Reliever Colten Brewer and infielder Marco Hernandez were sent back to Pawtucket (Triple A), while David Price was activated from paternity leave in order to start the game.
The Red Sox were carrying an extra player because of Saturday’s doubleheader, so that’s mainly why Hernandez, who has done everything right at the plate and in the field, had to go. The biggest reason he went to the minors had to do with something he could not control.
“Where we’re at right now, it’s a little bit tough – we don’t want to be too left-handed,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before the game. “But he’s playing great. And the cool thing is when he goes down there, he keeps the same energy. You saw it (Saturday). He’s competing, he’s doing well, and he’s healthy. It’s good to see him healthy.”
Brewer was replaced in the bullpen by Ryan Weber. Brewer pitched in each of the games on Saturday, so he would have been unavailable anyway. Weber gave the Red Sox length in case of a short night for Price.
Brewer has allowed just one run over his last eight outings and 6⅓ innings, allowing six hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Not too shabby but the Red Sox want more.
“He needs to work on a few things,” said Cora. “The swing and miss potential is there but there’s some deep counts and not controlling the strike zone, we feel he can do a better job. At the same time, where we’re at with the roster, it was just the logical move.”
Another right-handed reliever previously sent to Pawtucket, Ryan Brasier, will, one would think, return to the big-league roster before too much longer.
“Fastball command has been better, offspeed pitches OK, he’s been like, back and forth,” said Cora. “Overall with the fastball, it’s a lot better than when he was here towards the end.”
Cora had some time to re-examine the strike zone judgment of Saturday’s Game 1 home plate ump Mike Estabrook, who gave Cora the heave-ho for arguing that vision.
“I still don’t agree with some of them,” said Cora.
When the Red Sox announced in early July that Nathan Eovaldi would return as a reliever, the initial call was that he would return as closer while there was some vagueness about whether or not Eovaldi would return to the rotation if there was enough time.
As of now, the plan is to leave Eovaldi in bullpen rest of year now that Andrew Cashner is the fifth starter.
And there is no rush and certainly not a mandate to make him the closer – Brandon Workman’s that guy.
“We’re comfortable with Work, the way he’s throwing in the back end,” said Cora. “You look at the numbers, against lefties, against righties, what he’s done, it’s amazing. We’re comfortable with him there, and we’re comfortable with Nate in the eighth and the seventh, depending on the situation.”
And the plan does remain the same for 2020: Eovaldi will return as a starter.
Cora appreciates that Eovaldi has seen some improvement, though modest, in his five appearances and 4⅔ innings as a reliever, in which going into Sunday had opposing hitters hitting him at a .417 clip. Eovaldi had nine strikeouts and one walk.
“His mix of pitches has been a lot better, the breaking ball, the split, and obviously the fastball is a plus one, that’s the difference,” said Cora. “I wasn’t worried about him, it was just a matter of let’s see how it goes in a close game, and you see the results.”
Rick Porcello’s season (5.74 ERA) has gone nothing like he or anybody has expected. Monday night at Fenway, he will throw the first pitch in the series against the Royals, one start after he allowed six runs in 5⅔ innings against the Rays.
“Hopefully he builds on the last three innings of his last one – he threw the ball well, command was better,” said Cora.
“The secondary pitches were a lot better than early in the game so that’s the goal, for him to keep rolling after those three innings.”
Cora said both Porcello and the team have not ceased efforts to fix whatever’s ailing him.
“It’s been a grind, it hasn’t been easy,” said Cora. “There’s two ways of taking it, huh? You just stop working and just accept that OK, we’re not good this year or keep working and that’s what he’s doing. He’s a workaholic and that’s what you like about Rick. It’s not only mechanics or physically or watching video. He’s always getting after it and trying to find it.” …
Cora is pleased that top prospect Bobby Dalbec has progressed to Pawtucket.
“This is a guy that dominates the strike zone, we know the power potential,” said Cora. “So I think it’s another challenge in his process. It will be good for him to go to Triple-A and see different type of pitching. I’m a big believer that in Double-A, stuff plays a little bit more and Triple-A, pitchability comes into play so he’s going to see something different and that’s going to help in his development.”