Brewers 5, Rockies 1: Last takes

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Brewers took game one of a four-game set against the Colorado Rockies 5-1 at Miller Park Monday night. The Brewers have won three of their last four games since dropping a season-high four straight from 4/21-4/24.

Zeus blasts his first and second HRs of the season

Jesus Aguilar was due for a big game after the start he’s gotten off to this season. He entered Monday night’s contest with just one hit in his last 25 at-bats and was hitless in his last 15 at-bats.

Known as a power-hitter, Aguilar hadn’t hit a home run in his last 80 at-bats. The last time he went yard was on 9/30/18 vs Detroit. He broke that streak off Rockies’ starter Kyle Freeland blasting his first and second home runs of the year off the left-hander.

A three-run dinger from Zeus put Milwaukee on the board in the first inning.

https://twitter.com/fswisconsin/status/1123013802528608258

His second homer was a solo shot in the third inning which extended the Brewers lead to 5-0.

Aguilar added to his hit total in the eighth inning with a single to right-field giving him three knocks on the night.

“I think this is going to be the first night where I’m going to sleep good,” Aguilar said. “There [have been] a lot of nights when I come back home and think about hitting, watch video and all that stuff. Tonight is going to be one of those nights when I can relax.”

Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come for Aguilar. He was such a huge part of the Brewers success last season having made his first All-Star team.

Davies deals

Zach Davies continues to be as solid as he’s been all season. He came close to getting through six innings but an error by Orlando Arcia caused manager Craig Counsell to go to his bullpen.

Davies gave up just one run, which was unearned, on three hits. It was the third time this season the 26-year old righty didn’t allow an earned run. He lowered his season ERA to 1.38. You can’t ask much more from your fifth starter.

“His outings have really looked very similar, all of them,” Counsell said. “He’s doing a really good job with his changeup. Hitters are really guarding against that changeup and that’s making his fastball really play, I think, but it’s because his changeup has been really effective. He’s doing a nice job with everything. He’s controlling his effort really well and that’s a big deal for him. It’s led to a lot of consistency, he’s been very consistent for us.”

Bullpen closes it out

It’s been an up-and-down year for the Milwaukee bullpen, but they were on point Monday. First Alex Claudio relieved Davies in the fifth with two-men on and one out. Claudio went on to pitch two innings of one-hit ball while striking out three.

Then, Jay Jackson came back to the big leagues for the first time since 2015 making his Brewers debut striking out Nolan Arenado in the eighth. Donnie Hart would finish it out.

Rockies don’t want none

Colorado hasn’t had an answer for the Brewers in a while. Milwaukee is now 11-2 over their last 13 games against the Rockies with a current 4-game winning streak. Over the last 28 innings, including the 2018 NLDS, the Crew has held Colorado to just one run (unearned).

Next up, the Brewers (16-14) will play the second of this four-game series with the Rockies (13-16) from Miller Park on Tuesday. Jhoulys Chacin (2|36.35 ERA25 SO) will get the start for Milwaukee. Colorado will counter with German Marquez (3|12.54 ERA, 37 SO). First pitch is scheduled for 6:40pm.

Brewers announce rotation order, Peralta gets game two

Milwaukee Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell already announced the starting rotation on Thursday. We knew they were giving the young arms a chance early on, but we didn’t know the order they would pitch. We do now.

The 22-year-old Peralta will get the ball in game two against St. Louis. He showed a lot of promise last season posting a 4.25 ERA and averaged 11 strikeouts per nine innings in 16 appearances (14 starts).

Game three will go to Woodruff, who may be the most consistent of the young arms. The 26-year old right-hander has posted a 4.22 ERA in 85.1 innings over 27 appearances (12 starts) since debuting in 2017.

Burnes has the highest ceiling of them all and will make his first career start in game four. He looked like a right-handed version of Josh Hader last season. Burnes tallied a 2.61 ERA across 30 appearances and 38.0 innings after getting called up for the first time in July.

It’s an exciting time to be a Brewers fan and the starting rotation has the potential to be really good in 2019. There are a few unknowns with the inexperience of the unit, but there is plenty of potential.

Counsell has named Brewers’ starting rotation

The time has come for the young arms of the Milwaukee Brewers to showcase their talents. It was already known that Jhoulys Chacin would get the start on opening day. But, the other four spots were a mystery.

On Thursday, manager Craig Counsell told reporters what the rotation would look like.

Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes will all make the rotation. Zach Davies will serve as the team’s fifth starter.

“It’s time for those young guys to start,” Counsell said. I think most people would agree with Counsell. I don’t believe the Brewers could start the season off with a better starting five at this point.

All three of the young pitchers have a high ceiling and could reach their potential as early as 2019.

Counsell said Chase Anderson will get starts during the season.

