Cincinnati beats the Brewers with a walk-off home run from Billy Hamilton

A walk-off home run from Billy Hamilton ruined the start of Milwaukee’s important six-game road trip as the Brewers fell 5-4 to Cincinnati on Monday.

Milwaukee fought back from an early 4-0 deficit thanks to a pair of home runs in the seventh inning — a solo shot by Ryan Braun and a three-run blast by Orlando Arcia. The Brewers had opportunities to add to its tally but were unable to capitalize and paid for it.

Hamilton, well known for his speed and base running, only had to jog around diamond after crushing the ball to deep left center off of Josh Hader for his first career walk-off homer. It was another shaky outing for Hader, who gave up a pair of runs in a 3-2 loss to Washington his last time out.

The Brewers were facing the big deficit thanks in part to Chase Anderson misplacing his command. The starter walked three, including two when the bases were loaded, allowing a pair of runs to cross. He ended up making it 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits.

Homer Bailey retired 14 batters straight at one point for the Reds, before he faltered in the seventh inning.

The loss did some damage to the Brewers playoff hopes, as Colorado got a walk-off win of its own against San Francisco. It allowed the Rockies to move 1.5 games up on Milwaukee. As for the NL Central, the Crew remained 3.5 games back of Chicago.

Milwaukee and Cincinnati will face off once again Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park.

Matt Garza roughed up in an 11-4 loss to the Twins

Matt Garza picked the wrong time to have his worst outing of the season.

The Milwaukee starter gave up eight runs in just 3 1/3 innings at Minnesota in an 11-4 loss on Tuesday night. The veteran had allowed just four runs in his previous 15 1/3 innings of work.

Garza started out OK, but the fourth inning turned into a nightmare for the 33-year-old. It started with a solo home run from center fielder Eddie Rosario, included a grand slam by second baseman Bryan Dozier and concluded with another home run, this one from right fielder Max Kepler. The Brewers had entered the frame with a 4-2 lead and came out of it down 8-4, a deficit they wouldn’t recover from.

Offensively, the Crew got three hits apiece from right fielder Domingo Santana, left fielder Ryan Braun and shortstop Orlando Arcia, but they could manage just the four runs. Braun came up a home run short of hitting for the cycle.

The loss was Milwaukee’s third-straight, but because the Cubs lost to San Francisco, the Brewers remain just 1 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central. But things are getting tight behind them, too, with St. Louis just a game back of Milwaukee and Pittsburgh only two games back.

The Brewers and Twins will continue their interleague series tonight 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.

 

 

 

 

Rays walk off against Brewers, avoid series sweep

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays avoided a series sweep Sunday afternoon, taking down the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on a walk-off home run from Steven Souza, Jr.

After eight quality innings from Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson, Jacob Barnes allowed the one hit that made the difference in the contest, breaking the 1-1 deadlock. Nelson allowed six hits while fanning nine.

Opposing starter Chris Archer exited the game after six innings and an Orlando Arcia solo home run, Milwaukee’s only scoring offense of the game. Archer was given a no-decision while extending his streak of six innings to 15 consecutive starts.

While the Rays end their 21-inning scoreless drought, the Brewers took a momentary step back in the National League Central standings. Milwaukee now trails Chicago by a full game, with the Cubs and Nationals finishing up Sunday evening.

Brewers come out of All Star break with 9-6 win over Phillies

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of lesser competition Friday night, blasting two home runs in a 9-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Miller Park.

Keon Broxton got the momentum moving with an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning and that’s when the doors blew open. Orlando Arcia followed up Broxton’s hit with a three-run blast to give Milwaukee a 4-2 lead, but it didn’t take long for that lead to grow. Ryan Braun’s 17th-career grand slam came just moments later to make it an 8-2 contest after two innings.

That big lead allowed Brewers starter Zach Davies to make mistakes without being punished. He’d finish his night with six runs (five earned) allowed on seven hits, with a career-high five walks. He was replaced by Carlos Torres mid-way through the sixth inning.

