Eovaldi Shuts Out Yanks. Texas 2 NY 0

Former Yank Nathan Eovaldi threw a 3-hit shutout to beat NY 2-0 on a Saturday night in Texas.

Yank starter Jhony Brito pitched 5 rope-a-dope but solid innings, taking the loss after getting hit by a 2-run Haymaker by Ezequiel Duran for the only runs of the game.

Jake Bauers, just called up from AAA, made a spectacular catch in left in the 1st inning, but ran into the left-field wall hurting his knee.

And Aaron Hicks — inserted into the game for Bauers — was almost the hitting hero: he just missed snaking one thru the middle in the 5th with a runner on 3rd and 2 outs, and just missed a homer in the 8th — his 358-foot line drive was caught at the right-field wall.

“He was mixing up his pitches,” said Aaron Hicks about Eovaldi. “He was throwing the curve well, mixing in a slow slider towards the end; his splitter was working well. It was just his night; everything was working for him and he was hitting his spots.”

Hicks just missed being the hitting hero. “I’m chasing hits right now,” he said afterwards. “That ball gets through my second at bat maybe we got a 1-2 game instead of 2-0. And obviously the ball I almost hit out that would be nice as well. I need results.”

NY falls to 15-13, 8 games behind Tampa and in 4th place. Texas improves to 16-11, in 1st place in their division.

1. Bauers’ Catch

Jake Bauers had just come up from AAA, where he has been tearing the cover off the ball slashing 9-20-.304 (.448 OBP). The outfielder/1st baseman is not known for his defense but he made a spectacular play for the final out of the bottom of the 1st — with a runner on — saving a run.

He was pulled from the game with a swollen knee — Aaron Hicks taking his place in left field for the 2nd inning. Afterwards, Bauers said he felt fine — his knee was just swollen.

2. Brito Rope-a-Dope’s Texas Lineup

Some good news for the Yanks: Jhony Brito pitched good. He was able to finish batters with his off-speed pitches. He showed the moxie he is known for, and got a lot of help from his defense to mostly rope-a-dope the hard-hitting Texas lineup.

Brito got out of a 2nd and 3rd, nobody out situation in the 3rd — getting Marcus Semien on a shallow fly, and then getting a little help from his friends — a terrific play by Anthony Volpe nailing the runner from 3rd at the plate.

Nathaniel Lowe then hit a deep fly to left center that Isiah Kiner-Falefa was tracking but Aaron Hicks came over and caught — the two outfielders leaping for the ball at the same time. It was Kiner-Falefa’s ball — but it would have been a tough play for him.

In the 5th, Brito allowed a leadoff single to Robbie Grossman, and a 431-foot, 2-run Haymaker to left center by Ezequiel Duran for a 2-0 Texas lead.

Brito got the next 3 outs to end the 5th, and finished with a solid 5 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 5 K’s, 1 walk with 59 pitches thrown.

3. Eovaldi Was “ON” His Game

Unfortunately for the Yanks — Nathan Eovaldi was on his game. Yankee fans who watched Eovaldi as a Yankee know he can be ‘on’ or ‘off’ — when he is ‘off’ he can be hit; when he is ‘on’ he is tough to hit.

Eovaldi came up in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization — as a Great young arm who needed to ‘put it together’. He was the centerpiece of a trade to Miami in 2012 for Hanley Ramirez. In Miami, Eovaldi again tantalized greatness, but couldn’t put it all together — the Yanks were able to trade for him at age 25, with Domingo German, for David Phelps and Martin Prado in 2014.

Eovaldi finally put it together — going 14-3 4.20 for the 2015 Yankees. But in 2016 he wasn’t the same — 9-8 4.76 — when it was discovered in August he needed Tommy John surgery.

The Yankees released Eovaldi after the 2016 season, in order to protect players for the Rule 5 draft.

Eovaldi spent 2017 recovering, and began his comeback with Tampa in 2018, then was traded to the Red Sox for reliever Jalen Beeks. Eovaldi became a fan favorite in Boston for some terrific late-season and playoff performances, but his best regular-season record there was 11-9 3.75.

Eovaldi’s career record stands at 70-70 4.15. As mentioned, when he is ‘on’ he is hard to hit; when he is ‘off’ he gets hit.

In this game, Eovaldi was ‘on’. A complete game 3-hit shutout.

4. Hicks Just Misses

Hicks ‘just missed’ shooting one through the middle in the top of the 5th that would have plated Willie Calhoun from 3rd (Calhoun had led off the inning with a single) — but Semien made a terrific play on the ball.

And Hicks ‘just missed’ a homer that would have made it 2-1 in the 8th — hitting a 358-foot line drive to right that was caught at the wall by Adolis Garcia. According to @Would_it_dong, the drive would have been a homerun in 4 of the 30 Major League ballparks, including Yankee Stadium.

5. Yank Bullpen Good

Some more good news for the Yanks — the Yankee bullpen continued to do its job: 3 shutout innings — 1 shutout inning each by Ron Marinaccio, Ian Hamilton, and Wandy Peralta.

But Eovaldi was just too tough on this evening — finishing at 113 pitches, and retiring the side in order in the 9th, getting Anthony Rizzo to fly out for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore


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