Curry is no stranger to being a starter. During his time in the minors, he made 40 starts between the 2021 and 2022 season.
And he knows what success looks like on the mound as well. He has a 17-5 record through 44 appearances during his time in the minors. Despite being moved to the bullpen when he was called up, Curry had no issue with the adjustment.
Earlier this season he talked about how he’s understanding he can be effective coming out of the bullpen and as a starter.
“I’m learning that I can be a versatile type pitcher,” Curry said in an article from cleveland.com. “That bullpen role is not something I’m scared of. It’s just more about embracing the role and just going out there and helping the team whenever my number’s called.”
When he got called up and was placed in the bullpen, he had to make some minor tweaks to his pitching routine.
“The warmup aspect is a little different,” said Curry. “But after doing it a little bit in spring training, and now having it done a couple times under my belt in the season, I’m getting used to it. Like I said, watching other guys, seeing how they keep they warm up and stay ready has helped. And once the phone rings, it’s my time. My body kind of switches into compete mode.”
Curry Looking To Bounce Back From Rough Start
Well now he’s back in the starting rotation and he’ll look to have a bounce back performance after giving up five runs on six hits and a home run in five innings of work against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 11.
Despite Cleveland’s below .500 record, they still have a chance to win the AL Central, and Curry could play a key role headed towards the end of the season.
Each game is crucial for the Guardians, and you better believe Curry understands that and he will look to give his team a fighting chance to win come Thursday. This could be a memorable night for Curry in his start against the boys from the Motor City.
The Cleveland Guardians were one of the teams with a decision to make before last week’s trade deadline; pursue more talent for a potential playoff push or begin to plan for 2024?
When the dust finally settled, it seems the Guardians chose the latter. First, they traded starting pitcher Aaron Civale to Tampa Bay for first-base prospect Kyle Manzardo. That move was followed by trading switch-hitting MLBbro Josh Bell (who was just acquired this offseason) to Miami for prospect Kahlil Watson.
Xzavion Curry Promoted To Starting Rotation
Both moves made by Cleveland will give some younger players an opportunity to play more, but for relief pitcher Xzavion Curry this will facilitate his transition into a completely different role. With Civale gone, Guardians manager Terry Francona plans to move Curry from the bullpen and into the starting rotation.
“We’ve been bouncing him around so much and now that the deadline’s over, everything’s keep him in that spot,” said Francona. “Let him try to incrementally get stretched out and turn him loose”
Throughout his rookie season, Curry has appeared 25 times for the Guardians bullpen while making occasional spot starts. He is currently 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 64.0 IP with Cleveland.
Although his opportunities to start in the majors have come sparingly so far, he is no stranger to taking the mound to set the tone for his ball club. While at Georgia Tech, Curry recorded 40 career starts, three combined shutouts and one complete game shutout over 232.2 innings pitched.
In 38 appearances and 36 starts across the minors before being called up last August, he posted an impressive 16-5 record with a 2.90 ERA with 236 strikeouts in 198.2 innings.
Curry’s four pitch arsenal has relied heavily on the four-seam fastball and slider with tremendous results, as hitters are batting just .227 against Curry’s most used pitches. Sunday’s start saw more of the same as Curry recorded 12 swing and misses, good for a 38.5 whiff percent on his big two.
His start on Sunday against the Chicago White Sox gave Francona the opportunity to see a little more from his young right hander at this big league level.
“He’s a little more positioned, and if we’re going to do this, we don’t have to concern ourselves with, okay, let’s not pitch him too much because we might need him in relief in two days.”
Curry Had Another Solid Start
Curry pitched well Sunday, giving up four hits and two earned runs over five innings pitched while striking out four. Unfortunately, run support never arrived and he would finish the game with a no-decision.
He didn’t factor into the final results but given the Guardians’ history of developing young arms we can expect to see plenty more of Curry in the future.
Xzavion Curry has been the savior of the Guardians’ bullpen, even when that wasn’t his original role for the season.
The 24-year-old is in just his second season in the Majors. In 2022, he was called up in August and September to make two spot starts, but neither panned out in his favor. Curry allowed six earned runs over 9 1/3 innings for Cleveland last year.
But Curry’s productivity has completely shifted in his new role out of the ‘pen.
The right-hander was competing for a roster spot in Spring Training, which would’ve had him coming out of the bullpen. But Curry lost the job to Hunter Gaddis and was optioned to Triple-A Columbus to get more reps and be stretched out as a starter.
Although it didn’t take long before Curry was recalled as the news broke about Triston McKenzie straining his teres major muscle in his final spring start, Gaddis was quickly added to the rotation, and Curry called up to fill his bullpen spot.
“I’m learning that I can be a versatile type of pitcher,” Curry told MLB.com. “The bullpen role is not something that I’m scared of. It’s just more of embracing the role and going out there and helping the team whenever my number is called.”
Over his Minor League career, Curry pitched in 44 games, starting in all but four of those games. Over his Major League career, he’s pitched in seven games, with all five this year coming out of the bullpen.
The 6-foot, 195-pounder has thrown 15 1/3 innings this season, and only one appearance has been for an inning or less. Curry has been stretched multiple times to preserve the bullpen and rescue starters from their disastrous outings.
In his first appearance of the year in Oakland, Curry consumed five innings, allowing just two runs on three hits and picking up three strikeouts after Zach Plesac was knocked out after one inning (plus a few batters) in what became a 10-inning victory. Against the powerhouse Yankees, Curry got through four innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk while fanning three batters. Being able to mow down one of the most dangerous lineups in the league is uplifting for a player in his second year in the bigs, not to mention playing an almost brand-new part.
“It’s really encouraging to be able to go through that lineup and get some bad swings, get some soft contact, get some strikeouts,” Curry said. “It really does boost the confidence to be able to go through that good of a lineup and hold my own.”
In Curry’s appearances this year that have been three innings or less, he’s allowed zero runs and just two hits. Even in a reliever role, he’s proving his ability to get through innings and handle a heavy workload while handling a new task when his team needs it. All signs point to Curry becoming a promising starter in his future.
“I feel like I’ve just been able to come in here and eat up some innings,” Curry said. “You know, save some of those guys’ arms in the bullpen for their specific roles and just be able to help the team get through the game.”