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Los Angeles Angels Jose Alvarez needs more control

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May 13, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Los Angeles Angels catcher Geovany Soto (18) talks to relief pitcher Jose Alvarez (48) in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Los Angeles Angels catcher Geovany Soto (18) talks to relief pitcher Jose Alvarez (48) in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
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Los Angeles Angels Jose Alvarez has been manager Mike Scioscia‘s most called upon weapon                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                . Unfortunately, he hasn’t performed quite as well as he is capable.

It took seven appearances this season before Jose Alvarez surrendered his first run, but lately he has had trouble keeping batters off the basepaths.

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The 27-year-old had a 4.15 ERA in both April and May, a bit higher than the 3.49 ERA he compiled last season for the Los Angeles Angels                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    .

One of the biggest reasons for his increased ERA is that he’s struggling to get right-handed batters out, and his inability to control the zone needs to change as the summer months continue.

He also seems to be two different pitchers at home and on the road.

Jose Alvarez Player Grade: B-

Alvarez can be dominant when he needs to be, and where he excels is at home against left handed hitting.

Left-handed hitters are batting .232 against him, while right-handed hitters are hitting a whopping .370.

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Part of that issue stems from his inability to control his slider in ways that he was able to last year.

According to FanGraphs.com, he uses his slider 31 percent of the time, compared to only 23 percent last season. It’s been an effective pitch for him in his career, but seems to be easier for right-handed hitters to read, especially when it hangs over the plate.

Alvarez has also relies less on his fastball, a pitch he used in more than half his pitches (52 percent) last season. This year, that’s down to 43 percent.

But besides his pitch types, Alvarez seems to be living by the motto “there’s no place like home.”

At the Big A, the lefty has a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched, striking out 15 while only walking two. He’s also holding batters to a .235 average.

On the road, Alvarez is a completely different pitcher.

He’s thrown in 12.1 innings and compiled a 6.57 ERA, allowing nine earned runs and 18 hits; hitters are batting .352 and he’s walked six.

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Scioscia seems confident in the native Venezuelan’s production, as he has been called into action 25 times this season, tied with Mike Morin for the most appearances from the Angels bullpen.

His 26 innings pitched are the most among Halos relievers, but batters’ .294 average against him is the second-highest in the bullpen.

Alvarez’s spot in the bullpen doesn’t seem to be in jeopardy, although I thought that about Morin and he was demoted on Monday.

Next: The unconventional lefty

That being said, Alvarez needs to work to control his pitches on the road. We’ve seen what he can do at the Big A, but his end of the year grade will only go up if he can improve his numbers on the road.

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