Miami raises the heat on Eovaldi
Can there be anything more embarrassing to a pitcher than what happened Tuesday night to Nathan Eovaldi?
Paired against David Phelps, the pitcher for whom he was traded for in an off-season deal, and appearing in his former stomping grounds, Marlins Park, Eovaldi endured a nightmare of a first inning. After retiring the leadoff batter, Eovaldi allowed seven consecutive hits – all but one well struck – before getting a second out. He did not get a third. After Dee Gordon, batting for the second time in the inning, singled and Derek Dietrich doubled to make the score Miami 8, NY 0, Yanks manager Joe Girardi yanked Eovaldi and signaled for Chris Capuano to soak up innings.
Surely, this was the last thing on Eovaldi’s mind when he was warming up. He was back in his old yard and wanted to show that the Marlins made a mistake in letting him go. Yet before the first inning was over, the pitcher who went to Miami in the exchange, Phelps, had the advantage of an eight-run lead against the club that swapped him.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Yankees game in which the starting pitchers had been traded for each other and both played for the other team during the previous season (or earlier in the same season) was July 22, 1993, when the Yankees and Jim Abbott defeated the Angels and Russ Springer, 12-1, at Yankee Stadium.
The night did not improve for the Yankees, who were pummeled, 12-2, and come home to New York having lost five of their past six games and their prior hold on first place in the American League East, which has become a free-for-all with four clubs separated by merely two games.
What happened to Eovaldi is something Marlins fans had seen before. The righthander had a 13-27 record in three seasons with Miami and allowed 393 hits in 369 innings. Despite the high velocity of his pitches, Eovaldi gives up a lot of his. He faced 12 batters Tuesday night and gave up nine hits, raising his total for the season to 97 in 71 1/3 innings. In his briefest inning for the Yankees, Eovaldi’s ERA raised nearly a full run, jumping from 4.13 to 5.12.
Buoyed by the Marlins’ first-inning outburst, Phelps had a two-hit shutout through five innings and gave up two runs and six hits through seven in improving his record to 4-3. Giancarlo Stanton gave Phelps additional support as if he needed it with a three-run home run off Chris Martin in the fifth.
The Yankees did not get on the board until the sixth on a two-out, RBI single by Brian McCann. Mason Williams, a late-inning replacement, doubled in a run in the seventh by which time there were enough changes so that the game resembled a spring-training exercise.