High pitch count leads to short outing for Eovaldi

High pitch count leads to short outing for Eovaldi

JUPITER, Fla. -- A high pitch count led to an earlier departure than Nathan Eovaldi was anticipating, but it didn't sour the right-hander's overall day.

Eovaldi, projected as the Marlins' No. 2 starter, was initially scheduled to throw three innings on Thursday against the Red Sox at Roger Dean Stadium.

But in the first inning, the hard-throwing right-hander got into a bind, needing 36 pitches to get out of a bases-loaded jam.

Even though he didn't allow a run, the Red Sox did their job, making Eovaldi work. The righty's second inning went much more smoothly, as he needed just 13 pitches to retire the side in order.

After logging 49 pitches, Eovaldi's afternoon was finished after two scoreless innings. He struck out four and allowed one hit.

Eovaldi's day was pretty much dictated by his laboring first inning.

"The 36 pitches in the first inning killed that," he said of pitching into the third inning. "I got the guys 0-2, and I tried to do too much with my offspeed pitches and my fastball. I was trying to be too fine, trying to make the nasty pitches. Ended up going 2-2, full count. Guys were fouling them off after they'd seen multiple pitches."

In terms of life on his pitches, Eovaldi was strong. His fastball in the first inning was between 96-98 mph. He threw four changeups, a pitch he is trying to develop. One of them plunked Ryan Lavarnway in the wrist in the first inning.

The second inning was a breeze, as Eovaldi struck out Bryce Brentz and ended his afternoon by striking out Heiker Meneses.

"The second inning was a lot better," Eovaldi said. "As opposed to trying to make it on the corner, or off the plate. Just think down. If it's over the middle, just think down, in the strike zone."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter