Alvarez pitched two innings, allowing one hit and two walks as the opener in Saturday's game versus the Dodgers. The spotless performance gives Alvarez a 3.57 ERA and 1.46 WHIP through 23 appearances spanning 22.2 innings this season. The reliever has also snagged a save and four holds while striking out 15 batters.
Alvarez will be used as an opener Saturday against the Dodgers, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. In many ways, it's surprising that a forward-thinking manager such as Gabe Kapler took until now to embrace the opener trend. The platoon-heavy Dodgers make for an ideal candidate to test the system against, with both righty Vince Velasquez and lefty Cole Irvin available in long relief. The move guarantees that Alvarez will pitch, but it also means he'll face the toughest part of the Dodgers' order and will not get the chance for a win.
Alvarez allowed one run in a scoreless inning and secured his first save of the season Sunday against Miami. It was a quick seven-pitch inning for Alvarez, who gave up a leadoff single before getting two ground balls to end the ballgame. After surrendering eight hits and five runs (four earned) over his previous two appearances (three innings), a strong showing was just what the 29-year-old lefty needed to gain some confidence back. The Phillies continue to deploy a closer-by-committee approach, but the southpaw probably won't be heavily involved.
Alvarez (0-1) took the loss Tuesday against the Nationals, allowing four runs on six hits (including one homer) while striking out two in 1.1 innings. The lefty was able to retire Adam Eaton to close out the ninth inning and send the game to extras, but he couldn't get the job done in the 10th frame. He allowed five straight hits to start that inning, with a Juan Soto three-run homer doing most of the damage. Alvarez has now allowed multiple runs in two of his first four appearances this season.
Alvarez agreed to a one-year, $1.93 million contract Friday that allowed him to avoid arbitration, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports. Alvarez was traded from the Angels to the Phillies in early December, and he's expected to open the 2019 season in his new team's bullpen. His solid 2.71 ERA with 59 strikeouts over 63.0 frames a year ago were the best numbers he's posted during his young career, and he could see plenty of mid-to-high-leverage opportunities if he keeps it up.