Red Sox close out Twins as Eovaldi and J.D. Martinez shine
(July 28, 2018 – Source: Getty Images North America)
Sunday was the first we saw of Nathan Eovaldi in a Red Sox uniform, and he certainly did not disappoint. He went 7 innings of no run ball. While he wasn’t necessarily dominating the Minnesota Twins (he recorded just 5 strikeouts), he certainly kept them at bay in an efficient manner. It took him just 82 pitches to get through 7 and he probably could have kept going. Cora must have wanted to be cautious in Eovaldi’s Boston debut, as the starter had the run support to back him.
Eovaldi’s arrival was marked by his strikeout of Brian Dozier with two outs in the first. With a runner on and a full count to Dozier, Eovaldi poured in a nasty slider that Dozier swung right through. From that point on, Eovaldi settled into his new home and turned in a great start. If he can perform anything close to that going forward for the Sox, the trade will have landed Boston reassurance in the back end of the rotation. Right now, Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello are the locks to be in the rotation. With Brian Johnson pitching well and Drew Pomeranz struggling as of late, along with Eduardo Rodriguez and Steven Wright on the DL, the addition of Eovaldi leaves plenty of options in both the rotation and the bullpen.
On the other side of the ball, J.D. Martinez had himself a day. He drove in all three of Boston’s runs. With the bases loaded and two outs in the second, Martinez ripped a ball to left field and scored Brock Holt and Mookie Betts. Then, later on in the fourth, he shot another ball into left with Andrew Benintendi on second to drive in another run.
The Martinez signing looks better and better everyday, as the guy just keeps hitting at a phenomenal rate. The 3 RBI on the day drove his total up to 89 on the season, which leads the league. He’s also leading the pack with 32 dingers while slashing .326/.390/.643. That would be an excellent full season, but we’re not even in August yet. The craziest part is he’s not even the best hitter on the team, as Mookie is still on pace for his first ever MVP award.
The highlight of the day, however, came from JBJ. Jackie Bradley Jr. may have topped all of the spectacular catches he’s made on the season in the third. The ball was driven to way deep center and looked like extra bases. But, just when we figured we’ve seen Jackie make every imaginable catch, he goes out and does this.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is the best defensive centerfielder in Red Sox history. pic.twitter.com/B3XdF7rny9
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) July 29, 2018
Absolutely unbelievable. JBJ has proven once again that he can do the impossible out in center.
Another notable performance came from Blake Swihart, who got the start today in place of the injured Rafael Devers. He went 2-4 on the day, including a double. In the field, he was sound and helped turn a double play on a hard hit ball to the hot corner. For a guy not in his primary position, he looked very comfortable manning third.
Finally, Craig Kimbrel got back to his normal self. After a blown save on Saturday against Minnesota, Kimbrel earned his 33rd save on the year. He came on in the ninth and struck out one batter. All in all, it was a solid day all around for the team as they closed out the series with a win.
The Red Sox go up against the Phillies next for a quick two game series at Fenway before inviting the Yankees to Boston for a huge four game series.