Well, that was fast. I certainly didn’t think 14 games into the season we would already have an injury to our starting rotation, but really, in this game, nothing surprises me anymore. With Chris Narveson out and facing the possibility of surgery, Ron Roenicke has decided Marco Estrada will take over the fifth man spot in the rotation. Obviously, this comes as no big surprise as earlier in the season, the uncertainty of having Shaun Marcum ready for Opening Day was the green light for Estrada. Also, Kameron Loe will be placed on the bereavement list tomorrow. So, in the mean time, Narveson and Loe are gone and in their respective places, we have Marco Estrada starting and Mike McClendon and Wily Peralta in the pen. With the 4-3 loss tonight to the Rockies, maybe this will shake up the Brewers’ rotation in a good way.
The only big change really is having Mike McClendon, as Wily Peralta’s stay will only last a few days. With the uncertainty of whether or not Narveson will require surgery, McClendon has to fill the inning eater role of the middle relief guy that belonged to Marco Estrada. Out of the options we did have, I think McClendon is the safest choice for now. Certainly Wily Peralta has been on the fence for us, but he’s still very young at 23. He’s never pitched a big league game in his life so coming out of the bullpen into a game is going to be nerve racking no doubt. As we already know, the bullpen has been frustrating as of lately. Let’s face it, one of the few consistent guys in the pen so far is Jose Veras with six different appearances, a total of five innings pitched and only one earned run. Tim Dillard’s been all over the place, John Axford needs to sharpen the Ax and for whatever reason Manny Parra is on an okay course for now. Bringing up McClendon shows that he quite frankly can get the job done and let’s hope that he can. He’s made 26 appearances over all in his career, going 5-0 with a 2.86 ERA and 31 strikeouts. Sounds what we need right about now in our bullpen.
Another big question is how will Estrada fare as the fifth man. At this time, nobody knows nor can they make a clear guess. It’s up in the air and certainly he’ll have his hands full tomorrow night against a Rockies’ line-up that can do some damage. Looking at his pitches, Estrada really only features three: a four-seam fastball, a curve and a change up. That’s really to be expected of a bullpen guy and Estrada showed us last year that he has the ability to pitch, and pitch decent at that. In 2011, Estrada struck out 88 batters in 92.2 innings pitched. That’s pretty impressive in my book. Going forward as a starter for however long Narveson will be out, if Estrada can throw his stuff, he’ll continue to fool batters easily. Obviously in 2012 we had him as the centerpiece for our bullpen, but that just isn’t the case at the moment.
There’s still time to repair the damage done with the bullpen. It’s very early in the season still, but coming up soon than later is another series at St. Louis again and we cannot afford to make the same mistakes. The offense and starting pitching (well at times) can only do so much and if the bullpen can’t bail these guys out sometimes, then there’s a problem. I’m not really sure if I’d even go on to say that it’s an inconsistency in the bullpen, but something is amiss.
Chris Narveson’s injury, a rotator cuff tear in his shoulder may require surgery. Whether or not his shoulder needs surgery remains to be seen, the the fact still stands, Estrada will have to completely take over as the fifth man. Roenicke’s trust in Estrada was formed before the season even began, so let’s hope he doesn’t fail us here.
On Narveson’s injury, skipper Ron Roenicke had this to say,
"“We’ll see how long it’s going to be. If it’s just a DL, it doesn’t impact a team that much for 15 days — it’s basically two starts or three starts. So we’ll see how long that’s going to be. If it’s long-term? Yeah, that makes a difference.”"
Really, it doesn’t get much clearer than that folks. Unfortunately, this thing can go either way so the Brew Crew will have to keep fighting on ward. Some tough series lie ahead with the Cardinals, Giants and Reds so our pitching has to get back on it’s A-game. If it starts with the bullpen, then that’s what it’ll take. So in the mean time, best of luck to Chris Narveson on his injury and hopefully we’ll see him pitch again this season.
Until next time guys and gals.