Whether it is mechanical, an alteration in grip, or both, he has clearly not felt as comfortable with the pitch and in turn has been hammered.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild, the guy who helped Eovaldi develop the pitch in the first place, will be responsible for working with the Texas native to get the pitch in the right place to succeed.
Evidently, when ‘Nasty Nate’ has his full arsenal in motion he can be a truly exciting pitcher to watch. There is a reason he was being praised and viewed as a front line starter for the forseeable future just a couple of weeks ago.
Complementing a fastball that continually sits in the upper-90s with a splitter containing great downward bite, a slider with action away from the zone, and a curveball capable of being used in fastball counts has nourished Eovaldi as a pitcher. Yes, a pitcher rather than a so-called “thrower”.
With that said, the current numbers are not representative of the true strides he has made. A 4.90 ERA represents the Nathan Eovaldi that came to the Yankees at the start of 2015 and not the Nathan Eovaldi that has made an 180-degree turn since that point in time.
Every pitcher in baseball goes through rough patches, and the advantage for the Yanks in this case is that their struggling arm knows exactly what needs to be fixed. Some starting pitchers throughout the league do not have that luxury.
Fans have become spoiled with a pitch that was not packaged with Eovaldi when he came over from Miami, and now they are moaning that it is not present. He lives and dies with a pitch that has defined him in the American League.
Time will tell if there will be an upward turn for the better, but until then the reality must be faced that this particular youngster is still a work in progress.