The Brewers may have gotten bad news on Shaun Marcum on Monday, but another starting pitcher will be making his return from injury on Tuesday: Marco Estrada will make his first start since straining his quad on May 23. The move isn’t exactly a surprise, as we’ve known since Friday that Estrada would be making the start.
Mike McClendon was sent down to make room for Estrada. This is the third time McClendon has been recalled and sent back to Nashville, and this time, he didn’t make a single appearance for the Brewers. His last big league outing remains May 26 in Arizona.
The return of Estrada may not seem like that much of a big deal, but he was pitching fairly well as a starter before his unfortunate injury a month ago. In six starts this year, Estrada has thrown 30 innings, striking out 27 and only walking 4. His 4.80 ERA as a starter is inflated by two mediocre starts, the last coming May 7 against the same Cincinnati club he’ll be facing Tuesday. In that start, he allowed 5 earned runs on 8 hits in 7 innings. All 5 runs came in the 4th inning, but Estrada was able to settle down and finish his outing with 3 scoreless innings.
With Marcum likely being shut down for awhile with more elbow soreness, it appears both Estrada and Michael Fiers get to keep their rotation spots for now. Once Marcum is able to return, the Estrada/Fiers debate could get interesting. In five starts, Fiers has struck out 29 in 32.1 innings, only walking 5. He’s also had a bit more luck when it comes to keeping runs off the board, allowing only 10 earned runs on 32 hits, compared to Estrada’s 16 earned runs on 28 hits in 30 IP. While Fiers may be slightly ahead in the rotation race, both have a solid case for being on the big league roster. That’s more than could be said for a guy or two already in the bullpen.