Alvarado’s back after missing over a month with a right oblique strain, which has sidelined him since July 6. It’s generally been a trying summer for the 24-year-old Alvarado, who previously missed almost all of June after going on the restricted list because of a family issue. Alvarado had been amid a solid season over its first couple months, as he held a 3.09 ERA as of June 1. While Alvarado has only taken the ball four times since then, opposing offenses have inflicted significant damage to his numbers. He’s now the owner of a 5.06 ERA through 26 2/3 innings on the year.
Alvarado, to his credit, has posted a respectable 3.78 FIP, notched 11.48 K/9 and averaged 98.5 mph on his fastball. But he still hasn’t been the force he was last year, a 64-inning campaign in which Alvarado recorded a 2.39 ERA/2.27 FIP with 11.25 K/9, 4.08 BB/9 and a 55 percent groundball rate. Alvarado’s grounder percentage has shrunk to 45.6 this season, which has helped lead to a notable increase in home runs. After allowing HRs on a meager 2.4 percent of fly balls in 2018, he’s up to 9.5 this year.
Despite Alvarado’s difficult and shortened season, the Rays continue to own a playoff spot in the American League, where they have a two-game lead on the last wild-card position. Alvarado had spent time as their closer earlier this year, but righty Emilio Pagan has been successful in that role in recent weeks.