Thames, Santana help the Brewers to a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh

Milwaukee took care of Pittsburgh 7-2 on Tuesday night, but the Brewers failed to gain any ground in their push for a playoff spot.

Brent Suter gave up two runs in three innings of work before turning things over to six relievers to go the rest of the way. Jeremy Jeffress got the win thanks to 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, while Corey Knebel picked up his 35th save of the season.

The Brewers were paced offensively by first baseman Eric Thames and right fielder Domingo Santana, as the duo combined for four of the team’s five RBIs, including the 29th homer of the season for Thames.

Unfortunately for the Brewers, all the teams they are chasing in the National League also won, meaning they are a ½ game back of St. Louis and 2 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central, and four games off Colorado’s pace for the second wild-card spot.

Milwaukee will close out its series with the Pirates on Wednesday night at Miller Park.

Brewers falter late, lose 3-2 to Washington

Josh Hader gave up a pair of runs in the eighth inning as Milwaukee fell 3-2 to Washington Saturday night at Miller Park.

The Brewers led 2-1 when Michael Taylor took Hader deep for solo home run. After a batter reached on a bunt single, Trea Turner delivered the go-ahead double.

“He’s got thirty-some innings in and he’s dominated hitters,” manager Craig Counsell said in defense of Hader, who had given up just five runs on the year coming in. “He’s going to be a big part of this going forward. He’s going to be a very important guy for us. Tonight just wasn’t his night.”

The loss wasted what was a great outing from starter Brandon Woodruff. He went seven innings, giving up just one run on two hits and struckout eight.

On the other side, Max Scherzer held the Brewers lineup in check, allowing just one run on two hits over five innings of work. A crew of five relievers came on to help the Nationals get the win.

Offensively for Milwaukee, first baseman Eric Thames had an RBI double in the fourth inning, and catcher Stephen Vogt had a double in the sixth inning that scored second baseman Neil Walker.

Despite losing, Milwaukee didn’t lose any ground in the wild card race. That’s thanks to Colorado losing to Arizona, meaning the Brewers are still just 1 1/2 games back of the Rockies.

Milwaukee will go for the series win over Washington Sunday afternoon. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m.

St. Louis hammers the Brewers 10-2

Any momentum the Milwaukee Brewers had coming of a successful road trip came to a screeching halt Tuesday night, as the St. Louis Cardinals rolled into town and walked away with a convincing 10-2 victory.

Starter Matt Garza got lit up, making it just 3 1/3 innings, giving up six runs – three of them earned – on four hits. He also walked five, tying a season-high. The veteran took the loss to fall to 6-8 on the year.

In relief, Carlos Torres allowed three runs in just 1 1/3 innings.

Milwaukee’s offense was also missing in action, as the St. Louis pitching staff, led by starter Luke Weaver, held them in check. The only runs they were able to muster came courtesy of first baseman Eric Thames’s 28th homer of the year and a Keon Broxton single in the sixth.

The loss dropped the Brewers 3 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central with 30 games to play. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are now just 1 ½ games out of second.

Milwaukee and St. Louis will play the finale of their short two-game series Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.

Milwaukee offense shows signs of life in 11-10 loss to Cincinnati

Milwaukee’s offense showed signs of life, but it wasn’t enough for the Brewers to avoid an 11-10 loss to Cincinnati on Friday night at Miller Park.

The Reds lit-up starter Jimmy Nelson, tagging him for a season-high 10 runs on 11 hits in just 3 2/3rds innings. It was the second-shortest outing of the year for Nelson, who is having the best season of his career.

On the other side, Homer Bailey, who had given up 10 runs in his last start, kept the Brewers bats at bay, going five innings and allowing just two runs on five hits. But the bullpen had a night to forget, especially Blake Wood. He gave up five runs without recording an out in the sixth inning, including a three-run homer by Eric Thames. He was replaced by Michael Lorenzen, who would give up two more runs in what turned into a 7-run sixth inning for Milwaukee.

The Crew trailed 10-9 heading into the seventh, when the Reds got one of the runs back courtesy of a Tucker Barnhardt home run off reliever Carlos Torres. The run proved to be the game-winner as Milwaukee got a homer from Jonathan Villar in the ninth but nothing else.

Milwaukee’s 10 runs were the most its scored since putting up 11 against Chicago on July 6, and the first time in 14 games it scored more than four runs.

