For the back end of the Colorado Rockies bullpen to succeed, Carlos Estevez simply has to be more productive. Here are a pair of areas where Estevez has to be more dominant.
Brought into a scoreless game in the bottom of the ninth in San Diego on Monday night, Estevez gave up a single to Greg Garcia to open the frame. With pinch-runner Jorge Mateo on first, Jurickson Profar, the next batter, doubled to right field to plate Mateo and give the Padres a 1-0 win over the Colorado Rockies inside Petco Park.
From the Rockies perspective, the problem with both hits is that Garcia and Profar each had two strikes on them when they made what would be the combination of hits to win the game. Garcia singled on a 1-2 pitch and Profar came through on an 0-2 pitch.
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Unfortunately for Colorado, Estevez has been surrendering hits with two strikes at an alarming rate this season. Including last night, batters (in 17 plate appearances) who had an 0-2 count against the 27-year-old right-hander had a slash line of .294/.412/.706. When Estevez is ahead in the count overall this season, batters (in 39 plate appearances) are posting a .333/.333/.436 line.
Interestingly enough, batters are hopping on Estevez early this season. In 11 at-bats, on the first pitch, Estevez has a .455/.500/1.182 line with a stunning 1.682 OPS.
Let’s look specifically at the problems with 0-2 this season. For his career (173 plate appearances), Estevez has limited batters to a .183/.220/.268 line. Certainly, 2020 is a smaller sample size, but the jump in batter production is alarming.
And when Estevez has been ahead in the count in his career (282 plate appearances), he has succeeded as well, holding batters to a .236/.242/.344 slash line.
Coming off a 2019 campaign where he posted a 3.75 ERA and ERA+ of 139 in 71 games (72.0 innings), Estevez has given up 26 hits in 19.2 innings so far this season. He has also given up at least one run in four of his last five outings. Returning to success for Estevez will center around rediscovering his success with two strikes and being ahead in the count.