Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hey, So This Estrada Guy is Pretty Good

Before you know it, the Brewers will have Zach Greinke dominating on the mound. They'll back him up with the stellar work of Shaun Marcum. Yovani Gallardo will continue to single-handily win games by himself. On some days, Randy Wolf will be the best pitcher on this staff. And Chris Narveson will get over his rocky start and continue pitching like a quality fifth starter would. With that being said, what the hell do we do with Marco Estrada?

Estrada has now pitched in five games this season, two of them being one inning relief appearances, but the other three being very strong starts. In his first outing, Estrada went six innings and gave up one run before he made one bad pitch that Jason Heyward converted into a three run homer. He rebounded nicely in his next outing, giving up just one run in six innings of work. And then on Tuesday night, Estrada was dealing again, giving just two hits in seven innings. He didn't factor in the decision - it was Kameron Loe who got his second win of the year - but he's more than proved that he's someone that not only belongs on the big league roster, but deserves to be in the rotation as well.

I'm sure that when push comes to shove, the Brewers will keep him in the pen for perhaps a long relief role, but the option of sending him to Nashville to focus solely on starting, and bringing him up with injuries occur, is there as well as far as I can tell. Either way, it's a lot better to see these guys on the pitching staff come in and actually perform when compared to some of the rough starts we've been accustomed to throughout the past few years.

So our POTG Estrada leads the Brewers to the 3-2 victory against the Reds, and the Brewers got each of those runs on solo homers. They got them from the big boys too - Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder. One of their other offensive studs made his 2011 debut in this affair, as Corey Hart came in for a pinch hitting opportunity. He grounded out, but it was good to see Hart back in uniform, and I'd assume he's getting the start on Wednesday.

Hart was actually activated about 30 minutes before the game as Erick Almonte was hit in the head with a baseball and quickly put on the 7-day DL, the first major leaguer to do so. It's a new roster spot that MLB has come up with for players recovering from concussions. At first, I thought that the Brewers were kind of playing the system and making up the fact that Almonte was in fact concussed, but apparently there are a bunch of tests the player has to go through before he can be put on the 7-day list. I don't expect him to come back to the active roster though for awhile, especially when Nyjer Morgan is ready to return. Perhaps they keep Almonte up over Boggs, but I think Boggs can contribute more at this point.

One guy that I do not expect to see on the roster much longer is Craig Counsell. I hate to say it, but he's been playing a lot older than the 40 years of age that he is. With every plate appearance I've watched in him, he seems more and more tired. It's like he's ready to call it quits, but he has too much pride to try and give up. I don't know, maybe he can become more productive as the season goes on, but I think the Brewers are wasting a spot with this guy. I mean, it's nice that we can plug him in at third, second, and short, but he's more of a body at this point than anything else.

Brewers back in action on Wednesday, 12:10pm start time.

Estrada dealing
Brewers finally top Reds
Axford, redemption


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