Chavez allowed one run on two hits while striking out one over one inning in Friday's 8-6 loss to the Athletics. What seems like a moderately ineffective relief appearance was worse. Chavez inherited three runners and allowed all three to score. For the season, he's stranded just two of eight inherited runners. The mechanical tweaks Chavez made last year that produced a career-best 2.55 ERA are not having the same impact in 2019. Friday's outing was the fifth time in seven appearances Chavez has given up runs of his own, and he has an 11.37 ERA.
Chavez has nailed down a spot in the Rangers' bullpen, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. Chavez was roughed up in the Cactus League, giving up eight runs and 12 hits over eight innings, but his spot in the bullpen was never in doubt. The veteran right-hander excelled in 2018, which he credited to lowering his arm angle. He'll do a little bit of everything in the bullpen; from eating innings in mop-up duty when needed to working in high-leverage situations.
Chavez credits a tweak he made in his delivery that produced a career-best 2.55 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 2018, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. While he was with the Rangers early in 2018, at the behest of pitching instructor Hector Ortiz, Chavez lowered his arm angle slightly and released the ball more like an infielder. This resulted in an uptick in velocity and more movement on his fastball. From that point until he was traded to the Cubs on July 19, the right-hander compiled a 2.31 ERA while holding hitters to a .215 batting average in 35 innings. The success continued with the Cubs, for whom he had a 1.15 ERA in 39 innings. Back with the Rangers in 2019, Chavez figures to be a key piece in the bullpen.
Chavez agreed to a two-year contract with the Rangers on Tuesday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. The deal is reportedly worth around $8 million, per Passan. Chavez opened the 2018 season with Texas before being dealt to the Cubs in July. He posted a combined 2.55 ERA and 1.06 WHIP across 95.1 innings with both teams, and was especially good after joining Chicago, notching four saves while posting a 1.15 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 42:5 K:BB across 39 innings for the Cubs. While he likely won't dethrone Jose Leclerc as the Rangers' closer, Chavez will be pitching some of the team's highest-leverage innings out of the bullpen.
Chavez allowed two baserunners but pitched a scoreless 10th inning with two strikeouts to record the save in Thursday's win over the Nationals. With Pedro Strop getting used in the bottom of the ninth inning, Chavez got the call for the 10th with the Cubs up 6-4. The 35-year-old gave up a hit and a walk to get into some trouble, but he also struck out Washington sluggers Bryce Harper and Juan Soto. Chavez now has a strong 2.92 ERA this season, and he's been a welcome addition to the Chicago bullpen since coming over in late July.