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Posts tagged with "Marco Estrada"

Weird call (and lack of offense) ends Brewers win streak

Marco Estrada pitched well, but the Brewers offense let him down.

Good:

Estrada didn’t have his best stuff, but lasted 6.1 and only gave up a single unearned run.

Carlos Gomez and Yuniesky Betancourt accounted for most of the Brewers’ offense, including back to back doubles in the 9th. They had 4 of the Brewers’ 7 hits.

The bullpen continues their resurgence with Mike Gonzalez, Tom Gorzelanny, and Burke Badenhop all throwing parts of scoreless innings.

Bad:

The top of the order was mediocre. The Brewers actually out-hit their opponents, which didn’t happen as much as you would have thought during their streak. The issue was they couldn’t string anything together.

Rickie Weeks had 2 errors, including one that allowed a runner to score off of a sacrifice bunt.

Martin Maldonado was called out on runner’s interference to end the game.

I saw the replay of this and my gut reaction was that it was a foul ball. The rules are unclear, but I’ve never seen a play this close not called a foul ball. Bill Schroeder mentioned that he can’t remember it ever being called like this either and he played catcher (not to mentioned as been a TV color guy for many years). Ron Roenicke pleaded his case to no avail. It is a frustrating way to end the game, but I wouldn’t say the Brewers got jobbed or anything. They had opportunities to score and failed. 

The Brewers had off today and are back in action against the Dodgers tomorrow. Hiram Burgos takes the mound against Josh Beckett. Burgos was impressive in his major league debut last Saturday. Beckett has struggled to open the season.

Brewers score 4 runs in the 8th, 9th, and 10th to steal one from the Cardinals

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Marco Estrada pitched fairly well, giving up 3 runs in  6 innings. Although 3 runs may as well be 300 runs the way the Brewers have been scoring runs.

Good:

  • They notched the win. Hell, they scored runs. There scoreless streak was up to 31 innings.
  • The bullpen of Tom Gorzelanny, Jim Henderson, Brandon Kintzler, Mike Gonzalez, and Burke Badenhop combined for 4 inning of shutout ball. Kintzler got the win and Badenhop got the save. More on the bullpen usage later.
  • Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy each had home runs and Lucroy and Carlos Gomez each had 3 hits. Jean Segura and Yuniesky Betancourt had two hits each. Betancourt hit a double to knock in Gomez to tie the game. More on that later too.

Bad:

  • The Brewers needed 12 hits to scratch across 4 runs, partially because of 3 double plays and batting 0-8 with runners in scoring position.
  • Rickie Weeks and Martin Maldonado are the only two starters that didn’t collect a hit. Weeks had a fantastic first series, but is 3-30 since. 
  • Ron Roenicke’s bullpen management.

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You can’t really see where the plate is, but upon replay Allen Craig looked like he got a hand on the plate just before the tag. At the time it didn’t matter, but in hindsight it could have changed the outcome of the game.

The Brewers were really lucky today for a variety of reasons. First, the possible missed call at the plate. Second, the Cardinals SERIOUSLY fucked up on the game tying play. And third, Ron Roenicke continues to make questionable pitching moves.

One has to wonder why Shane Robinson was playing so shallow with Betancourt up to the plate and a really fast runner on 1st. The only thing I can think of is they were trying to keep Gomez at 2nd base if Betancourt hit a single, but even that is stupid. With the way the Brewers have been shooting themselves in the feet with double plays and untimely strikeouts he should have been playing it safe. It looked like he took a bad angle to the ball too, but I could be mistaken. What can’t be mistaken is the result. The ball got to the wall and Robinson had to run a mile and a half to get it. Gomez could have ran home backwards and made it standing up.

As for Roenicke, because the bullpen was able to lock down the win and the save he will probably avoid too much criticism for his use of the bullpen arms that are actually pitching well. Because he used Gorzelanny, Henderson, and Kintzler in the 7th, 8th, and 9th he was a bit behind the eight ball when they took the lead in the 10th. He decided to get a 2nd inning out of Kintzler, which was the safe choice. (Or at least the choice he would have received the least criticism for if it blew up in his face.) Kintzler only threw 10 pitches in the 9th, so he was probably fine. Unfortunately, after getting David Freese to fall behind 0-2, he ended up throwing 4 straight balls to put the lead-off, tying runner on base. A sacrifice bunt later and he was lifted for Mike Gonzalez to face the left-handed hitting Matt Carpenter, who he got to fly out for the 2nd out of the inning and it kept Freese on 2nd. They intentionally walked Matt Holliday, which was the smart thing to do. Then he made the choice to bring in Badenhop, who hasn’t been the picture of consistency. That was when everyone knew he was going with the “anybody but Axford” gambit. I actually was a little surprised with his choice of Badenhop over Axford, even if Axford has been hot garbage this year. 

