If this is the end of the road for Estrada (3.20 ERA, 3.91 FIP), the Brewers have to be pretty happy about what they've gotten from him. Despite the fact that he wasn't even invited to major league spring training, Estrada has been very good in his four appearances (two starts) as a Brewer in April. He pitched a scoreless inning in relief on Friday, and allowed one run over six innings in his last start on April 17.
By pitching 14 innings and striking out 13 this season, Estrada has already set or tied his major league career highs. Overall he's averaging 8.9 K/9 as a major leaguer. He throws a fastball right around 90 mph, and works in a fair number of curves and changeups. His fastball has been right around league average this season, but his curve has been significantly above.
This is the second time in his career Estrada has faced the Reds: He pitched four innings against them in a relief appearance on May 18, 2010 in his Brewer debut. He allowed a run on two hits and struck out four in that game. As you might imagine, no current Red has faced him more than twice. Joey Votto is 1-for-2 against him with a home run.
Estrada will face off against 23-year-old Mike Leake (4.94 ERA, 3.84 FIP). Leake has been solid but unspectacular for the most part this season, having just one really poor outing over four appearances. Last time out he held the Diamondbacks to three runs on four hits over seven innings, walking two and striking out six.
In this season's small sample size Leake appears to have gone away from his high-80's fastball in favor of a cutter: He now throws each pitch about 30% of the time. He also has a changeup and a slider. All four pitches have been above average this season.
Despite the fact that he's pitching in his second season as a Red, Leake has never faced the Brewers. Wil Nieves is the only current Brewer that's faced him before: He went 0-for-3 agaisnt him as a member of the Nationals in 2010.
According to Tyler Barnes, Casey McGehee is out of the lineup tonight:
Rickie Weeks 2B
Craig Counsell 3B
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Mark Kotsay RF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Jonathan Lucroy C
Carlos Gomez CF
Marco Estrada P
And in the bullpen:
Brandon Kintzler pitched 2.2 innings (42 pitches) last night.
Zach Braddock pitched 2 innings (28 pitches) last night.
Sergio Mitre pitched one inning (22 pitches) last night.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched one inning (11 pitches) last night.
John Axford pitched one inning (19 pitches) on Sunday.
Sean Green, Kameron Loe and Mitch Stetter have not pitched since Saturday.