Estrada allowed three earned runs on five hits and a hit batsman over five innings in a 5-4 extra-innings loss to the Mariners in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday. He also recorded a strikeout and did not factor into the decision. The veteran right-hander paid dearly for a pair of mistake pitches to sluggers Ryon Healy and Mitch Haniger, who tagged him for round trippers in the second and third innings, respectively. All but one of the five hits Estrada allowed were actually of the extra-base variety, as Domingo Santana and Haniger also tagged him for doubles. Estrada has long proven vulnerable to hard contact, as he's yielded at least 23 home runs in five consecutive seasons. Therefore, Thursday's struggles keeping the ball in the park could be a harbinger of more of the same. Estrada will look to bounce back in his next start stateside, which could come at some point in the Athletics' home-opening four-game series versus the Angels beginning next Thursday.
Estrada has been named the starting pitcher for the Athletics' second game of the season March 21 against the Mariners in Tokyo, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Estrada will likely get one final spring tune-up outing during the upcoming week before making his first regular-season start as a member of the Athletics. With no fewer than 23 home runs surrendered in each of the past five seasons, Estrada has been vulnerable to the long ball throughout his career, but the move to Oakland and its spacious home park should be a welcome development for the 35-year-old. After seeing his strikeout rate tumble to a lowly 6.5 K/9 in 2018, however, Estrada probably isn't deserving of much attention outside of AL-only or deeper mixed leagues.
Estrada allowed three earned runs on six hits over three innings in a 4-1 Cactus League loss to the Angels on Sunday. He struck out three. But for a couple of mistake pitches to two prolific sluggers in Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, Estrada actually acquitted himself better than his final line implies in his A's debut. The veteran right-hander allowed a one-out, two-run blast to Trout in the third inning before seeing Pujols take him deep for a solo shot a batter later. Estrada didn't give up any other run-scoring hits, although the fact he was also touched up for three doubles underscores the fact Angels hitters were locked into some of his offerings. The 35-year-old is set to work as the No. 2 starter behind Mike Fiers, and with the Athletics opening the regular season March 20 in a two-game series against the Mariners in Japan, Estrada will bump up his pitch count in his next spring appearance in anticipation of starting the second game of that set.
Estrada signed a one-year deal with the Athletics on Friday, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports. Estrada had a rough go of things in 2018 as he posted a 5.64 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 28 starts for the Blue Jays while battling back/neck issues for a good chunk of the season. The 35-year-old struggled a bit in 2017, but over 2015 and 2016 had a 3.30 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 57 starts over his first two seasons in Toronto. The right-hander brings some veteran stability to the Athletics' starting rotation with Sean Manaea (shoulder) sidelined at least through the All-Star break. Jeff Passan of ESPN.com reports the deal is worth $4 million.
Estrada was bumped from Sunday's start after receiving a stem-cell injection to his lower back, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet 590 The Fan reports. Estrada received the treatment following Monday's start against the Astros, so he will not pitch in Sunday's season finale. The 35-year-old will finish the season with a 5.64 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 28 starts and is likely done as a Blue Jay as he enters free agency in 2019.