The Milwaukee Brewers blew a four-run lead to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday and ended up losing 6-5 on what manager Craig Counsell called the hottest day of the season.
Aided by another very good outing from starter Junior Guerra, he went 6 1/3 innings, giving up just one run on five hits, the Brewers led 4-1 when reliever Will Smith came on to replace him. All Smith did was give up five runs without recording and out and was pulled following a bases-clearing double by Anthony Rizzo.
“He’s had some hits against him, and he’s also struck him out a bunch,” Counsell said of the matchup. “It’s a big spot in the game for sure. I’m not taking Will out right there. That’s his hitter.”
Smith’s five runs allowed without recording an out tied a team record for a reliever, and it resulted in an angry Smith taking his frustrations out on some equipment inside the Brewers dugout. He eventually headed back to the clubhouse, and was gone before reporters had an opportunity to talk with him.
Milwaukee was paced offensively by second baseman Scooter Gennett, who drove in a pair of runs on the day, while Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a solo home run in the ninth, his third of the series.
Temperatures during the game were in the lower 90’s but the heat index made it feel like triple digits.
“Without a doubt the hottest game of the year,” Counsell said. “It was obviously a longer game, so our guys are tired for sure.”
Milwaukee is back in action on Monday night as they open a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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.
CINCINNATI — Milwaukee Brewers starter Zach Davies returned to throw seven scoreless innings, but a pitch from Will Smith that got past Jonathan Lucroy allowed Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton to score from third base for a 1-0 walk-off win.
After being called up from Triple A Colorado Springs where he spent the All-Star break, Davies lasted seven innings, striking out five Reds batters. But Dan Straily was equally dominant, striking out four in his seven innings of shutout baseball. When it came down to the bullpen though, that’s when Milwaukee faltered.
Will Smith entered the game in the ninth inning with two outs and Billy Hamilton on first base. After walking his first batter and Hamilton stealing third, Smith faced Jay Bruce. The game-deciding pitch was low and got away from catcher Jonathan Lucroy with enough time for the speedy center fielder to seal the game with a 1-0 victory.
Lucroy pinned the loss on himself as Milwaukee regroups with an off-day on Monday before heading to Pittsburgh to begin a series with the Pirates Tuesday night at 6:05.
ATLANTA — Milwaukee Brewers releiver Will Smith will throw a rehab assignment Tuesday night for Class A Brevard County | his first game action since being sidelined in late March.
Smith suffered a torn LCL in his right knee after taking off his shoe following a performance in a minor league contest. He opted to rehab the injury instead of surgery.
Smith was cleared for game action after throwing a batting practice session on Saturday. If there are no setbacks, he could be ready to rejoin the major league roster sometime next month.
He was expected to compete for the Brewers’ role as closer, which has since gone to Jeremy Jeffress (11 of 11 on save opportunities). Smith would likely become a setup man once recalled to Milwaukee’s roster.