Marco! Estrada…..Yes, the Hitters Appear as Blindfolded as Children Playing Marco Polo

I watch a lot of baseball; primarily the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. Yet, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility I could watch any number of games – in any given week – not involving either of those teams. I do pay Major League Baseball for the privilege of MLB.TV every season, as well as purchasing tickets to attending games in a stadium partially funded by public taxes.

Last night, I watched the Mariners take on the Toronto Blue Jays. A shameful game for the fact it was played in Seattle, but sounded like a pep rally led by Justin Trudeau. Those wacky, yet amenable neighbors from the North. They buy up almost 80% of the tickets for games played in Seattle. Hey, I can’t blame them for actually caring about and supporting their team. It’d be nice if M’s fans would come out in force for their playoff-contending team. Not much you can do about that. I guess Seattle sports fans are much more endeared to sports where you get to wear a stylish scarf while in the stands.

Okay, enough of my acerbic wit.

Including last night’s game, I have seen Marco Estrada pitch exactly 15 innings of baseball this season. That’s 7 shutout innings last night (of which 6 were the no-hit variety) and 8 innings of 2-run ball back on June 5th at Fenway Park. The Sox lost that June contest 5-4 and last night the M’s fell to the Jays 3-2. His respective game scores were 72 (June 5th) and 80 (Sept. 19th). Both of those scores indicate that he contributed to his team’s fairly good odds (about 82-90%) of winning those games, which they did!

As far as opposing pitchers go, Estrada is not conjuring up comparisons to peak Pedro Martinez anytime soon. Maybe a slightly more electric Jamie Moyer (yes, Doug, I’ll give you credit for the fact you said “Jamie Moyer Clone” this morning when I got coffee from you). That comparison might be due mostly to the heavy reliance on changeup use. According to Brooks Baseball, Estrada is using his changeup 28.43% of the time this season; second only to his four seam fastball.

As far as opposing pitchers go, Estrada has been a nightmare for me and my two favorite teams.

He is a nightmare of changeups. Changeups that actually induce swing-and-miss hacks from batters. By far his best whiff pitch, Estrada’s change induces air between bat and ball above 20% of the time. I shuddered during my early morning REM cycle to visions of Ketel Marte swinging through ball four to strike out.

He is a nightmare of weak fastballs (by today’s standards where 95 mph+ is the upper echelon, not 89 mph). Weak fastballs, that even when hit hard are somehow directed straight to an outfielder’s glove.

I awoke at 6 am this morning, in a night sweat. My second REM cycle of the night was ravaged by the infinite looping of all 29 fly balls (line drives, pop-ups, the whole fucking farm) induced over those 15 innings.

This is a journeyman pitcher with a .511  winning percentage (45-43) and he’s making me shit myself in my sleep like he’s Freddie Krueger.


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