The title of this is a bit misleading, I must say. Milwaukee Brewers starter Marco Estrada has only recently begun struggling on the mound, so this piece will not be suggesting that Estrada should be permanently removed from the rotation.
In his last three starts, Estrada has only made it through six innings once and has given up 18 earned runs on 22 hits. He has also given up 24 long balls this season, the highest total among pitchers in the National League.
Though he won his last decision against the Rockies, during which he allowed six earned runs over five innings, Estrada got the win and improved to a 6-4 record. His ERA, however, has taken a beating, and it now rests at 5.22.
Estrada has been having command issues, falling behind in the count and forcing to put balls over the plate. The problem has not persisted over the course of the season thus far, though. He has had some very impressive outings, such as a May 13 start against Pittsburgh in which he allowed only one earned run over six innings. Only now has his earned run count skyrocketed.
The Milwaukee Brewers should consider placing Estrada in the bullpen for a couple turns through the rotation so he can work on his command with his coaching staff. Estrada could be easily replaced without sending someone down to the minors, simply by putting Mike Fiers in his place.
Fiers has currently thrown two scoreless innings for Milwaukee, put his starting pitching at AAA Nashville this season was impressive. Fiers was 6-3 in eleven starts with one complete game shutout, and he posted an attractive 2.63 ERA.
Fiers deserves another chance as a starter, as he has clearly bounced back from his rocky 2013 campaign. Switching Estrada and Fiers is a quick and easy move, giving Fiers another shot as a starter and allowing Estrada to figure out what has been going wrong his last several outings. I’m not saying this should be a permanent switch, as I have on more than one occasion liked what I have seen from Estrada. A couple turns through the rotation, however, would be a good time frame to allow Estrada to calm down and get back to the early success he had this season.