The loss was the sixth straight for Milwaukee, who fell into a tie with Pittsburgh for third place in the NL Central. Both teams trail St. Louis by two games and Chicago by three.

The Brewers and Reds will matchup once again Saturday night in Milwaukee.

What this Brewers offense is missing

The Brewers have undoubtedly played better than anyone expected this season, and are still in the hunt for the National League Central title. This has lead to Brewers general manager David Stearns making some moves to sure up the Milwaukee bullpen, which emerged as the team’s weakest unit.

The team has struggled since the All-Star break going 9-14 in that time. The starting pitching has been relatively good all season, and the bullpen has made strides as of late. What is really plaguing the Brewers is the fact that the offense isn’t hitting home runs and not scoring runs in general.

David Stearns mentioned how he would continue to look at every option available to improve this ball club. I’m sure he’ll continue to scour the waiver wire and look to make deals during the waiver trade deadline.  He could also continue to bring up younger players from the minor league in hopes of a spark. Which might not really happen until September.

Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips are two highly touted prospects, but both have shown that the Brewers need to be patient with their progression as they’ve both struggled in their limited time at the big league level.

There has been a lot said lately about how the Brewers have struggled to score runs especially when they aren’t hitting home runs. That is true, but the team is struggling to even get on base at the same time. What I think this Brewers team is missing is a true lead-off hitter. Jonathan Villar was the Brewers lead-off man for most of last season, but he has been anything but productive so far this season.

Villar is hitting .216 this season with 8 home runs and 32 RBIs. He does have 20 stolen bases, but has shown a lack of concentration on the bases too many times in his career. He has also struck out 111 times this season, which is over 34% of his at-bats. His on-base percentage of .276 is terrible for a traditional lead-off hitter. He has also committed 11 errors this season, which doesn’t help his case.

Eric Sogard has also seen quite a bit of time in the lead-off spot since mid-May. He was fitting the role nicely up until he went on the disabled list just before the All-Star break. Since returning to the lineup a little more than two weeks ago, he has really struggled. Since July, Sogard is a combined 3-39 for a batting average of .077 during that time period. The Brewers have to monitor his playing time because he is coming off of knee reconstruction surgery.

The Brewers don’t really have many other options. Eric Thames and Domingo Santana have seen some time at the top of the order, but Craig Counsell and the Brewers would prefer them lower in the order. Keon Broxton has also gotten starts in the lead-off spot, but has struck out at too high of a clip to be a good candidate for the position. The Brewers could try Orlando Arcia at the top spot in the order, but Craig Counsell seems content with batting him in the seventh or eighth spot.

Without a consistent lead-off hitter, the Brewers offense will continue to struggle as long as they aren’t hitting the long ball. For my money, I’d pull the trigger on calling up top prospects Lewis Brinson and/or Mauricio Dubon and let them find their swings at the major league level.

 

 

 

 

Brewers fall 5-4 to St. Louis

Brent Suter couldn’t keep his success from July going in August, as Milwaukee (56-53) fell 5-4 to St. Louis (53-54) on Wednesday night.

An injury replacement for Chase Anderson, Suter gave up six runs all of last month, but the Cardinals tagged him for five in his first start this month. Suter made it 5 1/3 innings, giving up the five runs, including a pair of home runs, on eight hits and striking out seven. He took the loss to fall to 2-2 on the year.

On the other side, Milwaukee once again jumped on the board early with a home run from Eric Thames in the first inning. But after that, Luke Weaver largely shut them down, holding the Brewers scoreless until a seventh-inning single from Hernan Perez. Weaver’s final line showed him giving up just the two runs on five hits and striking out eight. He improved to 1-1 for the season.

A two-run homer from Jesus Aguilar in the eighth inning got Milwaukee within one, but that’s as close as the Crew would get.

The loss proved to be a wasted opportunity for Milwaukee, as Chicago lost 3-0 to Arizona. It leaves the Cubs lead in the NL Central at 2 1/2 games on the Brewers with 53 games to play.

Milwaukee and St. Louis will close out the three game series on Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.

Davies struggles, offense sputters in 7-3 loss to Pirates

MILWAUKEE — The Pittsburgh Pirates jumped out to a 6-0 lead and ultimately hung on for a 7-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night.

