Eovaldi could lose rotation job for rest of year

Eovaldi could lose rotation job for rest of year

NEW YORK -- The tale of two halves has the Marlins considering finding a replacement for Nathan Eovaldi in the rotation. Eovaldi endured another tough loss on Tuesday night, giving up six runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 9-1 loss to the Mets at Citi Field.

Since the All-Star break, the hard-throwing right-hander is 1-8 with a 6.04 ERA. It's a dramatic turnaround from his 5-4 mark with a 3.61 ERA in the first half.

Eovaldi's rotation spot comes up on Sunday at Marlins Park against the Nationals. But the club has not announced whether he will start.

"We need to get him better," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Wednesday. "It's been a struggle, a battle for him in the second half."

Miami's No. 2 starter when the season opened, Eovaldi is 6-12 with a 4.48 ERA in 31 starts this year. He's logged a career-high 186 2/3 innings, compared to 106 1/3 innings last year when he missed the first few months with a right shoulder injury.

Manager Mike Redmond, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and general manager Dan Jennings have taken part in conversations of what to do next.

"Obviously, he's in uncharted waters with his innings," Hill said. "We've talked internally. We'll see where we go with his situation."

Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani are options to start if Eovaldi is lifted from the rotation. Eovaldi's rotation spot falls on Sunday, and on Sept. 27 at Washington.

"We know he's better than he's shown," Hill said. "We'll look at a number of things with him. He just hasn't pitched to the level we think he is capable of pitching. That's obvious."

Eovaldi is dealing with some mechanical issues, which are leading to him missing his spots, often badly. His velocity remains high. According to Fangraphs.com, Eovaldi's average fastball is 95.8 mph, which is tied for the fourth highest among any starter.

The Marlins don't see Eovaldi as a reliever candidate when Spring Training begins next February.

"A lot of times when you think of starters moving to the bullpen, it's when there are short glimpses with velo, and then it falls off," Hill said. "It's not a falling off situation for him. There are probably some mechanical issues with him that we need to address. He needs to make better pitches and improve the consistency of his secondary pitches to allow him to be effective. Right now, he's definitely a starter."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.