Last strikes: Diamondbacks 2, Brewers 1

PHOENIX – Fourteen last strikes from the Milwaukee Brewers’ 2-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night at Chase Field.

1. The Brewers struck first in the fourth inning on a Travis Shaw RBI-double to right field over the outstretched glove of Arizona’s Steven Souza Jr. Christian Yelich opened the inning with a double to the wall in left-center field just past the dive of Chris Owings.

2. The Diamondbacks struck back in the bottom of the frame after Daniel Descalso drew a leadoff walk and later came around to score when Souza Jr. grounded into a double play to push the run across. That was the only damage that starter Jhoulys Chacin would warrant, but it wasn’t the last time a leadoff walk came back to bite the Brewers.

3. Chacin was excellent for Milwaukee as he pitched seven innings, allowing one run on a pair of hits while striking out seven.

4. “He pitched outstanding,” manager Craig Counsell said of Chacin’s outing. “He pitched beautifully, through seven innings strong, really had the ability to probably keep going. But it was an outstanding performance.”

5. After a bit of a tough start to the season, he’s been everything a team could ask for and more from a back of the rotation starter. This is now three starts in a row, and six of his last seven in which Chacin has allowed two runs or less.

6. “I felt pretty good. I felt that I was making pitches from the first inning,” Chacin said after the loss. “My slider was really good today. I think the key today was my changeup. I threw a lot of changeups today and it was working against the lefties that they had.”

7. It’s not fair to ask the bullpen to be perfect on every single night. That’s something that just isn’t going to happen, and they were not perfect on Tuesday as Arizona was able to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth.

8. Taylor Williams entered the game in the eighth replacing Chacin. He promptly allowed a leadoff walk to catcher Jeff Mathis. Mathis was then replaced by pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter John Ryan Murphy.

9. Williams was pulled in favor of Boone Logan after the sacrifice bunt. Logan got David Peralta to ground out for the second out of the inning before intentionally walking Chris Owings. Logan then allowed an RBI-single to Descalso to give Arizona the lead.

10. With the Brewers having a seemingly plethora of terrific bullpen arms, it did seem curious that Williams was the one called upon in that spot. It was later revealed that Jeremy Jeffress was unavailable to pitch due to a stiff neck.

11. “It was Taylor for two hitters there and then we were going to go to a lefty,” manager Craig Counsell said after the game. “[Jeffress] was down, he’s had a stiff neck for the past couple days. He’s doing better but we didn’t want to use him tonight.

12. “It’s the walk that hurts you there. You think, bottom of the lineup, you’ve got to throw strikes to those guys and it’s the walk that ends up hurting you.”

13. That lead stood up as the Brewers were unable to get anything going against Diamondbacks closer Brad Boxberger in the ninth inning. Shaw reached on an error by Murphy behind the dish with one out, but Domingo Santana lined out to right and Jonathan Villar struck out looking to things.

14. The Brewers and Diamondbacks play the rubber match of this three-game set on Wednesday afternoon at 2:40 p.m. CT. Brandon Woodruff (1-0, 8.03 ERA) will start for the Brewers and Matt Koch (2-1, 2.43) will be on the hill for Arizona. Talk to you then.

Last strikes: Cardinals 6, Brewers 0

MILWAUKEE – Fourteen last strikes for the 14 total hits in Milwaukee’s 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.

1. Things didn’t get off to a good start for the Milwaukee Brewers for the second night in a row. Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler laced Jhoulys Chacin’s second pitch of the game into the left-center gap for a leadoff double. Chacin then attempted to pick off Fowler at second and the ball got past Milwaukee second baseman Jonathan Villar into centerfield. Villar was charged with an error on the play as Fowler moved up to third. A few pitches later Tommy Pham hit an RBI-groundout to third base and St. Louis took a 1-0 lead.

2. On the bright side for Milwaukee fans, the Cardinals didn’t open the game with back-to-back home runs as they did on Tuesday night.

3. Just because that was the case didn’t mean things weren’t difficult for Chacin against the top of the Cardinals order. In the third inning Fowler led off with a walk, Pham hit a ground rule double, and both eventually scored to make it 3-0. Fowler scored on a ground out for the second time, and Pham was able to cross the plate on a Marcell Ozuna RBI-single.

