Last strikes: Indians 3, Brewers 1

CLEVELAND – Seventeen last strikes from Milwaukee’s 3-1 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field.

1. For the second time in less than 24 hours the Milwaukee Brewers had to square off against an Cy Young-caliber pitchers. The second attempt went very similarly to the first.

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2. The Brewers struggled to generate any meaningful offense, with their only run of the game coming in the third inning on an RBI single by third baseman Travis Shaw to right field. That was the only damage Milwaukee could inflict upon Carrasco, similar to only scratching out one run against Corey Kluber the night prior.

3. “We’ve lost a couple games. We just lost two games – 3-1 and 3-2 – to Kluber and Carrasco,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said after the game. “Tough games, they pitched well. It’s on to the next city.”

4. Counsell is right. When Carrasco has his stuff working, as he did Wednesday, he’s one of the tougher pitchers in baseball to beat. It’s a tough draw for the Brewers as in each two-game series Milwaukee had to face both Kluber and Carrasco. Finishing with one win in four tries doesn’t exactly feel like an accomplishment, but it certainly could have been worse.

5. Hitting the ball wasn’t the issue, per say, as the Crew finished with nine hits and out-hit the Indians in the quick two-game set 17-14. What Milwaukee failed to do was operate with men on base. It was an issue in Tuesday’s loss and it was a struggle again Wednesday as the Brewers left seven men on base.

6. When opportunities arise against pitchers the caliber of Kluber or Carrasco they need to be taken advantage of, and the Brewers failed to do so this in this series.

7. Not only did the Brewers face a terrific outing against them for the second straight day, they also received a solid outing from their own starter.

8. Chase Anderson didn’t pitch quite as well as Junior Guerra did on Tuesday night, but he went 4.1 innings while allowing three runs on four hits while striking out four. Anderson left the game in the fifth after Cleveland’s Michael Brantley knocked an RBI-single through the left side of the infield to tie the game at one.

9. Reliever Jeremy Jeffress entered the game to take over for Anderson. Jeffress hadn’t allowed an inherited runner to score since the end of April and had only allowed two total on the year.

10. The first batter he faced was Jose Ramírez who laced a double into the right field corner scoring Francisco Lindor. Retiring Ramírez in that spot is a tough ask. Ramírez is one of the best third basemen in baseball and is second in the game in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), behind only Mike Trout of the Angels.

11. “It’s a tough spot,” Counsell said. “Jose Ramírez is one of the better hitters. He’s in the top of the league as far as offensive players right now. It’s a tough spot for anybody.”

12. Jeffress ended the day allowing both runners he inherited to score. After Ramírez’s double he walked both Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso to force in another run and set the game’s final score at 3-1.

13. Days like this are going to happen for Jeffress and other members of the bullpen. His ERA still is a stellar 0.60 on the season. There are going to be times during the year when he struggles in an outing or two. That’s just how baseball works. The same thing is going to happen to everybody in that bullpen, no one is immune.

14. Counsell didn’t get to see the end of the game as he was tossed in the top of the eighth inning after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott. There was no motion from Wolcott announcing the ejection which led to a very confused press box, but there certainly was an uptick in the intensity of the discussion between the two at a point.

15. “There was nothing brewing all day. It was a benign ejection for me. I don’t know what I said. There was no profanity used, I don’t know. Once he ejected me there was some words exchanged, but I’m not sure. It wasn’t my intention to get ejected by any means. I didn’t really understand it.”

16. There are times when managers will get ejected purposefully over a little call in a game which the team isn’t performing well or during a stretch of baseball that isn’t up to par. This certainly didn’t seem like that was the case today.

17. The Brewers have Thursday off before heading to Philadelphia, Pa. to take on the Phillies in a three-game weekend set.

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