Roenicke expresses support for Estrada

Young Caitlin Swieca will have much more in today’s game story, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke just expressed some support for struggling starter Marco Estrada in his postgame meeting with reporters. Estrada allowed three more home runs today in a blowout loss to the Reds, and leads the Majors with 23 homers allowed this season. That’s on pace to shatter Braden Looper’s Brewers record of 39, set in 2009, and to top Bert Blyleven’s Major League record of 50 home runs allowed in a season.

Put on the spot after the game, Roenicke avoided making any grand pronouncements about Estrada’s future in Milwaukee’s starting rotation.

“We’ll stay with it and talk about it and see if we can get him straightened out. Right now, I haven’t had that discussion with Doug [Melvin, Milwaukee’s GM],” Roenicke said.

With Jimmy Nelson available at Triple-A Nashville, what are the negatives of making a move?

“Next start’s in Colorado,’ Roenicke said.

He did not avoid the bigger issue, that Estrada is not pitching well at the moment. To Roenicke, a pair of factors are behind that.

“It’s location,” Roenicke said. “He got a couple offspeed pitches up in the zone. It’s confidence. When you’re confident, the ball gets to spots better, it’s not more life on it. I still thought he was confident coming into the game, but after that first inning [when the Reds homered twice and took a 3-0 lead], it’s tough. …

“It’s command, which is confidence, usually. I think everything else is fine. He is [attacking the zone] at times, he’s just leaving some pitches up. When he’s good, his breaking ball is down. He got hurt with a curveball up to [Billy] Hamilton. He got hurt with a change-up up to [Brandon] Phillips. When he’s good, those two pitches are down.”

Roenicke downplayed the idea that Estrada could be tipping pitches. He was asked about the tricky balance of weighing recent results versus track record, and again appeared to position himself in Estrada’s corner.

“Some guys, you do stick with because of the history,” Roenicke said. “Marco certainly probably falls into that. He’s done a nice job for us. He’s going through a spell that we have to get through, and hopefully he comes out of it and gets back to that really good pitcher. He’s good when he’s on. You guys have seen him on, I’ve seen him on. He can go through good lineups when he’s on, and we have to figure out how to get him back to that.”

Estrada’s own comments will be available in the game story at

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