Pagan earned the hold against the Cubs on Monday by pitching a perfect inning and striking out two. The right-hander faced little resistance after taking over in the eighth frame, retiring the side on 10 pitches while fanning two. Pagan has been solid in a setup role for San Diego this season, posting a 2.63 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 31:9 K:BB across 24 innings and tallying seven holds.
Pagan (3-0) allowed a hit and a walk and struck out three in one inning, earning the win in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader versus Colorado. Pagan relieved starter Yu Darvish and worked around a couple of baserunners in the fifth inning. In the sixth, Victor Caratini put San Diego ahead with a grand slam. Pagan has been effective as the primary setup man to closer Mark Melancon this year. Pagan has a 2.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 21:7 K:BB along with five holds and a blown save in 17 appearances spanning 15 innings.
Pagan has made 16 appearances out of the San Diego bullpen this season, posting a 2.57 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 18:6 K:BB to go with five holds over 14 innings. The right-hander notably has a zero in the saves column, as manager Jayce Tingler committed to Mark Melancon as the team's closer Opening Day and hasn't wavered since. Melancon (0.60 ERA, 11-for-11 in save chances) has done his part to maintain his spot atop the depth chart, so those holding Pagan at this point should be doing so mainly for what he can provide in the ratio categories.
Pagan has a good chance to close games for the Padres this season and has been the name most often mentioned by people within the organization as a potential closer, Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The Padres have several potential ninth-inning options, including Mark Melancon and Drew Pomeranz (forearm), but manager Jayce Tingler has expressed a preference for a dedicated ninth-inning arm rather than a committee. Pagan has been an elite reliever in the recent past, saving 20 games for the Rays in 2019 while backing up his 2.31 ERA with an excellent combination of a 36.0 percent strikeout rate and a 4.9 percent walk rate. His numbers fell off hard across the board last year, as he managed just a 26.4 percent strikeout rate, 10.3 percent walk rate and a 4.50 ERA, but he was pitching through pain for much of the season and eventually landed on the injured list with biceps inflammation. Healthy again this spring, Pagan appears to have a very real chance of moving to the top of the closer competition.
Pagan should have a high-leverage role with the Padres this season, but the team has yet to determine how closing duties will be handled, Bill Center of FriarWire reports. Pagan has experience closing -- he saved 20 games for Tampa Bay in 2019 -- but he was used primarily as a setup man in his first campaign with San Diego last season. With veteran closer Mark Melancon brought over in the offseason and Drew Pomeranz fresh off a dominant 2020 campaign that included a temporary ninth-inning role, Pagan does not appear to be the early favorite for save opportunities heading into 2021, though the Padres have not yet determined how the back end of the bullpen will shake out. Manager Jayce Tingler suggested earlier in the week that plans have yet to be finalized, stating, "Are we open to a committee? Open to matchups? We are. We'd love to come out of here saying this is our ninth-inning guy and move forward. This early, I'm not interested in giving anyone that title. Sometimes, the key outs are in the seventh or eighth."
|@ COORS FIELD||1||0.00||1.0||0||3|