There is nothing exceptional about Marco Estrada. I say that not only as a general watcher of baseball, but also a Brewers fan who got to see him pitch from 2010 through 2014. But as he showed us Thursday afternoon in Texas, you don’t need to be exceptional to be effective.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Cole Hamels, who used to be both. Nowadays, he’s typically just the latter. On Thursday, he was neither. Toronto’s offense, with help from Texas’ defense, got to him early and often. They gave Estrada 10 runsa��starting with a five-spot in the thirda��on an afternoon when two would have done the trick.
Yet despite the score, despite the blowout, Estrada never wavered.
Instead, he built off his impressive Blue Jays’ playoff resume that began last year when he allowed just five earned runs over 19.1 innings, all while striking out the opposition 15 times. Game 1 against Texas simply provided more of the same. Estrada went 8.1 inningsa��he’s still never pitched a complete game in his careera��but surrendered just one earned run, allowed four hits, and struck out six. He rarely missed his spots, throwing 72 of his 98 pitches (73.5 percent) for strikes. Almost a quarter of those (22 percent) went for called strikes. Again, it was about being effective.
And largely over the past two seasons, there’s been nothing exceptional about it.
Estrada’s DRA dating back to last year (4.80) is nothing to brag about. And, makes his 3.31 ERA in that same span seem a bit more than just a little lucky. Yet, he’s led the league in H/9 over the last two seasons, with marks of 6.7 and 6.8 respectively. He raised his K/9 from 6.5 last season to 8.4 this year. The only time that mark was ever highera��over the course of a full seasona��was back in 2012 (9.3) when he called Milwaukee home.
All this from a man who gets a ground ball just 36 percent of the time. The same man whose career BABIP rests well below league average (.256). Whatever Estrada’s doing, it’s effective. And, it continues to keep runs off the board.
A long ball kinda night: If the nightcap featured six home runs, would you have guessed the final score would have ended up 5-4… in favor of the team Trevor Bauer started for? Well, because baseball, that’s precisely what happened.
Terry Francona managed his heart out, showing that yes, you can use your dominant relievers whenever you want. And Cleveland held on for a Game 1 victory, proving this stupid idiot (wait, that’s me) wrong for the time being.