After a stellar performance in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, Marco Estrada continues to roll in high pressure games.
Estrada led a Blue Jays squad that has been riding high over their past few games. They clinched a Wild Card spot and home field advantage, won the Wild Card game in historic fashion, and then pounced on the Rangers to take game one. Estrada was a key part of the win and gave the bullpen the day off for all but two outs.
Blue Jays fans have had the luxury of seeing Marco Estrada transform before their eyes. He’s grown significantly from being a serviceable reliever when he arrived in Toronto from the Brewers prior to last season. Since then he has evolved into one of the better pitchers in the American League.
More from Toronto Blue Jays News
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
Estrada pitched much better then his 9-9 record this season would show this season. The most glaring stat that would point to his absurd dominance is his opposing hitters batting average that sat at .203 for the season. To put that into perspective, only Jake Arrieta and Max Scherzer had lower opposing batting averages in all of baseball this season. Those two pitchers were 18 and 20 game winners this year.
Estrada also led the Blue Jays in WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched) with a mark of 1.12. A few of the other Toronto starters were not far behind him as Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ also were in the Top-10 WHIP leaders in the American League. Estrada ranked 6th in the AL in the category.
Estrada followed up a great 2015 season in which he ranked 10th in the Cy Young award voting with another solid year. During last year’s postseason he was just as hard for hitters to square up. Estrada started three games for the Blue Jays during the 2015 playoffs and, not only did he do well, but he came through in huge, clutch situations. His first start in the playoffs was during Game 3 of the ALDS against the Rangers. This game was critical as the Jays were down by two games already in the series and playing in enemy territory. Estrada was able to right the ship with a 6.1-inning start and allowed just one run on five hits.
Estrada continued to impress even when he allowed three runs in his next start against the Royals. Kansas City eventually won, but they struggled to really pour on the runs when they had opportunities. In Game 5 of the ALCS, the Royals could not figure out Estrada and he pitched the Jays toward Game 6. He was masterful during the game as he pitched 7.2 innings, allowing just one run on three hits.
Estrada appears to have a knack for coming up big when his teammates need him. Yesterday the Blue Jays really needed to get things going early and take a ferocious Rangers crowd out of the game. Estrada set the tone with a 3-up, 3-down first inning. He allowed just four hits throughout the game and faced the minimum number of batters in all but the 2nd inning and the 9th. Once again, Estrada came up big at the right time to allow the offence to run away with the game.
Marco Estrada has been a solid pitcher for the Blue Jays but he has been an even better postseason competitor than we could have ever hoped for. Mr. Calm-Cool-and-Collected has pitched his was to a 2.67 playoff ERA for his career and will look to keep the ball rolling. That ERA would be even lower if it were not for a couple bad performances from his time with the Brewers. With the Blue Jays, Estrada has allowed just six earned runs in 27.2 innings. This kind of production has been incredible and fun to watch from Estrada.