Red Sox

Nathan Eovaldi likely back in rotation, just not Wednesday

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Nathan Eovaldi likely back in rotation, just not Wednesday

CLEVELAND -- Nathan Eovaldi is back in the Red Sox rotation. Kind of. Maybe.

The right-hander's lost season continued its search for meaning with the announcement earlier Tuesday that he'll likely start Wednesday afternoon's series finale vs. the Indians -- provided he was not needed in relief on Tuesday night.

Well, turns out he was needed in a big way. Eovaldi got a strikeout and a comebacker to preserve a 6-5 lead in the eighth with the tying run at second in the Red Sox' 7-6, 10-inning victory. His six-pitch outing could conceivably still have him available as an "opener" on Wednesday, but after the game, manager Alex Cora said lefty Brian Johnson will get the start and Eovaldi will be available out of the bullpen.

Eovaldi, who signed a four-year, $68 million contract after a heroic postseason, has been limited to four starts by loose bodies in his elbow, which required April surgery that kept him out until July. He shifted to the bullpen in the hopes of playing savior again, but has instead posted a 6.75 ERA while allowing runs in five of his nine outings before Tuesday.

And despite the recent relief outings, he's apparently returning in the rotation, Cora said before the game. Is this the start of stretching Eovaldi back out to rejoin the rotation?

"Let's start with tomorrow and see where it takes us but there's a pretty good chance," Cora said. "The thinking behind is to beat the Indians first. I think he gives us the best shot to do it tomorrow if he starts. Like I said, we're going to be creative. I think we've got a good chance to get on a run if we pitch well early in games. Obviously, he's done it before. We counted on him before the season to do that."

The yo-yo nature of Eovaldi's season speaks to his struggles. He opened the season in the rotation, was briefly considered a candidate to close, became more of a long man, failed to convert some high-leverage relief appearances (until Tuesday) and is eventually, slated to return to the rotation. 

"He's been OK," Cora said of Eovaldi the reliever. "I mean, 0-2 homer, 0-2 single, it's part of it. The other day it was the seeing-eye singles that tied the game against Kansas City. The stuff is playing. I think the mix of pitches. I don't want to say he's in between, but sometimes, as a reliever, you have to simplify it and not go what he usually does. He did it before, but it obviously it's a different stage."

Cora declined to label the Eovaldi experiment in relief a failure.

"I mean, we haven't used him, we haven't pitched that much also," he said. "It's one of those, now with the off days, we can be creative. This is one way to be creative."

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Highlights from the Red Sox' 7-4 win over the Rays

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USA Today Sports Images

Highlights from the Red Sox' 7-4 win over the Rays

FINAL SCORE:  Red Sox 7, Rays 4

IN BRIEF: Christian Vazquez's three-run home run in the first inning proved to be the big knock of the game for the Red Sox as they avoided a 3-0 hole in their series with the Rays Sunday. 

BOX SCORE

RED SOX RECORD: 81-74

HIGHLIGHTS

1st inning

J.D. Martinez singled to right, Devers scored (1-0 BOS)
Christian Vazquez smacked a three-run home run to left, Martinez and Bogaerts scored (4-0 BOS)

Tommy Pham grounded into a double play, Wendle came around to score (4-1 BOS)

2nd inning

Kevin Kiermaier singled to center, Lowe scored (4-2 BOS)

THE BEST KIND OF DOUBLE PLAY

3rd inning

Joey Wendle hit a solo home run to left (4-3 BOS)

4th inning

Martinez walked, Bradley Jr. scored (5-3 BOS)
Rafael Devers scored on a wild pitch from Andrew Kittredge (6-3 BOS)

7th inning

Martinez scored on throwing error by Wendle (7-3 BOS)

9th inning

McKay blasted a solo home run (7-4 BOS)

UP NEXT:
@Rangers, Tuesday, 8:05 p.m., NESN
@Rangers, Wednesday, 8:05 p.m., NESN
@Rangers, Thursday, 2:05 p.m., NESN

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Report: Red Sox front office perceived as 'miserable place to work'

Report: Red Sox front office perceived as 'miserable place to work'

With Dave Dombrowski out as Red Sox president of baseball operations, who will be the team's next general manager? 

It seems like a desirable job: the team consistently has one of the top payrolls in the league, and the franchise has won four World Series titles in the last 16 seasons. But it's not that simple. Not even close.

The last two men in charge of baseball operations — Ben Cherington and Dombrowski — were shown the door quickly after winning championships, and those moves are painting the Red Sox in a very bad light, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

These decisions loosely frame the industry perception of the Red Sox as a chaotic company, a miserable place to work. Boston owner John Henry needs to understand this, because it is why some of the people he'd probably love to consider as possible replacements for Dombrowski privately dismiss the idea out of hand.

Olney writes that some potential candidates have no interest in working for Henry, because they "doubt he'd have the patience to back his next general manager through the difficult crossroads ahead." That includes the impending free agency of Mookie Betts, a potential opt-out from J.D. Martinez, and an expensive rotation fraught with injuries, among other issues.

The key to a successful leadership transition in the front office might be Sam Kennedy, who has been the team's president for four years following the departure of Larry Lucchino. As Olney explains:  

A wide-held view in other front offices is that the highly respected and well-liked Red Sox president Sam Kennedy stands as a thin buffer between the team devolving to the level of the Mets, the team generally regarded by rival executives as baseball's model for dysfunction. "If Sam ever walked away," said one official, "the whole thing would be a complete mess."

From a 108-win season and a World Series to the possibility of becoming a complete mess, it's amazing how quickly the tide has turned for the Red Sox.

TOMASE: Why Theo Epstein could be the man for the job>>>>>

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