4. That didn’t mean that the bottom of the order didn’t do damage as well. Catcher Yadier Molina hit his third home run of the season off Chacin in the fourth inning. He later drove in another run on a sacrifice fly to left field in the sixth inning.

5. The sacrifice fly was potentially the best defensive play of the game. Leftfielder Christian Yelich tracked the ball into foul territory before making a sliding catch up against the wall. It was a really impressive play, even though a run scored on the play. Yelich later left the game in what was described by manager Craig Counsell as “oblique stiffness.” Counsell also said it’s likely Yelich is held out of the lineup on Thursday against Chicago lefty Jon Lester.

6. The same could not be said about the rest of the sixth inning, however. Villar made his second error of the game. St. Louis second baseman Kolten Wong reached base on an infield single that deflected off the glove of Milwaukee first baseman Eric Thames right to Villar. There was no play at first, however Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong attempted to each third base on the play.

7. Villar had the opportunity to try and throw DeJong out, but the bail got past third baseman Travis Shaw. That allowed DeJong to score and Wong to move up to second base.

8. That display was also the end of the night for Chacin. He finished with a final line of 5.2 innings pitched, seven hits, six runs (three earned), a pair of walks, and the home run to Molina allowed.

9. “Thought [Chacin] pitched much better tonight than he did in San Diego,” Counsell said of Chacin’s performance. “I thought his breaking ball was very effective tonight. I thought the first inning we gave him a run and I thought we were a little sloppy in the sixth inning and gave up a couple runs. I was encouraged by this outing. He needs his breaking ball and his breaking ball was sharp tonight.”

10. “I felt that I was throwing more strikes today,” Chacin said. “I was trying to keep the ball down. There was a couple pitches, the one for the homer for Molina, I felt I put it where I wanted but he put a good swing on it. I’m disappointed in my first two starts this year, but I won’t put my head down. I’m going to keep working on all my pitches.”

11. Milwaukee’s first scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the second as Domingo Santana and Villar reached base on consecutive pitches. Santana was hit by a Carlos Martinez slider to start things off and Villar followed with a single to centerfield. Santana later reached third on a Manny Piña sacrifice fly to medium-deep center but was unable to advance any further. Both men were stranded due to Eric Sogard and Chacin both going down on strikes to close the inning.

12. The next scoring chance for the Crew didn’t come until the bottom of the seventh inning. Martinez was lights out for the Cardinals, finishing with a final line of 8.1 innings pitched, four hits, two walks, and 10 strike outs. Martinez didn’t allow a base running from the second inning until the seventh when Santana knocked a single into left field. Piña also reached base with a two-out walk, but the Brewers were unable to do anything else as Sogard lined out to center to end the threat.

13. The Brewers tried to make things interesting in the ninth inning, but the 6-0 St. Louis lead was too much to overcome. Milwaukee loaded the bases with one out in the inning. Piña then knocked a weakly hit bouncer back to the mound, resulting in a 1-2-3 double play to finish the game.

14. The loss drops the Brewers to 4-2 on the young season. Milwaukee welcomes the Chicago Cubs to Miller Park on Thursday evening for the first game of a four-game series.

Brewers announce the signing of two pitchers

The Milwaukee Brewers officially added a pair of arms to their rotation Thursday morning.

The team announced the signing of pitchers Yovani Gallardo to a 1-year deal and Jhoulys Chacin to a 2-year deal.

For 31-year-old Gallardo, it’s a return to the place he called home for the first eight years of his career before leaving for Texas following the 2014 season. The franchise’s all-time leader in strikeouts, Gallardo has not been the same pitcher he was the last time Brewers fans saw him. After not having a single season where he had an ERA above 4.18 and only one season with a losing record, Gallardo was 11-18 with an ERA north of 5.50 with Seattle and Baltimore the last two seasons.

As for Chacin, he comes to Milwaukee after going 13-10 with a 3.89 ERA in 32 starts for the San Diego Padres. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the 29-year-old’s contract is worth roughly $8 million per season.

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Arizona on Feb. 14.