In the end, I understand why Roenicke used the bullpen like he did, because keeping the Cardinals within 3 runs was important. Also, it isn’t like he has a ton of quality arms to choose from. Henderson, Gorzelanny, and Kintzler have all been pretty good and the rest of the bullpen has been terrible. It is just unfortunate that he couldn’t have one of those guys available to shut the door. The tactics can be questioned, but you can’t argue with the results. It is about time the ball bounced in the Brewers favor.

The Brewers are off tomorrow. On Tuesday the Giants come to town and Wily Peralta squares off against Barry Zito. 

On a side note, this is the first time all year that I’ve seen some disparaging remarks on the #Brewers tag from fans of the other team. Just another case of Cardinals fans being what they are, I guess. If your team had Mark McGwire you aren’t allowed to talk shit about Braun being a cheater. That should go without saying. That goes double for Giants fans and Bonds.

Apr 8

Brewers finally win! But made it interesting in the 9th

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Marco Estrada turned in a very nice performance and only the 2nd quality start by a Brewers pitcher this year.

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Norichika Aoki and Rickie Weeks celebrate a run.

Good:

  • Aoki, Ryan Braun, and Martin Maldonado led the way offensively with 3 hits each. Maldonado had 3 RBI.
  • Estrada went 7 innings and only gave up 2 runs. Other than a 2 run home run in the 2nd he kept the Cubs at arms length. He never allowed more than a single base runner in an inning other than the 2nd.
  • Tom Gorzelanny angered me after his first outing, but he has pitched in 5 of the last 6 games and performed very well. 

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Go-Go SMASH!!!

Bad:

  • Rickie Weeks freefall continues. He is 0-10 with 6 K’s in his last 2 games. Ouch.
  • Maldonado had an error in the 9th that loaded the bases, mainly because he was playing 1st base. Injuries have seriously depleted the infield.
  • Brandon Kintzler had a rough outing after a nice start to the season. He faced 3 hitters allowing 3 hits and failing to get an out. Jim Henderson came in and eventually got out of the jam, but not before giving up a hit that scored an inherited runner. Maldonado’s error happened right after that. He got the final two hitters out to get the save.

I mentioned earlier my frustration with the Ryan Braun injury situation, so I won’t get into it again. I’m glad he is back and hitting as well as ever, but it would have been nice to see him yesterday afternoon. 

It sounds like the injury bug has bitten the Brewers yet again. Chris Narveson will head to the 15-day DL with a sprained finger. Because the Brewers are planning on skipping Mike Fiers’ next start, they will call up a position player to take Narveson’s spot. Go to Grantland to read Jonah Keri’s thoughts on the makeup of the Brewers’ roster. It isn’t pretty.

Tomorrow the Brewers try to keep the ball rolling and send Wily Peralta to the mound to face the Cubs’ Travis Wood. 

Brewers reach an agreement with John Axford, rest of arbitration eligible players

The Brewers avoided arbitration with closer John Axford today. Axford’s deal is $5 million for 1 year with a variety of incentives.

The Brewers also avoided arbitration with pitcher Burke Badenhop and Marco Estrada.

Last week they signed Carlos Gomez. 

Those were the only 4 Brewers that were arbitration eligible and not signed.

Inconsistent Brewers can’t sweep the Cubs

Once again a Brewers starter pitches very well and doesn’t figure into the decision.

Good:

  • Norichika Aoki had two hits, including his first major league triple. He also walked.
  • Marco Estrada gave up two solo home runs, but otherwise pitched very well. He went 6 innings and struck out 4. Kameron Loe got the tough luck loss after getting stuck with an unearned run because of an Edwin Maysonet error. He shouldn’t have given up any runs.
  • Maysonet and Taylor Green combined on an impressive double play early in the game and Corey Hart made a nice diving grab.