“I’m pissed off by my performance, definitely,” Davies said. “But the team’s winning, and you can’t be selfish in that aspect and be upset and show it when the team is doing what it should be doing.”

Davies would still get credit for the win — his 11th of the season — thanks to the run support. Of all the regular starters in baseball, Davies has been backed by the third-most runs scored.

“That’s the case this year, there’s no question about it. We’ve scored a ton of runs in Zach’s starts,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I don’t have a great explanation. There’s going to be a guy that gets the most runs. I can guarantee that.”

With the Chicago Cubs also winning Friday night, Milwaukee’s win helped maintain the team’s 5 ½ game lead atop the National League Central. Arcia admitted to keeping an eye on the score for their division rival, though he didn’t seem affected by it.

“You’re always paying attention. I don’t think it’ll be a distraction, especially if we keep winning. It’s obviously going to be fun to watch the other teams, what they’re doing, if we keep doing our thing.”

Chase Anderson injured, Brewers lose 4-3 to the Reds

Milwaukee lost to Cincinnati 4-3 on Wednesday night and also lost its best pitcher for what is expected to be an extended period of time.

Chase Anderson suffered an oblique strain during a second inning at-bat and was forced to leave the game.

“I [swung] at it and it literally just felt like someone stabbed me on the left side,” Anderson told reporters after the game. “Not a good feeling.”

It’s unclear how long Anderson will be out, but the team has already decided to put him on the disabled list, and his absence could be last for quite a while.

“It’s [going to] take time. Those are injuries that you really can’t pinpoint a time schedule. It could be a month, it could be two months [and] hopefully nothing longer than that,” Anderson said. “Obviously, I hate sitting out. I don’t want to be on the [disabled list]. I want to pitch. [I’ve] been throwing the ball well lately. It’s just unfortunate for our rotation and for our team.”

Anderson has been Milwaukee’s No. 1 pitcher this season, going 6-2 with a 2.89 ERA – the best among the team’s starters.

“Anytime you lose one of your five starters, it’s a big blow,” manager Craig Counsell said. “I got used to [him] pitching very, very well. We’ll have to cover in his absence. It’s going to be difficult.”

LISTEN: Chase Anderson talks about the injury that landed him on the DL

Paulo Espino replaced Anderson after the injury and gave up three runs in three innings of work, including a 2-run homer to former Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett, his 12th of the year.

The game was tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning when Counsell decided to go with closer Corey Knebel, who promptly walked the speedy Billy Hamilton. He stole second and third before scoring on an infield single by Adam Duvall.

Milwaukee had a chance to tie the game in the top of the ninth, with Jonathan Villar on third base and just one out. But pinch hitter Jesus Aguliar struckout and Orlando Arcia was thrown out trying to get to second base on what Counsell said was a called play.

“It was going to work,” Counsell said of the intended rundown that would have allowed Villar to potentially score the tying run. “Orlando just didn’t stop in time, and they got a tag.”

The loss was Milwaukee’s fourth in its last five games, yet the Brewers remain in first place in the NL Central by one game over the Chicago Cubs.

It’ll be Cincinnati and the Brewers again Thursday night. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m.

Santana, Arcia help Milwaukee to a 4-3 win against Pittsburgh

Timely hitting from Domingo Santana and a brilliant play from shortstop Orlando Arcia helped Milwaukee get past Pittsburgh 4-3 Wednesday night at Miller Park.

The Brewers never led in the game until the bottom of the seventh. That’s when Santana stepped up to the plate with two outs and drilled what proved to be the game-winning two-run homer. It was his first home run since June 7 and his 12th on the year.

“He’s got opposite field power. We’ve seen it a bunch this year,” manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s a huge spot.”

Arica and first baseman Eric Thames made sure it would hold up. With the tying run on second base, John Jaso sent a grounder up the middle that looked destined for the outfield. But Arcia somehow tracked it down, spun and threw a one-hopper to Thames, who scooped it up for the final out of the game.

