Even after masterful performance, some remain convinced
“He’s had more poor seasons over his career than successful ones. His gimmick is up, guys can hit slow stuff.”
“Let’s not get too carried away.. it’s the sox and it’s 1 game.”
“It’s The White Sox”
“He basically pitched to AAA team. Don’t get to excited.”
What you see above are not my words. They are just a few of the many tweeted to me as Marco Estrada was logging his best start since May 21st. It’s sad that we live in a society where so many fail to recognize the good, even when it’s right in front of them. For many, when a pro athlete performs well, it’s an anomaly, when they don’t, that’s who they really are, but things aren’t always so cut and dried.
We’ll get to the facts regarding the so called “AAA team” Estrada faced, but first let’s look at Marco himself.
Has he had a poor year? Absolutely. He spoke of his struggles this week on Outta the Park https://www.nsrmedia.ca/#Podcast. If you dig a little deeper, you’ll see he’s done much more good than bad in his 10 year career. As a member of the Blue Jays, Estrada has an ERA of 3.78, averages 8 strikeouts per 9 innings, and he also has a 2.64 ERA in 10 postseason appearances, yet, for some reason, his outstanding start against the White Sox should be looked at as a small sample size?
In the starts leading up to Monday night, he had pitched extremely well for 4 innings before running out of gas. Why is it so hard for some to give a guy, who’s done so many positive things, the benefit of the doubt? Why simply assume “he’s lost it for good”, as one suggested to me? Why not enjoy what he did and hope it’s sign of better things to come?
Ok, now onto the ridiculous argument that his great start meant nothing because he was facing the Chicago White Sox. If you go by that theory then Joe Biagini, Ryan Tepera and Roberto Osuna should all be sent to single A. Jose Abreu has 19 homers this season, Leury Garcia is hitting a career high .295, Matt Davidson has 22 homers. Just because they are not household names, doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of hitting major league pitching and as for Estrada, a good pitch is a good pitch. One of his biggest issues during his slump has been the high number of walks. Who he’s facing isn’t going to change his lack of control. When his changeup is working he can make the best hitters in the game look bad. I always get a kick out of the reaction to the Blue Jays lineup each night. Last Sunday they rested Bautista and Donaldson. Many assumed that meant they would be shut out. What did they do? They scored 11. That’s the beauty of baseball. A .300 hitter will have 0 for 5 days and a .200 hitter can go 4 for 4.
The bottom line is, Marco Estrada pitched a great game. It doesn’t matter who it was against. Regarding the small sample size, I’d say a half a dozen poor starts is less reflective than the full body of work he’s produced.