Well the upside from injuries is that about 90% of the time, guys can come back from them full force. Hopefully having Marco Estrada back can settle things in the bullpen. I do not believe he should be a starter nor should Ron Roenicke have any inclination of putting him back there. Michael Fiers has only started two games and pitched decent in both. Estrada is a bullpen guy. There aren’t too many guys that can go physically from relief to starting or mentally either. If Fiers can prove himself in the time allotted, which is about a month til Estrada is due back, then he has earned himself a well deserved spot. The Brewers need anything they can at this point because time waits for no one.
With that, there is a case to build for Fiers. In his two starts, he has a record of 1-1, an ERA of 3.75, a WHIP of 1.17 and 11 strikeouts. He dazzled the line up of the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first career start by going seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out three and walking zero. This outing would give Fiers his first career win. Sunday was a different story however. Against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Fiers would only last five innings and ultimately get his first loss. He allowed four runs on eight hits and one walk, but he also struck out eight. While his hiccup with a Pirates line-up that really is ranked one of the worst in the MLB was surprising, it should cause no reason for concern. He’s only pitched two games, but did better than Marco Estrada did in his first two starts. Fiers’ next start will be a home game against the San Diego Padres. We say that Fiers shouldn’t struggle against the Padres, but then again, it’ll only be his third start. He’s not a Zack Greinke that we know can shut down line-ups, he’s a guy who just began what he hopes to be a long major league career, so if he gives up a few runs, it’s to be expected, but not welcomed.
On Estrada’s injury, skipper Ron Roenicke is playing it rather cautious. Roenicke had this to say regarding Estrada’s leg injury:
“I think at the beginning this is what the number they said — a month — but he was coming along quicker, so in my mind I was thinking, ‘OK,’ and we’re looking at the schedule and where we can skip a start. We were thinking maybe it would only be two starts, but it’s going to be a while.” – Via the Brewers’ website
Estrada is not a bad pitcher, but he is not a starter. Going into this season, Estrada was expected to go into his role from the previous year, an innings eater relief guy. He could come in and pitch two innings if needed and still get the job done. The starter role isn’t something that you can just throw anybody into, but I think Michael Fiers must stay in that role. Saturday’s outing will show us a lot about Fiers and if he does well, then it only builds his case. If he doesn’t do well, then maybe he’s not right for it as well. That however, I refuse to believe, I think Fiers can do fine. Fiers does have an average fastball (anywhere from 88-92 mph), a slider, a curveball and a change-up. He showed an effective use of his pitches in Sunday’s loss when he struck out eight. Striking out batters as a guy who has never pitched up here is a feat on its on, but to strike out eight? That’s pretty impressive. We just need four reliable pitchers going forward because Randy Wolf has been struggling the entire season. If Fiers can provide a decent and consistent outing each time, then there’s no question in whether or not we keep him in that role. Estrada, when he comes back, can provide a lot of firepower for the bullpen. Let’s just hope something works.
Until next time, go Brew Crew!