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'Flaco' rejuvenated since move to 'pen for Halos

Righty throws two perfect innings vs. Rangers on Thursday
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Jesse Chavez (aka "Flaco" for Players Weekend) recorded a 5.43 ERA over 21 starts this season before the Angels decided to bump the right-hander from their rotation at the beginning of August.

While the veteran was initially disappointed to shift to the bullpen, the transition has seemingly given Chavez a chance to reset.

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ANAHEIM -- Jesse Chavez (aka "Flaco" for Players Weekend) recorded a 5.43 ERA over 21 starts this season before the Angels decided to bump the right-hander from their rotation at the beginning of August.

While the veteran was initially disappointed to shift to the bullpen, the transition has seemingly given Chavez a chance to reset.

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After tossing two perfect innings in the Angels' 3-0 loss to the Rangers on Thursday night, Chavez has now allowed just one run over 11 innings, with 15 strikeouts and no walks, in his last six relief outings. Chavez was summoned in the sixth to replace rookie Troy Scribner, and promptly retired all six batters he faced.

"I think he kind of caught his breath a little bit," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's been in the bullpen before, so he's comfortable with it. In just this series alone, he gave us five good innings out of the 'pen."

Chavez pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays and Dodgers in 2016, but the Angels signed him during the offseason with the hope of using him as a starter. Chavez made the Halos' rotation out of Spring Training, but his ERA steadily rose each month. He logged a 6.94 ERA in five July starts, then lost his spot in the rotation when left-hander Tyler Skaggs came off the disabled list in early August.

Part of the Angels' rationale for moving Chavez to the bullpen was that he tended to lose effectiveness as he faced hitters more than once in a game. At the time of his demotion, Chavez had held opponents to a .743 OPS the first time through the order, but that figure jumped to .856 the second time and to .973 the third time.

While Chavez has been used in multi-inning stints out of the bullpen, he rarely faces hitters more than twice in relief outings, ameliorating the issue.

"I think he looks good," Scioscia said. "He looks crisp and refreshed. He'll be a big part of our 'pen."

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Jesse Chavez