Nathan Eovaldi and Kohei Arihara are both hoping for bounce-back performances on the mound when the Boston Red Sox visit the Texas Rangers for the second of their four-game weekend series Friday night.
Boston right-hander Eovaldi (3-2, 3.77 ERA) allowed only four runs over his first three starts of the season, but has given up at least four in back-to-back starts while allowing seven or more hits in each outing.
Eovaldi chalked up his struggles in last Saturday’s 8-2 loss to Seattle, in which he allowed a season-high five runs (four earned) on seven hits over five innings, to his inability to locate his pitches.
Only 64 percent of Eovaldi’s 87 pitches landed in the strike zone.
“I just felt like I had a hard time finishing my pitches,” Eovaldi said. “If I’m not finishing my pitches, they tend to stay middle and they’re not as sharp as they usually are. I think that’s what got me in trouble.”
Eovaldi is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two prior starts against the Rangers. He pitched a gem in his lone career start in Texas, allowing just two hits and striking out six over seven scoreless innings on April 25, 2016, as a member of the New York Yankees.
Texas right-hander Arihara (2-2, 4.03) lasted only two innings in the Rangers’ 8-4 loss at the Chicago White Sox last Sunday. After allowing zero runs in 11 1/3 innings over his prior two starts, Arihara posted season highs of five runs allowed and four walks.
Arihara said he may have been tipping his pitches after placing a season-low 57 percent of his 70 pitches in the strike zone.
“I do feel like they may have been expecting it,” Arihara said through an interpreter via The Dallas Morning News. “But I’m not aware of anything. I think the biggest thing was that my fastball wasn’t riding (Sunday). I just wasn’t able to pitch as effectively as I’d like to do it.”
The 28-year-old rookie will be making his second start at Globe Life Field and his sixth overall. Arihara gave up three runs — two earned — on five hits while walking one and striking out one in four innings in a 3-0 home loss against San Diego on April 9.
Texas handed Boston just its second road loss of the season in the series opener Thursday, winning 4-1. Although the Rangers remain four games under .500 for the season, they improved to 7-4 against AL East opponents in 2021.
The status of Boston designated hitter J.D. Martinez for Friday’s game is up in the air after he was pulled for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning on Thursday due to migraine symptoms. Martinez went 0 for 1 with two walks in the opener.
-Field Level Media