Bad:

  • That sound you may have heard during the game was all of the people leaping off of the Maysonet bandwagon. He had a rough day at the plate and a so-so day in the field. He started a nice double play, but made an errant throw that allowed in the run that gave the Cubs the lead for good.
  • The offense was frustratingly inconsistent again. Winning 2 out of 3 games in a series is good, especially when the Brewers are stuck making up ground because of a poor start, but it is frustrating to NEVER win the final game of a series. The Brewers have won 1 series finale, and that came against the Cardinals after they were pounded in the first two games.
  • Manny Parra and Vinnie Chulk both got knocked around bad. They failed to keep the game close, giving the Brewers no shot at making a late comeback. I expect Chulk to be heading back down the AAA very soon.
  • Ron Roenicke still continues to bunt in strange situations. Corey Hart has had an up and down year, he started strong, went into a bad slump, and is now starting to pull out and hit again, but Roenicke had him bunting with no outs and runners at 1st and 2nd. It is possible that Hart decided to bunt on his own, which would have been equally as stupid. Then, with Cesar Izturis on 3rd and 1 out, Norichika Aoki was swinging away and Izturis ended up getting throw out at home on a contact play. STOP GIVING AWAY OUTS!!!

The Brewers play tomorrow in New York against the Mets. The Brewers send Yovani Gallardo to the mound against the Mets’ Miguel Bautista.

Chris Narveson is done for the season

After seeking a second opinion, Narveson will have surgery to repair the tear in his rotator cuff and will miss the remainder of 2012. Anytime you lose a starting pitcher for the season it isn’t good news, but if the Brewers were to lose a guy it may as well be the #5 starter. It looks like the job as 5th starter is going to be Marco Estrada’s for the near future. When Narveson went down (and Kameron Loe went on the bereavement list) both Mike McClendon and top prospect Wily Peralta were called up from AAA Nashville. Today Loe came back and Peralta was sent down. Hopefully Estrada continues his success as a starter. He was a solid fill-in last season and he had a great start against the Rockies even though he got the no-decision. As the season goes on he will be able to go deeper into games and control his own destiny a bit better. And if he were to falter Peralta and Michael Fiers will probably be the first guys to get a shot at the spot. Narveson will be back next season, barring a setback during rehab.

Offense comes alive, Brewers win 9-4

Marco Estrada filled in brilliantly for Chris Narveson today.

Good:

  • Enough can’t be said about Estrada’s first start of the season. He only went 5 innings because he was on a pitch count, giving up a single run on a pitch where he missed his mark badly. He also struck out a career high 9 batters.
  • We got to see Good Jose Veras throw an inning. He was hitting the zone and used only 9 pitches to get three outs. That included 2 strike outs.
  • The Brewers offense came to life in the 6th inning after a rough few games and not getting a runner on base until the 5th today.
  • Ryan Braun has started to break out of his slump with a HR and a triple in consecutive at-bats. A day after I called him garbage, Alex Gonzalez went 3-4 and hit a three-run HR that effectively put the game out of reach. (He still isn’t a good hitter)
  • The Brewers as a team were 5-9 w/RISP.

Bad:

  • Manny Parra and Mike McClendon labored a bit in the 6th inning and cost Estrada the win. The Rockies got two hits and walked twice in the inning and managed to steal 4(!) bases. I didn’t catch this inning, but I imagine the stolen bases were on the pitchers because Jonathan Lucroy has been pretty good at keeping guys from stealing bases thus for this season.
  • Aramis Ramirez looked like he was coming around in the final two games of the Dodgers series when he had 2 hits in each game, but he has been 0-fer since and still swinging at pitches out of the zone.

Braun’s HR would still be flying if the wall under the scoreboard didn’t get in the way.

It was nice to see some of the Brewers break out a bit and the offense as a whole come to life in the 2nd half of the game, especially since they didn’t get a guy on base until the 5th. Unfortunately, one game or a few hits doesn’t mean that the Brewers’ offense or any of the individual players are out of their slump(s), but it is a start. Braun hit the ball very hard his last two at-bats and there were a couple times that balls were hit hard for outs in the game as well. Let’s just say there were some good signs that the offensive slump is at least starting to end.

Player Grades - Starting Pitchers

You can tell that a team’s starting pitchers are solid when there were only 6 guys to get starts all season long. The Phillies only used 7 and the Giants 8, and their starting pitching staffs are nothing to scoff at.

