Milwaukee blows late lead, loses 5-3 in 10 innings to Chicago

For a second straight night the Milwaukee Brewers lost in agonizing fashion, this time a 5-3 setback to the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning against the defending World Series champions, only to see shortstop Javy Baez drive in the tying run off of Jeremy Jeffress with two strikes and two down.

“(Jeffress) did a great job. He did exactly what he was supposed to do,” Counsell said. “He threw a ball on the last pitch (to Baez), that looked to me like it was just off the ground, and (Baez) just rolled a ball up the middle.”

Milwaukee loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning, but couldn’t get a run across. In the 10th, Chicago’s Kris Bryant drilled what proved to be the game-winning 2-run homer off of Oliver Drake.

The loss came a night after the Brewers blew a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning to Pittsburgh, who went on to win the game 6-4.

“Two tough games,” Counsell said of the missed opportunities. “We’re still sitting, to me, in a pretty good spot, where we can play well for the last nine days and still do something good. Every loss is going to be incredibly tough right now.”

Chicago pushed its lead in the NL Central to 4 ½ games on the second-place Brewers, and while it seems a bit much to ask to catch the Cubs, Milwaukee is still, like Counsell said, in good shape playoff-wise. That’s thanks to Colorado, which has lost three straight and still holds just a one-game lead on the Brewers, with St. Louis a ½ game back of them.

“Having multiple options to get into the playoffs is nice, but (this) is a big series regardless of that wild card issue,” pitcher Zach Davies said. “We’ve got three games left (with the Cubs). We’ll take it to them the next three.”

Milwaukee and Chicago will play game No. 2 of the four-game series at Miller Park on Friday night with first pitch coming at 6:35 p.m.

Brewers continue their playoff push, beat Washington 7-2

In a rare occurrence in the second half of the season, the Milwaukee offense and its pitching showed up in the same game, helping the Brewers to a 7-2 win over Washington on Sunday at Miller Park.

The offense was powered by Domingo Santana, who had a solo home run in the first inning and followed that with a two-run blast in the fourth. The right fielder drew a pair of walks in his other at-bats and finished the day with three runs scored. Left fielder Ryan Braun and first baseman Neil Walker each had a pair of hits.

As for the pitching, it was a group effort. Brent Suter got the start, going three innings and giving up two hits. Three relievers — Jeremy Jeffress, Jacob Barnes and Andrew Zwarzak – kept the shutout going, not allowing a hit in a combined five innings of work. Former starter Junior Guerra, who spent time in Triple-A the last month, allowed a two-run homer in the 9th, the only runs Washington managed for the afternoon.

Milwaukee ended up taking three of four from the NL East-leading Nationals and completed its six-game home stand 4-2.

With the win, the Brewers moved to within one game of Colorado in the push for the second wild card spot in the National League, and could be within a ½ game depending on the outcome of the Rockies contest with Arizona that was ongoing.

Now, the Brewers hit the road for six important games, first with a stop in Cincinnati and then in Chicago against the NL Central-leading Cubs.

Recap: Brewers July trades

Brewers  general manager David Stearns remained active all the way up to the deadline and ended up pulling off three trades in July. The Brewers made one trade today before the non-waiver trade deadline, which passed at 3 p.m. CST. Stearns acquired talent without mortgaging the organization’s farm system. He made trades with lower-rated prospects or from a position of depth within the minor leagues.

 

Trade Recaps

July 13th

The Brewers acquired left-handed relief pitcher Tyler Webb for Triple-A first basemen Garrett Cooper. Tyler Webb is currently in Triple-A Colorado Springs after posting a 0-0 record with a 9.00 ERA and a 3.15 WHIP in two appearances with the Brewers in Mid-July. He threw two innings and gave up two runs, including a grand slam to the first batter he faced as a Brewer.

July 26th

The Brewers acquired right-handed pitcher Anthony Swarzak for their 17th ranked outfield prospect Ryan Cordell. Cordell was playing at Triple-A Colorado Springs, but Stearns and the Brewers felt like he was expendable due to the crowded outfield in the Brewers farm system. Swarzak has pitched two innings so far for the Brewers and has allowed one hit, a home run versus the Chicago Cubs. He has also struck out two batters.

July 31st

The Brewers acquired right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress for Double-A relief pitcher Tayler Scott. Jeffress played three seasons for the Brewers from 2014-16 and was a valuable set-up man and closer. He was ultimately traded in the Jonathan Lucroy deal in which the Brewers acquired Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Cordell last summer. Jeffress has struggled with the Rangers, posting a 1-2 record with a 5.31 ERA. He has struggled with drug and alcohol issues in the past, and didn’t want to leave Milwaukee last season because of the good support-system he had there. The Brewers hope he can return to his old form.

David Stearns acquired the talent he could without hurting the organization’s future all the way up to the non-waiver trade deadline, but don’t expect the Brewers to be quiet in August. Stearns expects to be busy looking for quality deals in the month of August during the waiver trade deadline that expires at the end of the month.

