On Thursday, Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Carlos Estévez appeared in his 100th road game in a Rockies uniform.
While the milestone is certainly nice, what Carlos Estévez has been doing on the mound lately for the Colorado Rockies has been even better.
With 1.1 innings of scoreless relief during Colorado’s 5-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the 28-year-old Estévez has now held opponents without an earned run in five consecutive outings. Since surrendering earned runs in back-to-back outings on April 8 (Arizona at home) and April 11 (at San Francisco), Estévez has put together 5.2 frames with just one unearned run crossing the plate.
The scoreless string has lowered the right-hander’s ERA down to 3.60 on the season and continues a strong career for Estévez away from Coors Field.
In 100 career road appearances, Estévez now has a 3.19 ERA (90.2 innings pitched and 32 earned runs allowed). Meanwhile, at Coors Field, Estévez has a 6.49 ERA (105 appearances, 102.2 innings pitched, and 74 earned runs allowed).
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That’s history, of course, for Estévez, who has had his peaks and valleys for the Rockies since making his Major League debut on April 23, 2016. Some of those valleys are pretty recent as well, including a 2020 campaign when Estévez started strong, but then faltered after being hit in the hand by a comeback shot against the Texas Rangers at Coors Field on August 16.
Colorado manager Bud Black often reminds media members that it will take the vast majority of the Rockies bullpen performing at a high level at the same time for the team to succeed. Estévez has certainly done his part in recent games, including on Tuesday when he recorded a save against the Giants, his first save since that comebacker that ended the Texas game last August. That save in San Francisco also ended Colorado’s futility away from home in 2021, giving them their first road victory in eight tries.
After Tuesday’s loss, Colorado is now 1-9 away from Denver on the season
On Tuesday, Estévez needed just 11 pitches to retire four batters, including one pitch to get Nick Ahmed to fly out to center field and end the fifth inning with two Diamondbacks on base.
"“I like where the velocity of the fastball has ticked up,” Black said following Thursday night’s loss. “The slider seems to be improving, so those are good signs.”"
It’s also a good sign that Estévez is currently hitting his location, including working some pitches high in the strike zone up to get quick outs in Tuesday’s outing.
"“By design, there are times when Carlos is going to throw a ball at the top of the zone,” Black said. “You know, 96 or 97 with good velocity at the top end of the zone is tough to hit.“Carlos is going to pitch it at both ends of the zone. He’s going to pitch at the top with his velocity and get the ball down with his fastball and slider.”"
If Estévez can continue to work around the zone with his pitches, it’s a good sign for a Rockies bullpen in need of some good news after losing Yency Almonte to the 10-day injured list on Tuesday with a right hand contusion.