Nathan Eovaldi blows up in fifth inning in Yankees 4-1 loss to Mets

Thursday’s game marked the end of the 2016 Subway Series and Nathan Eovaldi took the hill looking for the 3-1 series win. Eovaldi had come into Thursday’s game on a bit of a roll, pitching well in all three of his starts since returning to the rotation. With a win, the Yankees and the Mets would both be 55-53, which is interesting as one team sold at the deadline while the other were considered buyers. However, the Yankees offense struggled mightily to hit with runners in scoring position as they dropped the series finale to spit the Subway Series at two games apiece.
Photo Credit: Kathy Willens | AP

The Yankees threatened in the second inning with a Brian McCann single, followed by a Starlin Castro single to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a Gary Sanchez groundout moved both players into scoring position, the Yankees inept hitting with runners in scoring position showed it’s ugly head and couldn’t produce, as Bartolo Colon worked out of trouble throwing up a goose egg on the scoreboard.

Eovaldi cruised through the first four innings using the perfect combination of fastballs, splitters and cutters. Since adding a cutter, Eovaldi’s been able to keep hitters off balance more frequently than when he was exclusively throwing fastball-splitter. That being said, he was using his cutter pitch after pitch after pitch, shying away from his other pitches.

The Mets got the scoring off in the fifth inning on a Kelly Johnson leadoff home run. Eovaldi grooved a cutter right down the middle of the plate, probably trying to steal a first-pitch strike and it clearly didn’t go as planned. After Johnson homered, Eovaldi couldn’t seemingly find his way in the fifth as he put two runners on with just one out. He was able to get Neil Walker to hit a shallow fly ball to right field for the second out but Jay Bruce knocked all of the wind out of Yankee Stadium after he belted a three-run home run to put the Mets up 4-0.

Like they did in the second frame, the Yankees compiled a couple base hits and had first and second with just one out. McCann came up and saw a first-pitch fastball right down the middle of the plate and just missed it, popping out to second base. And just like Colon did in the second inning, he escaped allowing no runs after getting Castro on an inning-ending groundout to short. The Yankees offense was a big letdown on Thursday, especially after their nine run outburst Wednesday night.

The Yankees finally chipped away with a run in the seventh inning after rookie Sanchez hit a double -- the first extra-base hit of his career -- and Aaron Hicks drove him in with an RBI single up the middle. Hicks has always been advertised as a better left-handed hitter than a right-handed batter, so it was a strange call to the bullpen by Mets manager Terry Collins to take out Bartolo Colon, who had been coasting, in favor of LHP Jerry Blevins.

The Bombers had something brewing in the ninth inning when both Didi Gregorius and Sanchez notched singles, bringing the tying run to the plate with one out. Rob Refsynder, unfortunately, grounded into a 5-3 double-play to end the game as the Yankees would lose 4-1.

For whatever reason, Nathan Eovaldi can’t put together a full game. Without fail, he has one or two innings where he implodes and the opposing team grabs complete and utter control of the game. As per usual, it’s the home run ball that bit Eovaldi. The 23 home runs Eovaldi has allowed in ‘16 is tied for sixth amongst all pitchers in baseball.

It’s almost impossible to envision a pitcher that can throw the ball 100 MPH at will can get hit so hard on a regular basis. It’s also pretty hard to envision Eovaldi’s future being with the Yankees for many seasons past 2016 if something doesn’t click down the stretch of this campaign.

Win: Bartolo Colon (10-6, 3.46 ERA): 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K
Loss: Nathan Eovaldi (9-8, 4.80 ERA): 7.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 5 K
Save: Jeurys Familia (38)

Notables:
Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-4
Gary Sanchez: 2-4, 2B
Adam Warren: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Kelly Johnson: 1-4, HR (5), RBI
Jay Bruce: 1-4, HR (26), 3 RBI

Article by: James Grande
Follow me on twitter @The_Real_Grande
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