NEW YORK -- Cardinals reliever Alex Reyes was an All-Star closer, saving 20 games with a 1.52 ERA during the first half of the season.
But after the All-Star break, Reyes has been hit hard, losing the closer's role to Giovanny Gallegos after he allowed a game-winning home run to the Pirates' Yoshi Tsutsugo on Aug. 29.
Since then, Reyes has become a setup man and his best outing in that role was arguably Monday against the Mets. In the eighth inning, after allowing a single to Michael Conforto to put runners on first and third with no outs, Reyes struck out three consecutive batters in a 7-0 victory. What was impressive was that Reyes fanned the middle of the order, which included Pete Alonso, Javier Báez and Jeff McNeil.
“Look, Alex has been great. He is an All-Star performer,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “He has been good lately. He has great stuff. … Then he took a step back and really made some quality pitches. He was able to go 1-2-3 with three punchouts to end the threat.”
In his last three outings specifically, Shildt noticed that Reyes is trying to work ahead in the count, trusting his stuff and making quality pitches in the strike zone.
“It’s just a matter of quality pitches, not being too fine, be in attack mode and making your pitch that you want in the zone,” Shildt said.