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HomeSportsBaseballMLB News: Carlos Estevez looks to help Angels chase series win vs....

MLB News: Carlos Estevez looks to help Angels chase series win vs. A’s

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Carlos Estevez was in good company last year, joining Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout as the Los Angeles Angels’ American League All-Star representatives.

But with Tuesday’s contest against the Oakland Athletics in Anaheim, Calif., marking exactly three weeks until the 2024 All-Star Game, Estevez’s chances of a return to the Mid-Season Classic would appear to be nearly nil.

The Angels’ closer, however, figured out a flaw in his delivery and has returned to pitching at a high level. He didn’t pitch in the Angels’ 5-1 win over the A’s on Monday, so he maintained his streak of retiring 24 consecutive batters, which includes eight perfect innings in a row.

The Angels record for consecutive batters retired is 28, set by Mike Witt in 1984 and includes 27 batters in a perfect game. Ricky Nolasco also retired 28 in a row during the 2016 season. The club record by a reliever is 26, set by Raisel Iglesias in 2021.

Estevez struggled early in the season — he had five saves, two blown saves, a loss and a 6.23 ERA by April 30. He approached pitching coach Barry Enright and bullpen coach Steve Karsay, and after reviewing video, it was Karsay who noticed that Estevez was releasing the ball with his wrist at the wrong angle.

“I was dropping my hand on the fastballs,” Estevez said. “That’s why (pitches) were running back over the middle.”

Estevez made the adjustment and the results are evident. In May and June, he has nine saves in 10 chances, a 1.76 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings.

“He’s been attacking the zone,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “He’s been using his pitches in different areas of the zone, so you can’t zero in on one part. In other words, he’s been changing a lot of eye levels.”

Left-hander Tyler Anderson (6-7, 2.48 ERA) will make his 16th start of the season Tuesday for the Angels. Anderson, who is 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA in five career starts versus Oakland, has allowed only one run in each of the six of his past seven starts.

Mitch Spence (4-3, 3.86) will make his eighth start and 19th appearance for Oakland. The rookie right-hander has yet to face the Angels.

Spence was selected by the A’s in the Rule V draft from the Yankees last November, ending his tenure in New York. Spence, though, wasn’t quite ready to quit his other job just yet.

Spence had gotten a job at Target in his home state of North Carolina when the minor league season was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He continued working there in the offseason over the next three years.

He was still working at Target a few weeks after the Rule V draft when he got a call from A’s manager Mark Kotsay.

“I was on my lunch break and it was almost over,” Spence said. “I was packing everything up and my phone rings, and I was like, ‘OK, that’s Mark Kotsay.’ It was a little bit of a panic moment, but it was great. He was just like, ‘Welcome to the team.’ It was kind of surreal.”

Spence would be wise to pitch carefully to Taylor Ward, who belted a two-run homer in the series opener.

Ward also made a leaping catch at the wall for the second straight game for the Angels, who had lost three of four games before Monday’s win.

The A’s have dropped three consecutive decisions.

–Field Level Media

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