Estrada key to Brewers’ pitching shuffle
The Brewers re-aligned their pitching rotation today, slotting Hiram Burgos back into the mix for Saturday’s game against the Reds and bumping Marco Estrada from Saturday in Cincinnati to Monday in Pittsburgh, and Kyle Lohse from Monday to Tuesday.
This was mostly about Estrada, who has surrendered 13 earned runs and four home runs in 8 1/3 innings over his last two starts, including a miserable outing against the Cardinals on Sunday in which he issued a career-high five walks and surrendered nearly as many earned runs (eight) as he recorded outs (10). Estrada said afterward that he felt “lost.”
“I would say if it could have worked out where we could have completely missed a start with him, we would have thought about doing that,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “Where we can just try to regroup and see if we can get some things back; a couple of bullpens with [pitching coach Rick Kranitz]. We’re just trying to figure how to best get him back the way he was.”
The schedule did not allow that. Friday marked the first of 13 scheduled game days.
Did they consider bringing in another starter to give Estrada a break?
“No, we didn’t talk about that, and hopefully it doesn’t get to that,” Roenicke said. “We all know what he’s like when he’s pitching well. All of us would like to see, somehow, how he we get him back to that point. He feels fine.”
Asked for his thoughts, Estrada said simply, “They just thought it would be best to give me two extra days.”
As a result of the move, Estrada will make four consecutive starts against the Pirates and Cardinals but will miss the Reds and cozy Great American Ball Park, making his next start instead at spacious PNC Park, where he has allowed only two runs on 10 hits in 14 innings in two previous starts.
But Estrada will then have to pitch against the Cardinals, who he would have missed in the original alignment. He is 0-4 with a 6.59 ERA against St. Louis with a .311 opponents’ average.
As for Burgos, the Brewers had skipped Burgos’ last start amid two team off-days in the span of four days, but now need him because they are scheduled to play 13 consecutive days, then a day off, then 20 more consecutive days.
When he takes the mound Saturday, Burgos will have had nine days off between starts. He reported to Miller Park at about 2 p.m. CT on Thursday to throw a bullpen session and said the long layoff would be no big deal.
“I had to do it because the team needed it, and I was fine with that,” Burgos said. “I stayed in the bullpen for the series with the Texas Rangers, and yesterday on the day off I threw a bullpen. I was still on the mound. I did my workouts. My arm feels good. Whenever I get the chance to pitch, I have to do my job.”
Dealing with the abnormal schedule, he said, “is more mental. I’m ready to pitch. Like I always say, I want the ball.”
Here’s a list of the Brewers’ upcoming pitching matchups to reflect the changes:
Friday at CIN: Gallardo (3-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Cingrani (3-3, 2.57 ERA)
Saturday at CIN: Burgos (1-0, 3.00) vs. Latos (3-0, 2.23)
Sunday at CIN: Peralta (3-2, 5.54) vs. Arroyo (2-4, 4.30)
Monday at PIT: Estrada (2-2, 6.05) vs. Burnett (3-3, 2.57)
Tuesday at PIT: Lohse (1-4, 3.53) vs/ Locke (3-1, 2.95)
Wednesday at PIT: Gallardo vs. Rodriguez
Thursday at PIT: Burgos vs. Liriano
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