With a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, four pitches were enough. Nate Pearson, 27, of the Toronto Blue Jays, earned an emotional first save four years after making his major league debut.
Pearson took the mound with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox in game two of the 2023 Major League Baseball doubleheader at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on Sunday (July 7) and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the save.
It was his first save since joining the major leagues in 2020. Injuries and poor command of his pitches have kept him from living up to his reputation as Ryu’s heir apparent. This season, however, he hasn’t been sick and has become a fireballer who throws his own pitches. At 27, it’s hard to call him a prospect, but he’s finally starting to earn his keep. He’s not a starter, but he’s earned a spot in the bullpen.
On June 19, he gave up three runs in ⅔ of an inning against the Texas Rangers and five runs in ⅓ of an inning against the Miami Marlins. It was surprising, as Pearson had been steady all season, but it was definitely a change of pace, as he went on to throw five straight scoreless innings.
Toronto played a doubleheader that day. The mound was exhausted. In a one-run, tough-save situation, Pearson was called upon, and he lived up to the expectations of the bench. In the bottom of the eighth, with the bases loaded, the first batter he faced was Luis Roberts Jr. He took a two-pitch slider on the body and hit it to center field. He stole second base to tie the game.
But Pearson induced Eloy Jimenez to ground into a 96.7-mph double play at 3B1S. It touched 100 mph, but he didn’t overdo it and focused on his command. It was caught on the outside borderline and out of harm’s way.
Then the ninth over was coolly ended in just four balls. A first-pitch slider to leadoff hitter Andrew Vaughn was driven up the middle and into left field. Jake Bauer followed with a slider up the middle that was hit into center field. He fired a curveball to pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal, who hit it 97.1 mph on a two-seam fastball that was also hit into center field for the save. 안전놀이터추천
Pearson still isn’t a borderline pitcher, but he’s not conscious of it. Even if he has a bad pitch, he pitches boldly and gets help from his hitters. The ball has a lot of power, so it doesn’t get hit hard. He seems to have realized that running pitches aren’t good and has learned to pitch off-speed to get outs.
With his fastball, he might be better suited as a setup man or closer than a starter. Toronto has had starting pitching woes all season, but Pearson, who has excelled out of the bullpen, is not a starter. In 24 appearances this season, Pearson is 5-1 with a 3.90 ERA, one save and one hold.