After making just 10 starts at Double-A in 2013, it might have seemed as though an Opening Day assignment to Triple-A was a bit premature for 21-year-old Edwin Escobar. Not exactly.
San Francisco's No. 2 prospect made a minor mechanical tweak ahead of his fourth start and thrived with seven shutout innings in Triple-A Fresno's eventual 2-1 loss to Reno on Sunday.
"I made my adjustments. I came out from my last start with a different plan to keep my elbow up and that worked for me," Escobar said.
The southpaw struggled through his first three outings of the 2014 season, allowing 12 earned runs over 12 2/3 innings for an 8.53 ERA and a .379 opponents' average against. Some work on his delivery this week sparked a massive improvement.
"It was a little thing with my elbow," Escobar said. "I tried to keep my elbow up and follow through toward home plate, and that was it. That was the problem right there. As soon as I threw my first pitch, I said, 'Wow. I know the difference.' My fastball was going straight toward home plate, way different from my past couple of games."
The seemingly miniscule adjustment made all the difference for Escobar, who faced just two over the minimum while giving up two hits in his best and longest start of the season. He struck out five without issuing a walk in line for what would have been his first win in the Pacific Coast League.
"I think watching those guys and tracking a lot, they make adjustments very quick [in Triple-A]," Escobar said. "I made my adjustments here, and I can compete with those guys too."
The Grizzlies led until after Escobar's exit because of a first-inning RBI groundout by Adam Duvall. Once they got to the visiting bullpen, though, the Aces went to work.
Fresno reliever George Kontos (0-2) gave up a one-out double to Blake Lalli and a two-run homer by No. 19 D-backs prospect Nick Ahmed.
Aces starter Charles Brewer was the beneficiary. Brewer (2-2) allowed one run on six hits and a walk with one strikeout over seven innings.
But for Escobar, Sunday may have marked the turning of a corner to get his season on track.
"I just want to keep working with my mechanics and focus on my elbow and keep doing my job that I did today," he said.