Marco Estrada

The Brewers lone spot starter, Estrada pitched pretty well in his starts. Out of his seven starts I would say he pitched very good in 5 of them, so-so in another (he got the win), and he got blown off the mound in one other start. Not too bad extrapolated out to a full season. He had some good and bad stretches as a relief pitcher, he was primarily used in mop-up duty and long relief. The starters were pretty good about going deep into games and the Crew didn’t get blown out too much so Estrada didn’t get much regular work. I was particularly impressed with Estrada’s 3 spot-starts for Chris Narveson when he went on the DL in August. Marco is 28 years old and I’m not sure where he is going to be or what role he will play next season. All 5 regular starters are coming back (as of now). I’m sure if he is still with the club he will get a shot at stealing that 5 spot or continue to be the spot starter/long relief guy.

Final Grade - B-/C+ (Hard to judge this one, he did what he was supposed to do and even exceeded expectations)

Chris Narveson

Narveson was solid as the Brewers 5th starter. His numbers weren’t great. His ERA was still a bit too high and every season his strike out numbers have diminished. While his numbers weren’t outstanding for a number 5 starter he was pretty good. And knowing you can count on one guy for that spot means a lot. One of the issues with the Brewers in 2009 and 2010 was their inability to find a consistent #5. Of course it helps that the team added two top of the rotation starter in the off-season, effectively bumping Narveson and Randy Wolf down to the 4/5 slots. Such is life. Narveson regressed a little from 2010, numbers-wise, but still put up solid stats. Next year Narveson will be 30 years old and figures into the Brewers rotation plans.

Final Grade - C+ 

Randy Wolf

Even though he was effectively the #4 starter in the rotation I would argue that there were times during the season that Wolf could have been considered the ace of the staff. He had a very solid year, even if his win/loss totals may not show it. A ‘quality start’ is defined as a start of at least 6 innings pitched and 3 earned runs or less. Wolf had 21 such starts, second on the team. In seven of those quality starts Wolf failed to get a win, he either received a hard-luck loss or a no decision. He was a workhorse too. His pitchers per start average was second on the team and he started 33 games, tied with Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum. Wolf is definitely the elder statesman of the staff and he has had a solid career. He has shown no signs of slowing down, 2011 was one of his best of his 12 year career and he figures to be back in the Brewers rotation in 2012.

Final Grade - A- (Had a very good year made even better considering he was the #3/4 starter.)

Shaun Marcum

Shaun Marcum had a good season. I find it somewhat unfortunate that many people will remember Marcum’s 2011 for his struggles in the playoffs (struggles may be an understatement) and not his season as a whole. Pre-All Star Break, Shaun Marcum was the best starting pitcher on the Brewers. Starting on September 9th, he gave up 34 runs in 34 innings and that includes an 8 inning, 1 run game against the Cubs. Was there an injury involved? Was he tired? We probably will never know, but something was definitely going on. Whatever it was, I don’t think you can put the blame on Marcum. My feelings on the matter, and I posted something at the time, was that Ron Roenicke should have sat Marcum down for Game 6 of the NLCS and let Narveson or Estrada have the ball. Of course Marcum is going to want the ball; a player doesn’t get to the major league level without WANTING to go out there every day. Roenicke should have made the tough decision to sit him. And that is an extremely tough decision. How do you tell a guy that he isn’t going to get a chance at redemption on a national stage? Especially since without Marcum the Brewers would probably not even be in that position in the first place? That is what the manager is there for, making the decisions that the players would never make for themselves. Anyway, Marcum will be 30 next season and will be a top of the rotation guy for the Brewers again. 

Final Grade - B+ (There were times when he was the best on the staff, but floundered down the stretch.)

Zack Greinke

Early in the season some Brewer fans had unrealistic expectation for Greinke. Granted, he had a rough start to the season, with his rib injury and a relatively high ERA after his first several starts. While his ERA numbers weren’t anything to stop the presses about, all of his other numbers were pretty outstanding. He was 16-6 and led the league in K/9IP. His sabermetric stats were solid as well. He had a BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .311, near the top in the league for qualified starters, indicating that his high ERA may have at least in part due to a bit of bad luck. Zack was the gem of the Brewers acquisitions in the off-season and helped propel them to their first Division Championship since 1982. Zack Greinke is going to be back this year and figures to push Yovani Gallardo for ace of staff. The Brewers’ front office have not really discussed their plans yet (probably because of the Prince situation), but you have to think that they will work hard to sign Greinke to an extension after Prince signs wherever he is going to sign. 

Final Grade - A- (The dumb injury and high ERA kept him from a sold A.)

