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Reinvention and regression

2011 saw some locals catch on with new teams while others took step back.

November 26, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

The following are recaps on area athletes who played Major League Baseball during the recently concluded 2011 season.

ESTRADA, CREW

COME UP SHORT

With the Milwaukee Brewers' postseason run expiring two wins shy of a World Series berth, Glendale Community College alum Marco Estrada fell just short of becoming the second local athlete to appear in the Fall Classic in as many seasons after fellow former Vaquero Freddy Sanchez helped the San Francisco Giants win it all in 2010.

Whether as an occasional starting pitcher or go-to right arm out of the bullpen that could throw multiple innings, Estrada was a serviceable piece of the Brewers' National League Central Division champion club (96-66), which went on to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series, 3-2, before falling to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series, 4-2.

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Estrada went 4-8 with a 4.08 earned-run average in the regular season, during which he made 43 total appearances, including seven starts. But by the time the postseason rolled around, he was firmly entrenched in the Brewers' bullpen.

Estrada pitched well in his two NLDS appearances, although they came during the two games the Brewers lost at Arizona, 8-1, on Oct. 4 and 10-6 on Oct. 5. Estrada tossed a total of two scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out five. Milwaukee would go on to close out the series with a dramatic walk-off 3-2 win in 10 innings on Oct. 7 to reach the LCS for the first time since 1982, when the Brewers were in the American League.

In the NLCS, Estrada wasn't nearly as effective, allowing two earned runs on three hits in two innings of a 12-3 loss to St. Louis on Oct. 10 that evened the series at 1 before allowing another two runs on a hit and two walks in one inning of a 7-1 loss on Oct. 14 that gave the Cardinals a commanding 3-2 series lead. St. Louis would go on to close out the series with a 12-6 win two days later before beating the Texas Rangers in seven games in the World Series.

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