“Off the bat, I was like, ‘Oh, shoot,” Thames said. “I was like, ‘Oh, please don’t be a hit.’ Then all of a sudden I see Arcia going for it. I was like, ‘There’s no way he’s going to catch that.’”

But Arcia did, and in doing so made one of the plays of the year so far for the first-place Brewers.

“I was yelling don’t throw it,” Counsell said with a laugh afterwards. “That’s probably what stands out the most.

“It’s a special play in a huge moment.”

Corey Knebel was the benefactor of the play as he picked up his 11th save of the season to help Milwaukee snap a two-game losing streak.

Junior Guerra got the start, going six innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out six.

Milwaukee, which owns a 1.5 game lead on the Cubs in the NL Central, will try to salvage a split of its four-game series with the Pirates Thursday afternoon.

Brewers finish off a sweep of the Reds, Thames leaves with injury

The Cincinnati Reds are all the Milwaukee Brewers need to feel good about themselves.

For a sixth time in seven games this year, the Crew came out on top against their NL Central rivals, this time a 9-4 victory on Wednesday afternoon to finish off a three-game sweep.

Milwaukee jumped all over pitcher Rookie Davis, chasing him after just 2 2/3rds innings, and tagging him with eight runs – seven earned – on 11 hits to move back above .500 on the year.

Outfielder Ryan Braun got things started with a two-run double in the first and that was followed by three more runs in the opening inning. In the third, Orlando Arcia drilled a two-run homer that pushed Milwaukee’s lead to 8-1 and the Reds wouldn’t come close to challenging the rest of the way.

Wily Peralta got the win, though he didn’t have his best stuff. He went five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits, with seven strikeouts and a pair of walks to improve to 4-1 on the year.

Eric Thames, who had homered in his first six games against the Reds, did not go yard again, but did score twice before leaving with tightness in his left hamstring. He told reporters afterwards that it wasn’t serious and he doesn’t expect to miss any time.

Milwaukee has Thursday off, but will open a weekend series against the Atlanta Braves on Friday at Miller Park.

Arcia hitless in Major League debut

SAN DIEGO — Top prospect Orlando Arcia got his first Major League start for the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night, going 0-for-4 at the plate in a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres.

The 21-year-old shortstop went hitless in his debut, but made some plays on the defensive end that raised some eyebrows.

“I didn’t hit very well, but I was able to play good defense and we were able to get the win. It always feels good to win,” Arcia said.

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun hit his 15th home run of the season in the sixth inning, followed by a two-run RBI thanks to Chris Carter. Braun offered his support of Arcia as he tries to live up to the hype of being one of Milwaukee’s three prospects in Baseball America‘s top eight.

“Easier said than done,” Braun said. “There’s a ton of adrenaline, a ton of emotion, a lot of thoughts that are running through your head. Hey, it’s even exciting for all of us to see a guy with his potential show up. It’s something we can all feed off of.”

The Brewers and Padres finish up the three-game series Wednesday at 2:40 p.m. CT.

Brewers call up top prospect Orlando Arcia

SAN DIEGO — The same night the Milwaukee Brewers traded away veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy, manager Craig Counsell announced the team would be calling up top shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

“The thinking is it’s time to get started,” Counsell said following Monday’s game. “We’ve still got 55 games left, a good chunk of the season left, where we’re hopeful that it gives [Arcia] good experience going into next year”

The No. 1 prospect in Milwaukee’s farm system has 404 minor league at-bats in 2015 with a .267 batting average with eight home runs and 15 steals.

Arcia will get the start at shortstop Tuesday night in San Diego, bumping Jonathan Villar over to third base.  Counsell says he’ll have to find a new place for Hernan Perez, whose hot season continued with his eighth home run of the season in Monday night’s 7-3 loss.

Milwaukee is now tied for the most prospects (eight) ranked in the Top 75.