Brewers reacquire pitcher Jeremy Jeffress from Rangers

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Brewers have reacquired right-handed pitcher Jeremy Jeffress from the Texas Rangers in exchange for
right-handed pitcher Tayler Scott. To make room for Jeffress on the 40-man roster, outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis was designated for assignment.
The announcement was made by General Manager David Stearns.
Jeffress, 29, returns for his third stint with Milwaukee (also 2010 and 2014-16). He was traded by Milwaukee to Texas last August 1 as part
of a five-player deal (Lucroy trade). He was originally selected by the Brewers in the first round (16th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Jeffress is 13-6 with a 3.31 ERA and 28 saves in 249 career relief appearances with Milwaukee (2010, 2014-16), Kansas City (2011-12),
Toronto (2013-14) and Texas (2016-17), including 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA in 39 appearances this season. He has gone 9-3 with a 2.38 ERA and 27
saves in 158 games as a Brewer. He served as the closer in 2016 prior to being traded to Texas, converting 27 of 28 save opportunities.
Scott, 25, signed with Milwaukee as a free agent on July 4, 2016. He went 4-6 with a 2.34 ERA and 2 saves in 42 relief appearances at
Double-A Biloxi this season.

3-run homer by Carlos Gomez helps Texas get past Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Brewers were done in by one of their former stars on Wednesday night in Texas.

Outfielder Carlos Gomez drilled a 3-run home run as part of a 4-run eighth inning to help the Rangers past the Crew 8-5. Gomez, who played six seasons in Milwaukee before being traded to Houston last year, had three hits in four at-bats for Texas, his 31st game with the Rangers since being cut by the Astros last month.

Another former Milwaukee player, pitcher Jeremy Jeffress, got the win by pitching a pair of scoreless innings.

Milwaukee was paced by Jonathan Villar, who led the game off with a home run, his 19th of the year.

If he hits one more, he’ll join an exclusive club of players that have hit at least 20 homers and stolen at least 60 bases in a single season. The last time in happened was in 1990 with Oakland’s Ricky Henderson, and just two other players — Joe Morgan and Eric Davis — have ever pulled the feat.

In his final start of the year, Milwaukee pitcher Chase Anderson went five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits. He finished the season with a 9-11 record and a 4.39 ERA.

The Brewers are off on Thursday, but will open the final series of their season on Friday in Colorado.

Brewers trade Jonathan Lucroy, Jeremy Jeffress to Texas

Jonathan Lucroy’s pinch hitting appearance in Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh, one that saw him get a standing ovation from fans at Miller Park, proved to be his final act as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.

After vetoing a trade late Sunday morning that would have sent him to Cleveland, the veteran catcher was shipped off to the Texas Rangers just before the 3 p.m. trade deadline on Monday. And he wasn’t alone. Closer Jeremy Jeffress was also part of the deal, bringing his second stint with the club to an end.

In return, the Brewers were able to beef up their farm system by adding a pair of top 75 prospects. Outfielder Lewis Brinson is rated No. 21 in MLB.com’s mid-season rankings, while the other player acquired, right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz, is rated No. 63. Add in Phil Bickford, who the Brewers received in exchange for trading Will Smith earlier in the day to San Francisco, and Milwaukee now has eight players rated in the top 76 of the rankings.

“While it is extremely difficult to part with players the caliber of Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress, we are excited to add more young and talented players to the organization as we continue to build toward future winning seasons in Milwaukee,” first-year general manager David Stearns said in a statement.

The moving of Lucroy is the end of an era for a guy that has known only Milwaukee. The Brewers took in him the third round of the 2007 draft, and since coming to the majors in 2010, he’s hit 79 home runs and has 387 RBI’s.

“Thank you Brewers fans for everything! Nothing but love and respect from our family,” Lucroy tweeted. “You will always have a special place in our hearts!”

Veteran Martin Maldonado will take over Lucroy’s every day catching duties.

Mets, Red Sox interested in Jeffress and Smith

MILWAUKEE — The New York Mets and Boston Red Sox have expressed interest in Milwaukee Brewers closers Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith,  according to the New York Daily News.

The MLB trade deadline is Aug. 1 and New York and Boston figure to be some of the teams looking to add bullpen depth. The Mets have reportedly had talks with the Brewers but it’s unclear how serious those discussions have become. The Brewers have recently sent scouts to watch some minor league Mets prospects.

Smith is 1-2 with a 2.12 ERA while Jeffress has recorded 23 saves in 40 chances this year.  His ERA currently sits at 2.32.

Brewer Bullpen & Defense Flounder in Loss to A’s

The Milwaukee Brewers fell to 1-7 on their current California road trip by virtue of a 5-3 loss on Tuesday night in Oakland to the Athletics. After losing each of his first three starts in the month of June, Jimmy Nelson worked five innings of one-run ball on Tuesday before giving way to the bullpen.

The once strong unit had a rough go of it on this night, however, as the A’s scored four runs over their final four trips to the plate to secure the victory. Three of those runs went unearned following a Jonathan Villar error in the seventh. Coincidentally, on a night when the Brewers stroked ten base hits but left 17 runners on base, Villar was the lone Milwaukee bat to fail to record a hit.

Offensively, the Brewers received a two-for-four night from Ryan Braun and got RBI contributions from Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Chris Carter.

The final knockout punch came in the seventh on Marcus Semien’s two-run triple off of Michael Blazek, who was making his return from a stint on the DL.

The Brewers and A’s will hold a 2:35 CT matinee on Wednesday.