This slab of rubber is called home plate. It is, according to the rule book, “a seventeen-inch square with two of the corners removed so that one edge is seventeen-inches long, two adjacent sides are eight-and-one-half inches each, and the remaining two sides are twelve inches each, set at an angel to make a point.”
Making a point is especially apt here.
In baseball, if a runner successfully navigates around the bases from first, to second, to third, then touches home, it is a run. The team with the most runs win.
A baserunner touching home plate is the most important action in a baseball game. For the last twenty-nine innings that Nathan Eovaldi has pitched, no runner has touched home plate.
He has made a point loud and clear. Right now, there is not a better pitcher in baseball. It turns out, the Cy Young-worthy ace the Rangers signed this offseason wasn’t Jake deGrom. It was Nathan Eovaldi.
That’s not a slight on deGrom. It’s just a nod to how brilliant Eovaldi has been.
Since his crash-and-burn start against, of all teams, the lowly Kansas City Royals on April 12, his third start of the season, in which the thirty-three-year-old right hander gave up six earned runs in five innings in what would be a 10-1 loss, Eovaldi has been otherworldly.
He beat the Royals in his next start. Left with a lead against the Reds during the lost weekend in Cincinnati. Pitched a complete game shutout against the Yankees. Then eight scoreless innings against the Angels.
All he did last night was go eight-and-two-thirds scoreless against Oakland. Struck out twelve. It was total domination.
Right now, Eovaldi owns home plate. And he has no intention of renting it out to anyone else.