Let's hope a week of rest for Marco Estrada (3-2, 5.32 ERA, 5.21 FIP) has allowed him to get his home run issues under control. Everything else has gone pretty well for the right hander. His 8.7 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 are a little worse than they were last season, but still definitely nice. His hits/9 is up slightly. All of that would perhaps lead you to believe that he's having a nice season that isn't quite as good as 2012. That seemed like a reasonable prognostication at the beginning of the year.
Except for all the blasted home runs. Estrada has given up 11 long balls this season, tied for second in the MLB. He is averaging a home run a little over every four innings. He has almost allowed as many home runs as he has allowed walks (13). Hopefully, his last start is an indicator of things to come. Against the Pirates he gave up just one run on three hits and a walk over seven innings of work and, for the first time in 2013, did not allow a home run.
The good news is the Cardinals are 26th in the MLB in home runs. The bad news is the Cardinals gave Estrada his worst start of 2013 on May 5. Estrada could not find his control that day and walked five Cardinals hitters to go with six hits. In the end, St. Louis would score eight runs off Estrada in just 3.1 innings.
Five Cardinals hitters have at least ten plate appearances against Estrada. Here is how they have fared:
Lance Lynn (6-1, 2.88 ERA, 3.14 FIP) is just another Cardinals player who was never a top prospect until he started pitching in the majors and putting up way better stats than he was expected to. You were supposed to be an innings eating four or five pitcher, Lance Lynn! You shouldn't have a sub-3.00 ERA!
Lynn was an All Star pitcher in 2012, his first full season in the majors. He made 29 starts in 35 appearances and posted a 3.78 ERA and 1.080 WHIP. He has a career 9.46 K/9 and 3.31 BB/9.
The righty has been much better at home than on the road in his career with a 2.87 ERA at Busch Stadium and a 4.07 ERA away. Opposing batters are OPSing just .587 against Lynn in St. Louis. He is a fastball-curveball pitcher, using his 92 MPH four seamer over 60% of the time.
Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun have both faced Lynn ten times, with a .200 OPS and .700 OPS, respectively.
In the bullpen:
John Axford pitched one inning (15 pitches) last night.
- Mike Gonzalez pitched one inning (12 pitches) last night.
- Burke Badenhop pitched one inning (13 pitches) last night.
- Mike Fiers pitched 1.2 innings (24 pitches) Thursday.
- Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (15 pitches) Thursday.
- Alfredo Figaro pitched .1 innings (16 pitches) Thursday.
- Brandon Kintzler last pitched on Tuesday.