BOSTON -- Though it was just a brief tuneup, Nathan Eovaldi demonstrated why he is just about certain to be the Game 4 starter should the Red Sox face the Yankees in the upcoming American League Division Series.Eovaldi served as an opener, firing two impressive innings (one hit, no earned
BOSTON -- Though it was just a brief tuneup, Nathan Eovaldi demonstrated why he is just about certain to be the Game 4 starter should the Red Sox face the Yankees in the upcoming American League Division Series.
Eovaldi served as an opener, firing two impressive innings (one hit, no earned runs, no walks, four strikeouts) in Saturday's 8-5 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park. In the three starts Eovaldi has made against his former team since joining the Red Sox two months ago, he's allowed no earned runs in 16 innings.
• ALDS presented by T-Mobile, Game 1: Fri., 7:32 p.m. ET on TBS
"Going into the playoffs, I feel really confident," said Eovaldi. "I feel really good about my mechanics and where I'm at with all my pitches. Just get through tomorrow's game and get ready for the first round."
:: ALDS schedule and results ::
Meanwhile, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez still has a shot to earn a rotation spot if the opponent is the Athletics. But he didn't help his cause on Saturday. Coming on in relief of Eovaldi, Rodriguez gave up four hits, three runs and two walks over two innings. The big blow was a two-run homer by Gleyber Torres.
"Not good," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "The lefties, [Brett] Gardner hit a line drive to left, Didi [Gregorius] hits a missile up the middle. [Greg] Bird stays on a pitch and hits it off the wall. He needs to be better. We tried to go up on Torres and left it over the plate. So we need to be better. He's part of this. Whatever role it is, it's your role and you have to go after it. Today wasn't good."
With everything set for the Red Sox except for their ALDS opponent, Cora is using this weekend to get everyone their final reps for the games that count.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright, who is expected to be a big part of the bullpen in October, finally gave up an earned run for the first time in 10 appearances since coming off the disabled list. It was a loud run, as Giancarlo Stanton hit a towering shot over the Green Monster.
Star right fielder Mookie Betts sat this one out, but he should be back on Sunday. The same goes for shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
Among those who did play, Jackie Bradley Jr. had an RBI double off the Green Monster and Andrew Benintendi drove in a run with a single. Brock Holt added a two-run rocket into Boston's bullpen in right-center in the bottom of the ninth.
"I feel good," said Holt. "I've kind of got on a little run and got some confidence there. Things have been going good. I feel like I'm putting myself in good positions, good counts to hit. And when I'm getting a good pitch, I'm squaring it up. It's been a good little run for me personally, so I'm looking to keep it going."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Though he's never been known for his power, Holt has gone deep four times in his last 37 at-bats and is slashing .405/.463/.784 over that span. He could be in the process of earning some playing time against righties in the playoffs.
"I think I've surprised some guys in here a little bit. They joke with me," said Holt. "But no, I've always felt like I had a little bit in the tank. I'm not going to hit a ton of home runs, but I can drive the ball when I get a good pitch and put a good swing on it. Like I said, it's been a good little run for me, but hopefully we can carry it into October and keep it going."
Regardless of Sunday's outcome, the Red Sox will finish with the fifth-highest winning percentage in team history and the best since the 1946 squad went 104-50.
HE SAID IT
"We're going to be 0-0 next week. We're still going to have four days off and we don't have to play Wednesday. It really doesn't matter. Just take a look at the whole season. It's 107 [wins] and that's pretty good. It's not that we're going through the motions, but we're taking care of our players and they get what they need. ... We'll be ready for October." -- Cora, on the Red Sox losing three in a row and seven of 11
Right-hander Rick Porcello makes his last tuneup before the playoffs in the final game of the regular season against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Sunday. Porcello has thrived in his matchups against New York this season, going 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA in three starts. This is expected to be an abbreviated outing of two to three innings. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.