Red Sox

Sharp Nathan Eovaldi reminds Red Sox of his lofty upside

Red Sox

What a difference three days makes.

The Boston Red Sox looked lifeless amid three consecutive losses to the lowly Baltimore Orioles to begin the 2021 season, and with Tampa Bay Rays next on the schedule, it looked like things could get ugly.

All the Red Sox did was turn around and take three straight off the defending American League champions, securing the series sweep Wednesday afternoon with a convincing 9-2 win at Fenway Park that moved them to .500 on the young season.

Red Sox-Rays highlights: Sox complete sweep with dominant offensive output

Let's get into three observations from Red Sox-Rays.

Nathan Eovaldi reminds Red Sox fans of his lofty upside

Eovaldi has struggled with injuries and inconsistency during his career, but when he's on, he's really freaking good.

Exhibit A came Wednesday against the Rays. The 31-year-old right-hander held the Rays to just one run on three hits over seven innings, walking three and striking out seven while showcasing an impressive cutter that Tampa Bay's hitters couldn't barrel up.

Eovaldi also thrived on Opening Day with a one-run, four-hit effort against the Baltimore Orioles, and if you go back to 2020, he's been pretty lights-out over his last six starts.

We won't overreact to a small sample size, as consistency and availability remain Eovaldi's biggest issues. But if he can find that consistency in 2021, he could form a potent 1-2 punch with Eduardo Rodriguez atop the rotation.

Boston's offensive depth is starting to show

The strength of this team is its offense, with elite sluggers J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers leading the charge. This lineup has potential from top to bottom, though.

Depth charge

Production from five through nine spots in Red Sox' order
6 H, 4 RBI

Christian Vazquez drove in three runs Wednesday while popping his second home run in as many games, while Christian Arroyo, Bobby Dalbec and Kevin Plawecki combined for four hits out of the seven, eight and nine spots. Franchy Cordero also recorded a pinch hit off the bench and has four hits and two RBIs on the young season.

 

Boston's bats likely won't be as silent as they were against Baltimore or as loud as they were against Tampa Bay. But Vazquez, Dalbec, Cordero and Hunter Renfroe all are home run threats who can lengthen this team's lineup.

Get ready for a bumpy ride

Here's your friendly reminder that the MLB season is a marathon.

The Red Sox looked like the worst team in the league against the bottom-dwelling Baltimore Orioles and world-beaters against the Rays. Chances are they're somewhere in between.

Night and day

Red Sox' run differential vs. Orioles
-13
Red Sox' run differential vs. Rays
17

Many projected Boston as a .500 team, and Alex Cora's club is exactly that through three games. An unproven rotation may produce some high-scoring affairs, while the Red Sox' newcomers may endure growing pains while the team as a whole adjusts to a 162-game season after playing just 60 last year.

The Red Sox get a rematch against the Orioles beginning Thursday. So if they get swept again, keep that panic button under wraps.