Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I love the ladies. Hell, there’s nothing I love more than grabbing a couple six packs and planting myself on the comfiest couch in the mall, admiring women of all shapes and sizes as they walk past, and hoping that some day one of them might step to me and ask, first, how they let me into the mall without pants, and second, where I got the full-body Nathan Eovaldi tattoo.
Last night, as I sat my ass down to watch game three of the World Series, a game featuring Rick Porcello vs. the intriguingly named Walker Buehler, the last thing I expected was to be awake until 4am and giving myself 100 percent to the Church of Nathan Eovaldi and falling madly in love with the man. But here we are.
Fact is, last night’s game may have been one of the most painful for me to watch since game seven of the 2008 ALCS. It was a game that you could argue the Red Sox should have lost. Their bats were listless. They ran into outs on the base paths. They were down 1-0 in the eighth and by all that is holy, that’s probably the way it should have stayed. Game over and out, and we’re on to game four with a 2-1 advantage.
But then, just as we were about to go down quietly in the eighth, JBJ continued his reign of holy terror in the postseason, belting a solo home run and tying the game at 1-1.
And it stayed tied through the ninth. And tenth. And eleventh. And twelfth. And thirteenth. And fourteenth. And fifteenth. And sixteenth. And seventeenth. And with each passing inning, as both teams went up their swatting away and making little or nothing happen, you began to realize that this would eventually come down to the last at-bat of the team with home field advantage. And it did. In the eighteenth.
But along the way to playing two fucking World Series games in the span of eight hours, a new postseason hero was forged in the flames of grit and unstoppable awesomeness: Nathan Eovaldi.
Eovaldi came into the game in the 12th, after Cora had already run through ERod, Kelly, Brasier, Barnes, Kimbrel, Price and Hembree. Basically his choices came down to Drew Pomeranz, putting a uniform on a pitching machine or sneaking into the game himself. Wisely, he chose Eovaldi, who delivered inning after inning after inning, far beyond what any of us might have expected. All told he went six full, striking out five and giving up just three hits and one run on a walk-off homer. Simply put, it was the kind of performance you’d kill to get from your game four starter… only it came at the ass-end of game three.
Sadly, as Eovaldi was shutting down the Dodgers and giving the Sox every chance to win the game, the offense shit itself six ways to Sunday. The most egregious offense came when X was up with the bases loaded in the 13th, the Sox just having scored the go-ahead run and flirting with a chance to put the game away (or at least further out of reach). X responded with a weak dribbler that bounced a foot from the plate, and got tagged out by the catcher, capping an 0-for-8 night. LA then tied it again in the bottom of the inning.
There were more low lights, including Ian Kinsler running into an out at the plate and then out-fucking up that fuck up by throwing away what would have been the final out of the game in the bottom of the 13th, allowing LA to tie it up and keep the madness chugging along. I could also mention Betts and Moreland going a combined 0-for-12 (which becomes 0-for-20 from the top three when you factor in Bogaerts), but what’s the point. I’m here to praise Eovaldi.
The most gut wrenching part of this loss was that after leaving his heart and soul on the field, and despite the fact his teammates couldn’t pick him up to save their lives, Eovaldi put the blame for the loss and serving up the walk-off bomb on his broad, super-manly shoulders. Comparisons to Timmy Wakefield, forced to take the mound in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS to clean up someone else’s mess were inevitable.
Eovaldi hung his head as he walked off the field. Price came out of the dugout and stopped him. Patted Eovaldi on the chest and basically said eff that.
— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) October 27, 2018
And after all that, dude was ready to go all Winter Soldier again tonight:
Alex Cora: "I saw (Nate Eovaldi) this morning and he was telling people he's ready to go. I'm like, 'Your agent is going to kill me.'"
— Chris Mason (@ByChrisMason) October 27, 2018
Here in Boston, we don’t ask for much from our professional athletes. Just give it your all, leave it all on the field, and make no excuses. Eovaldi checked all the boxes last night, putting the Sox in excellent position to grab a 3-0 series lead and basically wrap up the trophy. Sadly, his teammates let him down.
The Sox still have a 2-1 advantage. Even if they (God forbid) lose the next two games, LA has to come back to Fenway and shut us down two straight. The smart money says the Red Sox still have this. We just need to spread a little more of that Eovaldi magic around the clubhouse.
In fact, the only reason I’d hate to see the Sox close it out in LA is that I’m still not convinced we’ve seen the full scope of Eovaldi’s bad-assery. I want another Eovaldi postseason start, goddam it, because you know the guy’s still holding something unstoppably awesome up his sleeve, be it a World Series no-hitter or the first ever shut out thrown while servicing two ladies simultaneously while drunk on Coors.