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OC Register: Angels’ closer Carlos Estévez has ideas to maintain his performance through a whole season


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MINNEAPOLIS — The season was barely a week old when a mini controversy arose because Manager Phil Nevin gave Carlos Estévez a day off when the right-hander said he was ready to pitch.

“Now I understand it,” Estévez said with a laugh on Friday. “Of course (Nevin) knows. He’s seen closers. But I had never experienced it. I understand why I got an off day out of the blue. I was all mad because I didn’t pitch, and now I understand.”

Estévez has pitched in just 61 games this season, which is going to be right in line with his typical total, but he now realizes that the workload isn’t the same when you’re a closer.

“I’ve got to figure out a way to to pitch in high leverage that many times,” Estévez said. “I got more tired than I usually do.”

The obvious inference from that is that fatigue contributed to his rough second half.

He converted his first 23 save opportunities, with a 2.03 ERA, through July 23. Since then, he’s covered seven of 11 save opportunities and he has a 6.53 ERA.

Estévez said he didn’t feel fatigued during games in the second half, but he conceded that his work between starts may have been affected by fatigue, and that in turn caused him to lose his mechanics.

Estévez said there were times late in the season when his pregame throwing sessions weren’t getting the job done.

“I let that mentality of ‘save your bullets,’ get to me,” Estévez said. “And that’s when I think I came off my mechanics.”

Lately Estévez began experimenting with more “dry work,” to lock in mechanics without a ball. He would follow that with some throwing. So even if there were fewer throws, the intensity was higher and the workouts were more effective, he said.

Estévez said he also has a plan for a different offseason workout routine.

“In the offseason, you do maybe two a week high intensity and the other two are recovery,” Estévez said. “But closing games, you don’t get a recovery day.”

In the big picture, Estevez’s performance was still very good. He has a 3.56 ERA with 30 saves in 34 chances. Every reliever in the majors with at least 20 saves also had at least three blown saves. Baltimore Orioles closer Felix Bautista, who had a 1.48 ERA before he got hurt, blew six save opportunities. Cleveland Guardians All-Star Emmanuel Clase had 11 blown saves.

The Angels weren’t sure what to expect out of the 30-year-old Estévez when they signed him to a two-year, $13.5-million deal last winter. He had been a setup man for most of his career with the Colorado Rockies.

“I think he’s had a heckuva year for us, more than probably we anticipated when we signed him,” Manager Phil Nevin said. “We knew what kind of dude he was. He’s been great in the room. He’s helped out these young pitchers a lot, especially the bullpen guys. Really excited to have him back for next year too.”

LOUP’S DONE

Left-hander Aaron Loup’s season came to an end when he was placed on the injured list with a strained shoulder on Friday.

Loup, 35, posted a 6.10 ERA in 55 games. Assuming his $7.5-million option for next year is declined, Loup will finish his Angels career with a 4.86 ERA in two seasons.

“I know he took a lot of heat from fans, which they do,” Nevin said. “It’s understandable, but what they need to know is he was accountable for us every day. He wanted to pitch every day. The results weren’t what he wanted, obviously. He’s a tough dude. He took it took his lumps and came back out the next day and wanted to pitch.”

Right-hander Davis Daniel was recalled to take Loup’s roster spot.

NOTES

Mike Trout (fractured hamate) has begun hitting off a tee. At this point, it seems unlikely that there is time for Trout to make it back this season, but Nevin said the most important thing is for Trout to be healthy enough “to do his full offseason.” …

Infielder Mike Moustakas (bruised wrist) has gone through a full workout. He is expected to be activated when he’s eligible on Sunday. …

Right-hander Jaime Barría (hamstring) is expected to be activated when he’s eligible on Saturday. …

Right-hander Chase Silseth (concussion) was scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday night. His previous rehab outing was cut short because they set a limit of 30 pitches per inning, and he reached that before getting out of the first inning. If Silseth comes through this start well, he could pitch in the majors next week. …

Infielders Sonny DiChiara and Adrian Placencia, outfielder Jadiel Sanchez and pitchers Chase Chaney, Nick Jones, Luke Murphy, Eric Torres and Daniel are going to be the Angels representatives in the Arizona Fall League. They will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

UP NEXT

Angels (TBD) vs. Twins (RHP Sonny Gray, 8-7, 2.84), Saturday, 11:10 a.m., Target Field, Bally Sports West, 830 AM

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42 minutes ago, AngelsWin.com said:

MINNEAPOLIS — The season was barely a week old when a mini controversy arose because Manager Phil Nevin gave Carlos Estévez a day off when the right-hander said he was ready to pitch.

“Now I understand it,” Estévez said with a laugh on Friday. “Of course (Nevin) knows. He’s seen closers. But I had never experienced it. I understand why I got an off day out of the blue. I was all mad because I didn’t pitch, and now I understand.”

so I guess the extra rest given to him by Nevin didn't end up working anyway?

or it just pushed his collapse to August instead of mid-July?

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