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Jun 5, 2024 8:39 am

Padres look to avert sweep in series finale vs. Angels

Jeremiah Estrada

San Diego Padres manager Mike Shildt had one thing in mind when he brought in reliever Jeremiah Estrada in the eighth inning of Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels: strikeout.

Estrada, however, yielded a sacrifice fly to Luis Guillorme, allowing what turned out to be the winning run to score in Los Angeles’ 2-1 win. The Angels followed that with a 4-2 victory on Tuesday.

Shildt will not hesitate to bring in Estrada in a similar situation Wednesday night when the Padres and Angels wrap up their three-game series in Anaheim, Calif. After all, Estrada has shown he can get a strikeout when needed.

In May, the 25-year-old right-hander set a major league record in the expansion era (since 1961) for consecutive strikeouts with 13.

Estrada struck out five straight Reds, then five Yankees and three Marlins over three games before the streak ended when he was instructed to issue an intentional walk to Kansas City’s Salvador Perez with runners on second and third and one out last Saturday.

All 13 of the strikeouts during the streak were swinging strikeouts.

“I wouldn’t have been able to see this coming,” Estrada said of the streak. “The mindset is just going out there and getting the job done. If there’s runners on base, get out of the inning, help a starter out. I’m new to the organization; I didn’t have a role so I knew whatever opportunities I had, when I got on that mound, I needed to do what I could do to show them who I am, and it’s working out well.”

Estrada played for the Cubs last season, and Chicago let him go after he compiled an ERA of 6.75 in 12 games. The Padres claimed him off waivers, and then Estrada got to work.

A big reason for his success this year is the development of his own pitch, what he calls a “chitter.”

“It’s a mix of the Vulcan, the circle-change and the splitter,” Estrada said. “Last year with the Cubs’ organization they were trying to teach me a normal splitter but as that went along, it just wasn’t working out. All it took was me curling my middle finger and index finger into a ball, and it just started to work.”

Estrada spent much of the off-season trying to get a feel for the grip.

“It was hard to get (comfortable with) this grip, so every single day in the off-season I would wake up in the morning and put a baseball in my hand, I’d be eating breakfast with my left hand so I could hold the baseball,” he said. “It got to the point where my girlfriend got so disappointed because everywhere I went I had a baseball in my hand.”

Right-hander Dylan Cease (5-4, 3.42 ERA) will make his 13th start of the season for the Padres on Wednesday. He is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in five career starts against the Angels.

Right-hander Jose Soriano (2-5, 3.86) will make his 11th start (13th appearance) for the Angels. He has faced the Padres once in his career, giving up one run in one inning of relief in a no-decision last July 5.

Angels reliever Ben Joyce, who hit 105.5 mph on the radar gun while pitching for the University of Tennessee, was called up Sunday from Double-A Rocket City to replace the struggling Reid Detmers.

He has yet to pitch in a game for the Angels since being called up.

“It’s obviously very exciting,” Joyce said of the call-up. “It’s been something that I’ve been striving for all year. Just trying to make that jump. I think just the way I’ve been throwing, I feel really good, and it’s just exciting that all the hard work is paying off that I’ve been putting in for the last few months.”

Joyce pitched in 12 games for the Angels last season, though he missed three months because of an inflamed nerve in his right elbow.

–Field Level Media

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