New season, same Garrett Whitlock. At least that's how it feels for Red Sox fans were first started jumping on the pitcher's bandwagon just about this time a year ago.
Heading into his Wednesday night start, Whitlock carries a 0.54 ERA over his 16 2/3 innings, striking out 20 and walking just four. There just hasn't been many of examples of the righty not being dominant while wearing a Red Sox uniform.
But there is a difference. It's subtle, but, according to Whitlock, pretty impactful.
Thanks in part to the help of Nathan Eovaldi, Whitlock has sneakily transformed his 6-foot-5 frame thanks to a conscious effort to change some bad eating habits.
When the 2021 season ended, Whitlock weighed 223 pounds while carrying 16 percent body fat. Now? He is at 210 pounds with a body-fat ratio of 12 percent.
"I was perfectly fine with the weight, but it wasn’t good weight," Whitlock told WEEI.com. "I wanted to focus on losing body fat and getting more lean muscle.
"The body feels better. I feel like I’m in better overall shape. It’s mostly just trying to be in better condition, and not run out of gas. I kind of feel the same pitching, but it’s every day. Last year was the first time I went through 162 (games) and this year I know what my body needs to do in order to be the same all the way through."
He added, "Toward the end of last year I noticed … It was a big difference between my food and big-league food. I was enjoying that big-league food, I guess. I just caught myself eating too much so I consciously made a change."
So, of course Whitlock turned to the teammate he says has "zero" body fat: Eovaldi.
They started with some offseason advice, and then carried over the good habits to spring training with Whitlock living with Eovaldi, Connor Wong and Kevin Plawecki.
"It wasn’t like I gave up anything. I stopped eating out as much. I really talked to Evo about how to pick the right diet and he took me under his wing," Whitlock explained.
"I guess it’s tough, but mentally I was like, ‘I have to do this for my job.’ So I just had to have discipline and do it. ... I definitely feel fast and I feel athletic. The body is moving good."
It certainly seems that way.