Boston Red Sox

Eovaldi reminds Red Sox what they gave up with historic playoff run

The Rangers ace won four elimination games during Texas' World Series run.

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The Boston Red Sox had plenty of opportunities to celebrate old friends this postseason.

In Philadelphia, former Red Sox slugger Kyle Schwarber belted five home runs during an epic seven-game run for the Phillies in the National League Championship Series. In Arizona, ex-Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo guided the upstart Diamondbacks past Schwarber's Phillies to their first World Series berth since 2001.

But no Red Sox alum had a postseason like Nathan Eovaldi.

The Rangers right-hander delivered a gem Wednesday night in Game 5 of the World Series, tossing six scoreless innings and striking out five to help Texas secure its first championship in franchise history.

Eovaldi was nails for the Rangers throughout the 2023 playoffs, going a perfect 5-0 with a 2.95 ERA in six starts. He pitched in a whopping four elimination games and earned the win in each contest, while Texas won all six of the games he pitched in this postseason.

Eovaldi's five wins in one postseason tied an MLB record, and he's the first pitcher ever to have his team win all six of the games he's started in a single postseason.

Of course, Eovaldi's October prowess shouldn't surprise Red Sox fans. The right-hander's postseason legend was born during the 2018 playoffs, when he posted a 1.65 ERA over six appearances to help Boston roll to a World Series title.

The Red Sox won five of the six games Eovaldi appeared in that postseason, but his most memorable outing came in the one game Boston lost: Eovaldi threw 97 pitches over six innings out of the bullpen during an 18-inning marathon in Game 3 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the Dodgers pulled out the victory, Eovaldi's heroic effort helped save the Red Sox' bullpen and set up back-to-back wins in Games 4 and 5.

Eovaldi could have been a member of the Red Sox in 2023 and actually told reporters he thought he'd be back with the team this season. Boston extended Eovaldi a qualifying offer last offseason as well as a three-year deal early in free agency but apparently declined to offer the 33-year-old more than the two-year, $34 million deal he eventually signed with the Rangers.

Instead, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom rolled the dice on 37-year-old Corey Kluber, who posted a 7.04 ERA over 15 starts this season.

Considering Boston bottomed out and was out of the playoff race by late August, it's probably for the best that Eovaldi joined a team like the Rangers where he could showcase his postseason prowess.

"I think it’s that do-or-die mentality," Eovaldi said Wednesday night of his playoff success, via "I try to prepare a lot mentally, (think positively) and just go out there and attack, attack, attack."

The result was Eovaldi coming up huge for the Rangers just like he did for the Red Sox six years ago.

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