Brewers starter Zach Davies was tagged for all seven runs scored by the Pirates, allowing 10 hits in the process. He left after five innings of work, having yet to make it into the seventh inning this season. In fact, Davies only has three games this season in which he’s thrown six innings. Davies has now allowed 14 earned runs in 15 innings over his last three starts.

“I should be ready from pitch one,” Davies said. “I’m kind of over the mechanical, the sequencing, all those kind of excuses. I think it’s just time to go out and compete.”

But Tuesday night’s loss wasn’t solely on Davies. The offense stranded 21 base runners, with Eric Thames and Manny Piña each going 0-for-5 at the plate. Thames’ last hit was on June 17, making it on base just once since.

One of the few positives for Milwaukee was outfielder Nick Franklin’s two RBI, one of which came on a second-inning home run and the other with an RBI double in the third.

Thames reaches career milestone in win over Padres

MILWAUKEE — When the Milwaukee Brewers signed first baseman Eric Thames to a three-year, $16 million contract, they were simply hoping for production. So far, he’s made that contract look like a bargain.

Thames blasted his 19th home run of the year in Friday night’s 6-5 win over the San Diego Padres, hitting a milestone along the way. His walk-off home run in the 10th inning was the first of his Major League career.

But Thames wasn’t the only one to go yard in Milwaukee’s fourth-straight win. Travis Shaw hit a solo home run in the second inning, followed by Keon Broxton’s three-run dinger in the fourth that erased a 4-0 deficit. Manny Piña would add another solo bomb in the eighth prior to Thames’ game winner.

Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra struggled with command on the mound, walking four batters in six innings of work. That lack of command led to four runs (three earned) scoring for San Diego, including a pair of home runs. The Brewers late-inning relievers shut the door on any comeback attempt for the Padres, with Corey Knebel striking out a pair in his single inning of work. Jared Hughes picked up his third win of the year after pitching a scoreless 10th.

Brewers power past the Cardinals 6-4

Milwaukee powered its way to a 6-4 win at St. Louis on Thursday night.

After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, centerfielder Keon Broxton tied things up in the second with a two-run homer that traveled 489-feet – the longest home run in Busch Stadium history. It was also the second-longest homer of the year in the Major Leagues.

“Oh, my gosh. Wow,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said when told afterwards where Broxton’s effort stacked up. “That’s rare air.”

Milwaukee wasn’t done with the long ball, though. With the game tied at four in the ninth inning, first baseman Eric Thames jumped on an 0-2 pitch and drilled it to right field, where it hit the top of the wall and bounced over for a two-run homer.

“(An assistant) and I were discussing whether we should pinch run for (Jesus) Aguilar, (who was on first base),” Counsell said. “When (Thames) hit it, I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ (Thankfully) it got over. I was glad that decision didn’t come back to haunt us.”

Oliver Drake came on in the bottom of the ninth to earn the save, the first of his big league career.
Milwaukee finished its seven-game road trip with a 4-3 record and is now 19-13 away from Miller Park this year.

“It’s another road trip we pulled a winning record from and continued to play good baseball,” Counsell said. “And really just continued to be resilient.”

The win pushed Milwaukee four games over .500 at 36-32, and the team now holds a 2.5 game lead on the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central.

The Brewers will return home on Friday night to open a weekend series against the San Diego Padres.

Rain delays can’t slow Brewers in 7-6 win

ST. LOUIS — The Milwaukee Brewers withstood two rain delays to down the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.

First baseman Eric Thames had a big hand in Milwaukee’s win, blasting his 17th home run of the year paired with three RBIs. Most of the game’s offense came in the first two innings, with the Brewers and Cardinals battling back and forth to a 6-4 Milwaukee lead.

“We did a good job again jumping on a starting pitcher early before he got in it, and before he looks up we’ve got six on the board against him, against a really good starting pitcher,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s been a little bit of our formula this year, and then we hung on.”

Milwaukee tagged Mike Leake for nine hits and six earned runs, although he stayed in the game for six innings. Brewers starter Matt Garza returned from the 10-day disabled list to throw five innings of four-run ball. He allowed five hits and struck out four.

The bullpen has been an issue for the Brewers this season, losing a Major League-high 18 games. Designating Neftali Feliz for assignment was meant to cut down on late runs scored, but Jacob Barnes didn’t make things any easier for the Crew, giving up two late runs.