BOSTON- Know what the comeback means in baseball on the field and off. Matt Kemp and Nathan Eovaldi define the comeback on the field for the Dodgers and Red Sox in this World Series. Kemp hit a home run Tuesday night at Fenway Park in the opening game which continued his comeback campaign.
And in October, home runs are remembered. This one was the first career World Series home run for Kemp, the 36th player to do that in his first at bat.
“It was a dream come true,” Kemp said. “It’s my first World Series game. Great experience, great stadium, haven’t been here in a while, so great home run, but unfortunate that we lost.”
But this all makes sense for Matt Kemp. His return to the Dodger organization was all about comeback. He posted a .290/.338/.481 slashline with 62 runs, 25 doubles, 21 home runs and 85 RBI in 146 games.
Kemp will start again Wednesday night in Game 2. Manager Dave Roberts has him slotted sixth in the lineup as the designated hitter with David Price on the mound for the Red Sox,
Tuesday night, the Dodgers lost the opener 8-4. Matt Kemp got hold of his pitch and got the right one to hit off Red Sox starter Chris Sale. The ball “sailed” to left field and put the Dodgers on the scoreboard.
Though postseason numbers are not accounted for awards, Matt Kemp will get some votes for NL Comeback Player of The Year.
As the Red Sox continue to make a quest for their first World Series title since 2013, manager Alex Cora is pushing the right buttons. In the event David Price can’t follow up his first postseason win, last week in the ALCS over the Astros, Cora can go to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
And Cora, also the possible AL Manager of the Year, in his rookie season, is known to make the right decisions from the dugout. You don’t lead your team to 108 wins in the regular season by pushing the wrong buttons.
Cora, got his team to 108 wins and usage of the bullpen was a major reason as to why the Red Sox are playing deep in October. He has Nathan Eovaldi, a mid season acquisition from Tampa Bay who could also start game 3 or 4 when the series moves to Los Angeles.
Eovaldi is also in that comeback league. The veteran has recovered from two Tommy John surgeries and with the Red Sox this season he set career bests in WHIP and strikeouts. In 21 combined starts with the Rays and Red Sox, he was able to revive a fastball and the curve.
Tuesday night, Eovaldi threw a perfect 8th inning on 16 pitches in his World Series debut. It was also his second relief appearance this postseason.
“No, he’ll start,” Cora said prior to Game 2. Meaning, Eovaldi is that valuable arm that will get plenty of work this World Series with a start and when needed out of that Red Sox pen.
There could be an opportunity and the call will go to Eovaldi.
“If there’s a window we feel is a good matchup for him, we’ll use him and then we’ll make adjustments,” Cora said. But the major adjustment is how Nathan Eovaldi was able to adapt this season in the transition from a team going nowhere down in Tampa Bay to the first place Red Sox.
Comebacks for two players and key pieces as the Red Sox and Dodgers strive to a World Series championship.