What an interesting start to the season for Nathan Eovaldi. He has been destroyed by the long ball, with a league leading 16 allowed. In 10 starts, he has already allowed more dingers than he allowed all of last season. Despite this, he actually sports a pretty decent 3.76 ERA for the year. If he can keep the ball in the yard, he can absolutely dominate a game. Luckily for him tonight, he is pitching in a massive stadium where the ball does not carry much. The A’s are 28th in home runs this season, and 29th at home so I like Nathan to have himself a good night.
When looking at Nathan’s pitches from last year to this year, we do not see a difference in velocity or spin on his pitches. It seems the key difference is his slider. Last year it had 11 inches of horizontal movement whereas this season it only has 6.3 inches. This has resulted in teams crushing his slider for high averages and home runs. In his complete game last outing, Nathan only threw 13 sliders out of 108 pitches. He relied more heavily on his 4 seamer, splitter, and curve ball. I look for him to continue his success tonight against a weaker A’s offense who are dead last in average, on base percentage, and slugging at home. They are also 7th in the league in strikeouts overall, and 8th vs righties. For the season, they have a 24.5% K rate vs righties. Nathan is in the 66th percentile in K rate, 55th percentile in whiff %, and 73rd percentile in chase rate. The chase rate is especially encouraging due to the A’s having the 10th highest chase rate, and having the 2nd worst chase contact %. Nathan has some brilliant offspeed pitches that will keep these A’s bats guessing. I think Nathan works deep into this game and picks up 6+ K along the way