NEW YORK — A major theme of Friday’s pitching matchup at Yankee Stadium when the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees continue their four-game series will be the long road that Nathan Eovaldi and Jonathan Loaisiga took to reach the mound.
For Eovaldi Womens Marian Hossa Jersey , is it his fourth start with the Tampa Bay Rays after a second Tommy John surgery. For Loaisiga, it is his major league debut with the New York Yankees after a quick ascent through the minors following Tommy John surgery and missing two seasons.
The Yankees opened the series with a 4-3 victory Thursday when Gleyber Torres hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning off Blake Snell. Torres leads all rookies with 13 homers and 33 RBIs, and the Yankees are 11-3 in their last 14 games and 11-2 in their last 13 home games.
Matt Duffy homered for the Rays, who are on a seven-game road losing streak after striking out 15 times. The Rays also are 4-10 in their last 14 games overall.
Eovaldi, who was 23-11 with a 4.45 ERA in 51 appearances (48 starts) in two seasons for the Yankees, is 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in his first three starts for the Rays. Though he said his velocity is coming back, he is averaging 97 mph on his fastball, which is roughly the same he averaged on the pitch with the Yankees.
“For sure, the fact that I’ve been throwing the ball good as it is (is nice),” Eovaldi said Thursday. “So I’m going to try to keep doing that with my fastball command and really make sure I execute the off-speed pitches and get them down. Other than that, when you step between the lines, it’s about going out there and competing.”
“I know Nate really appreciated his time here, but, no, I’m not overly concerned,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s been so focused on what he’s doing and kind of his surroundings, and he’s thrown the ball well for us since he’s gotten back. I think that focus won’t change, and it won’t change just because he’s facing a former team.”
Eovaldi last pitched Sunday in a 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners when he allowed three runs and four hits in five-plus innings. He allowed a solo homer to Nelson Cruz and a two-run homer to Mike Zunino while throwing 102 pitches, his most since Aug. 4, 2016, against the New York Mets.
“I feel like I’ve been throwing the ball well,” Eovaldi said. “I’ve been recovering better now that we’ve been getting into kind of a five-day routine of things. I feel like my arm really hasn’t been as sore as when I first started from my rehab.”
Eovaldi is the 35th player to pitch after multiple Tommy John surgeries and the 13th to start a game.
He is facing the Yankees for the first time. He is 10-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 appearances (23 starts) at Yankee Stadium.
Eovaldi was one of those young low-cost pitchers the Yankees were hoping to develop. Now Loaisiga is one as he fills in for Masahiro Tanaka Patrick Kane Jersey , who injured both hamstrings last Friday against the New York Mets.
Loaisiga is pitching above Double-A for the first time and is 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 10 combined starts with Double-A Trenton and Class A Tampa this season. He attended spring training with the Yankees after being added to the 40-man roster in November.
“I’m excited to see him pitch here,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s a guy with a really good arm, really simple athletic delivery, and I think a big reason why he’s the guy we chose is that we feel like his stuff is excellent, but his delivery is low-maintenance enough that it should allow him to step up.”
The 23-year-old originally was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 2012, and the Yankees signed him in February 2016. He was 8-1 in the Dominican Summer League in 2013 but did not pitch again until 2016 because of Tommy John surgery.
“It’s been a tough road for me to get here, and now it’s about enjoying this moment and this opportunity and trying to help this team win,” Loaisiga said through an interpreter. “I’m focused on winning; it’s everything for us and I’m looking forward to it.”
Loaisiga is the 15th native of Nicaragua to appear in the majors and the 11th pitcher. He is the first native of Nicaragua to appear in a game for the Yankees.
The career leader in wins by a Nicaraguan is Dennis “El Presidente” Martinez. Martinez won 245 games from 1976 to 1998 with Baltimore, Montreal, Cleveland, Atlanta and Seattle, and Loaisiga is aware of his impact.
“He’s a baseball ambassador,” Loaisiga said. “You look up to him as a kid, because he’s proof you can make it to the big leagues. For us, it’s following in his footsteps, and hopefully doing well and representing Nicaragua well.”
The Houston Astros‘ offense looks to be back on track.
After totaling 21 runs in their previous seven games, the World Series champs have scored in double-figures in each of their last two.
Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman each homered and Charlie Morton won his 11th as the Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 12-6 Saturday for their fifth straight win.
”I think we’re swinging the bats well and playing good baseball,” Bregman said. ”I think offensively, we have a done a good job of passing the baton to the next guy, and if we continue to do that, we will be successful.”
Morton (11-2) allowed five runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander has won four of his last five starts.
”I feel bad for Charlie because he got a little nickel and dimed at the end with a few soft hits and an ill-timed walk and then a well-placed, bases-clearing double Kyler Fackrell Jersey ,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ”I thought his stuff was really good at the end. . That saying that he pitched better than the line indicates, that’s going to be the day today. Still a winning pitcher, still a guy that gave us a chance to win.”
James Shields (3-10) allowed a season high-tying eight runs on a season-high 10 hits with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings for the White Sox, who have lost four straight. Shields had allowed one run over his prior two starts.
”Just wasn’t my day today,” Shields said. ”I’m just not really happy about not going deep in the game. I’m really trying to save this bullpen. These guys are taxed. I really wanted the ball and be that guy to go deeper in the game.”
Gurriel, who also had an RBI single in the eighth, hit a three-run homer to left field to increase Houston’s lead to 4-0 in the third inning.
Josh Reddick had a run-scoring fielder’s choice and Evan Gattis added an RBI single to push the Astros’ advantage to 6-1 in the fifth. However, Matt Davidson had an RBI single with the bases loaded and Omar Narvaez followed with a three-run double to pull Chicago within one in the sixth, chasing Morton.
Bregman’s two-run homer in the bottom of the inning extended Houston’s lead back to three.
”A 2-0 count, I was trying to get something over the middle of the plate,” Bregman said. ”I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on it.”
Bregman finished a triple shy of the cycle to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
”He’s doing everything right in the batter’s box as far as seeing the ball, his selectiveness, his approach is A-plus,” Hinch said. ”Bat-to-ball has been exceptional.”
Max Stassi hit an RBI double in the second and an RBI single in the eighth for the Astros. Marwin Gonzalez added an RBI single in the seventh as every Houston starter had a hit. Houston won 11-4 Friday night.
”It’s an excellent ball club, let’s face it they’ve got guys that swing the bat up and down the lineup,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said of the Astros. ”They’ve got an air of confidence that they play with, which comes with the things that they’ve accomplished. It’s natural.”
Avisail Garcia hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and a solo home run on to the train tracks in left in the eighth for Chicago. Garcia has five home runs in his last six games.
The Astros promoted top prospect, outfielder Kyle Tucker from Triple-A Fresno. Tucker, who was named to the Pacific Coast League’s All Star team, was hitting .306 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs. He went 1 for 4 with a single and run scored in the seventh and an RBI walk in the eighth to go along with three strikeouts. The Astros optioned outfielder Jake Marisnick to Fresno in a corresponding move.
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson returned to the lineup. Anderson was out Friday after being hit on the left forearm the previous day. Anderson went 0 for 4 and reached on an error in the fifth.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (5-7) will make his 18th start of the season in the series finale. Giolito is 2-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his last eight stars and gave up nine runs in two innings in his last start against the Astros on April 21.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-8) is looking for his third straight win. Keuchel allowed two runs over seven innings in his last start Tuesday against the Rangers.