Miami Marlins’ Nathan Eovaldi Dominates Early in Second Spring Training Appearance

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi dominated the strike zone early, but came undone in the third inning in a Spring Training game against the New York Mets.

Eovaldi was acquired by the Marlins in a trade last July in which Miami sent Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two pitchers. He struggled overall in 2012, but his numbers got slightly worse when he showed up in South Beach. He posted a 3-7 record with a 4.43 earned run average and 44 strikeouts in 12 starts.

The 23-year-old is hoping to get off to a better start in 2013 and so far, his numbers in Spring Training are a good indication that he will. Eovaldi won his first contest of the spring against the Washington Nationals after not surrendering a hit in two innings. However, his showing on Sunday afternoon versus the Mets is what the Marlins were hoping for when they traded for him.

For 2 1/3 innings, Eovaldi was completely dominating and could not be stopped. He sat down seven straight batters while striking out four in the process. This is the potential teams saw as the right-hander climbed his way up through the minors, posting a career 3.28 ERA in five seasons.

Unfortunately, he was unable to get through the entire third inning as he began to fall apart. He allowed a home run to New York’s third baseman Brandon Hicks and was eventually taken out of the game after he gave up a full-count walk to Omar Quintanilla.

“I think it caught too much of the plate. The wind up there just got enough of it [and] carried it out,” Eovaldi said, referring to the homer he surrendered to Hicks on an 0-2 count.

What started out as an impressive afternoon turned into a line that showed three earned runs on two hits in 2 2/3 innings. This is why Eovaldi has been unable to have a large amount of success in his first two seasons in the big leagues. He shows signs of promise, but cannot get through crucial innings without making mistakes that ultimately cost him and his team.

“The first two innings, I felt like I moved [the ball] in and out real well. I didn’t just stay to one side. I felt like I threw good, low, quality strikes,” he said. “That third inning, I felt like I was just staying away from everybody.”

The good news is Miami has a starter that can clearly throw the ball with success. The problem is they must help him grow his confidence so that he does not feel the need to stay away from hitters the second and third time through the batting order. This is what Spring Training is for and hopefully both parties can get it figured out by the time the regular season rolls around in less than a month.

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