Yovani Gallardo

Gallardo ended up as the top pitcher on the Brewers staff. He led the team in numerous categories. One of the things that was nice about this season is that there were times when it was difficult to say who was the best starter in the rotation. The top 4 guys were pretty close for most of the season, Gallardo was the most consistent. He is also the youngest and the one that is signed for the longest. Yovani and Ryan Braun are the two guys that the Brewers have chosen to build around and, as of now, it seems like the correct decision. Gallardo was also the Brewers’ best pitcher in the postseason and may have played the biggest role (along with Braun) in them advancing to the NLCS. Yo will be back next year, battling with Greinke, Marcum, and Wolf for best starting pitcher. It is definitely nicer knowing you have 4-6 quality starting pitcher options going into a season.

Final Grade - A

Clayton Kershaw shuts down the Brewers

Marco Estrada pitched well, but he got little help from the offense.

GOOD:

  • Estrada pitched his second game since Chris Narveson went on the DL and he pitched very well. In his two spot starts he has gone 10 innings while striking out 10. He has given up only 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks. Really good stuff.
  • Jerry Hairston Jr. and Casey McGehee each had two hits. Prince Fielder knocked in the only run.
  • Frankie De La Cruz, the player called up when Narveson went on the DL, pitched a scoreless 9th inning. He has looked good in limited work since being called up. 

BAD:

  • Poor defense (2 errors), no clutch hitting (1-7 w/RISP), and a missed sign (missed squeeze sign) all contributed to the loss today.
  • Once again the sticks didn’t show up like I think they should. The Brewers have been winning, but they aren’t exactly impressive at the plate.
  • Kameron Loe started off beautifully, retiring the first 5 he faced, then the wheels fell off. A solid double, a seeing-eye single, and an error by Loe himself gave the Dodgers 2 runs.
  • Tim Dillard did what Tim Dillard does, he gave up two runs in the 8th inning, effectively putting the game out of reach. I can’t imagine him getting too many innings going forward, especially after the rosters expand.

ESPN is talking like the Brewers hot streak is over. One loss ends a six game winning streak, it doesn’t end a run of 19-3. Clayton Kershaw was impressive, if the Dodgers were in the playoff picture he may be a front-runner for the NL Cy Young award. Even so, he will be in the discussion. He is 15-5 and he started the season 2-3. His ERA is low and he is leading the league in strikeouts. And he is 23 years old, crazy.

I’m eager to see who the Brewers all bring to the major league club when rosters expand in September. You have to figure just about every guy who was up at some point, will be up, especially pitchers. Mat Gamel and Taylor Greene are probably locks to come up. Wily Peralta, who has flown through the ranks in the minors may be called up, but being a prospect with no MLB experience he may not get any work. It would be a good experience to be involved in a playoff run, even if the players just sit.

Nice photo set.

Let’s see if I can be coherent tonight

Marco Estrada pitched wonderfully. Better than any of us could have hoped.

I’m going to give this a go, my friends from Milwaukee, up north, Madison, and Las Vegas were in town tonight. I had a few drinks, I’m feeling pretty good. Any misspellings, forgive me.

GOOD:

  • Marco Estrada pitched brilliantly. He was on a pitch count so he was lifted for a pinch hitter (which turned out to be Zack Greinke) in the bottom of the fifth. He gave up 1 hit and zero runs in 5 innings. 
  • Yuniesky Betancourt delivered a solo home run in the 2nd inning which proved to be the difference.
  • John Axford worked his 31st save in a row. I thought his streak was over when he allowed a lead-off triple (a ball that Nyjer Morgan misplayed horribly.) He threw two pitches to get out of trouble, inducing two easy groundballs. It was not an easy save, Axford needs to thank his lucky stars that his streak didn’t come to an end today.
  • The bullpen was outstanding again. Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins, Francisco Rodriguez, and John Axford combined for 4 innings of shutout ball. They struck out 5 in those innings.
  • The Cards lost. The lead is up to 5 games in the NL Central.

BAD:

  • The Crew had a bunch of opportunities to score and they couldn’t take advantage. They were 1-10 with RISP.
  • Nyjer Morgan misplayed the ball that ended up as a lead-off triple in the top of the 9th. Other than that ball, the defense played pretty well.

I can’t stress enough the importance of a good start by Marco Estrada. He was more than good, he was dominant. Tomorrow Shaun Marcum gets the start to try to secure the sweep by the Brew Crew. After today, I honestly think this team has what it takes to make the playoffs. They seem to do no wrong.