The Arizona Diamondbacks seek to establish late-inning roles for the 2017 season.
At this part of the season, relievers of the Arizona Diamondbacks are not getting the job done.
Escobar, 24, allowed just one earned run in eight of his last nine appearances (0.93 ERA, 9.2 IP).
Chip Hale, manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, planned to use Escobar during middle innings. Yet, the native of Venezuela has shown lately that he can handle pressure situations. As a result, Hale has become more confident in his southpaw.
Relieves of the Arizona Diamondbacks have struggled this year in situations with runners already on base. Through 135 games, 40 percent (93-of-235) of inherited runners have scored. That represents the highest percentage in the majors.
Notwithstanding, Escobar has been the antithesis. He is a perfect seven for seven in that department.
Trust in his stuff has played a big part. One example occurred last Saturday. With two outs in the inning and runners on second and third, Escobar faced Gerardo Parra. After working the count to 2-2, Parra fouled off three fastballs. Escobar finally made the adjustment on the next pitch.
“I just started thinking that I had thrown too many fastballs already,” Escobar said at the time. “So, let’s try a breaking ball, and I got him with a breaking ball right there.”
Introducing Randall Delgado
Right-hander Delgado has not allowed an earned run in 15 of his last 16 games (1.54 ERA, 11.2 IP).
One key for a relievers success is first-pitch efficiency. That has been the Delgado’s forte this season. Opposing batters have hit .228 against him this season.
Delgado’s value stems from his workload. He has logged the ninth, most innings among N.L. relievers (65.1) and the tenth most appearances (64).
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His recent run of success has garnered high praise from the coaching staff.
“We know he’s been pitching so much better,” Hale said after Saturday night’s game with the Rockies.
Escobar and Delgado are not your typical late-inning relievers. Then again, Brad Ziegler does not fit the profile of a typical closer.
Hale needs pitchers to get outs. That is the bottom line. If Escobar and Delgado continue to get key outs late in ballgames, they will stick.
Left-hander Andrew Chafin pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Reno Aces on Sunday night. He struck out one and recorded a hold. Chafin is expected to rejoin the Diamondbacks on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Right-hander Rubby De La Rosa will pitch on Monday for Reno. The Aces conclude a four-game series against the Tacoma Rainiers at 1:35 pm PST. De La Rosa is also expected to rejoin the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. He is scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen.
Hale indicated that catcher Chris Herrmann could also rejoin the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. Herrmann has played six games for the Aces. He is hitting .105 (2-for-19) with three runs scored and three RBI.
The Diamondbacks want to make sure that Herrmann’s timing is where it should be before he returns. If he needs more at-bats, Herrmann could transition to Rookie-level Missoula. The Aces season ends Monday.