When Jorge Reyes made the move from Double-A in 2011 to Triple-A this season, it took some getting used to and did not start out easily for the Tucson Padres pitcher.
After his first six starts with the team, Reyes owned a 6.60 ERA.
But after a rocky beginning, the 24-year-old bounced back to produce his third consecutive quality start on Saturday and received the win in the Padres’ 6-2 victory over the Nashville Sounds.
He went 7 innings on 8 hits, 2 runs, 5 strikeouts and 1 walk.
“At first, I was a little nervous coming up here (to Triple-A), because I had heard some things about the league,” Reyes said. “But then I got settled in and started not thinking so much. I just started going out there and doing what I do.”
After giving up two solo homeruns and a total of five hits in the first two innings on Saturday, Reyes pitched five scoreless innings and allowed just three hits the rest of the night.
“Sometimes when he first goes out there, he gets a little too excited and hopped up on adrenaline,” Padres manager Terry Kennedy said. “But once he settles down, he really has good stuff. He got his secondary pitches working well later in the game tonight and had a great outing.”
In his last three starts, Reyes has given up just 4 runs in 21 innings for a combined 1.74 ERA, bettering his season ERA to 4.61.
“I used a little bit of everything tonight,” Reyes said. “The second time through in the lineup, I started pitching backwards – using backdoor sliders and going to the splitter with two strikes. I tried to set them up inside and then go to the off-speed stuff.”
“Our pitching coach has wanted me to go deeper into ballgames. So I’ve been trying to attack more at the beginning of the game– stay fastball aggressive early on – and then work from there.”
In his first six starts, Reyes did not pitch more than 6 innings. In his last three starts – all quality outings – he has worked 7 innings.
“Reyes is a tough competitor,” Padres pitching coach Steve Webber said. “He’s not afraid to throw his fastball at any time. He’s always around the plate and attacking hitters. Just a great competitor.”
The road to Triple-A
Reyes was first drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 17th round in 2009. Since then, he has climbed his way up the organization and gained more playing time at each level.
He began his minor league career on the Eugene Emeralds, their Short-A team, and tallied just three pitching appearances. The following season, Reyes pitched for the Lake Elsinore Storm in Single-A and had an increased 18 appearances at 77 1/3 innings.
By 2011, the right-hander found himself on the Double-A squad in San Antonio and threw more than 112 innings in 33 appearances before joining the Tucson Padres in 2012.
“There are some smart hitters at this level, and you definitely can’t make mistakes up here,” Reyes said. “That’s the biggest difference (between Double-A and Triple-A) – If you make a mistake in Double-A, you might get away with it, but in Triple-A, you don’t.”