If last season taught us anything, we will see a plethora of different starters for Milwaukee this year. Jimmy Nelsons should be expected to return to the rotation when healed. However, it is encouraging to see Counsell have the confidence in his young guns.

Joe & Ebo Experience: Office pool

Bracket spending (0:00)

We attempt math (20:10)

No news good news? (27:00)

Brewers question marks (38:29)

Trout vs. Giannis (47:46)

Last strikes: Cubs 5, Brewers 2

MILWAUKEE – Seventeen last strikes for the 17 batters faced by Brewers’ relievers in Milwaukee’s 5-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday evening.

1. The Milwaukee Brewers entered the ninth inning of Saturday’s game with the Chicago Cubs holding a 2-1 lead thanks to Lorenzo Cain’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. Without closer Corey Knebel available, manager Craig Counsell turned to Jacob Barnes to record the final three outs of the game for the Brewers.

2. From that point on, things could not have gone much worse for Milwaukee.

3. While Barnes is handed the loss in relief, placing the blame solely on him would be foolish. Barnes didn’t pitch poorly, but rather the defense failed him.

4. The Brewers potentially had an opportunity to end the game when Cubs infielder Javy Baez stepped to the plate. There were runners on first and second with one out when Baez hit a two-hopper to third baseman Travis Shaw. Shaw was unable to field the ball – which possibly could have resulted in a game-ending double play – leaving the bases loaded with one out.

5. “It was a tough hop, there’s no question it was an in-between hop,” Counsell said of the ball Shaw mis-handled. “Doubtful that we would’ve turned two. I was just thinking [one] out when he hit it.”

6. Utility man Ben Zobrist then stepped to the dish and knocked a grounder in the vicinity of first baseman Eric Thames. Thames made a terrific diving stop to get the ball but was hesitant in his decision making on the play. He eventually flipped the ball to first base with Barnes covering, but Barnes was late getting to the bag and entirely missed it, resulting in a game-tying infield single for Zobrist.

7. “It’s part of the game, unfortunately,” Barnes said of the ninth inning collapse. “You execute pitches and unfortunately sometimes it kind of goes in the wrong spot. That’s all you can do. I look back on it and obviously it’s frustrating and no one wants to ever give up runs but I think I executed pretty well for the most part and unfortunately, they were able to find some holes and get some infield hits.”

8. Those back-to-back plays cost the Brewers an early season win. Chicago’s Ian Happ promptly stepped to the plate and laced a two-run single into left center and moved up to second base on Cain’s throw into third base. After an intentional walk to Kris Bryant, Chicago’s Jon Lester pinch hit for pitcher Pedro Strop and dropped down a squeeze bunt scoring Zobrist from third.

9. “[Barnes] pitched great. He broke probably three bats that inning,” Counsell said. “In the end we had a play to make on one of those and we just couldn’t make a play. I’m not sure on the first ball there’s an out to be had. Zobrist’s ball, I think there’s an out in there somewhere and certainly on Baez’s ball there’s an out.

10. “We’ve made too many infield mistakes, there’s no question,” Counsell said. “I think they are a good defensive infield, we’ve made defensive mistakes the past couple days.”

11. Whether or not the Brewers will be considered a good defensive infield – or team — at the end of the year is obviously yet to be known. What is factual is the fact that Milwaukee has committed 11 errors through six games on this home stand.

12. That doesn’t include plays like the one Thames and Barnes failed to execute at first base in the ninth and the ball Cain struggled to find in the sun on Bryant’s triple in the eighth. They can certainly be a good defensive team when it is all said and done, but they have not been one thus far.

13. All Milwaukee could muster in the bottom of the ninth was a single from Shaw before this one officially became a loss, and a wasted pitching performance from starter Zach Davies.

14. Davies was tremendous on the day, as was his counterpart, Yu Darvish of the Cubs. Davies struck out eight over six innings allowing one earned run on the day. Darvish went six innings as well, allowing two hits and one earned run while striking out nine.

15. The only damage done to the starting pitchers came by virtue of solo home runs. Thames launched a ball to the second deck in left field to open the scoring in the fourth for the Brewers. Bryant went deep off Davies in the sixth, a 407-foot blast into the seats in left field.

16. It’s far too early to panic, or even fret about this loss for Brewers fans. Teams lose games, it happens to all 30 franchises in baseball. But it’s the way the game was lost that makes this one a frustrating loss. It’s also a game that could potentially be looked back at near the end of the season as one that could have helped the Brewers in the playoff race.

17. The Brewers and Cubs finish off the four-game set on Sunday afternoon at 1:10PM CT at Miller Park. Chase Anderson will start for the Brewers and José Quintana will take the mound for the Cubs.

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.

Milwaukee falls to the Reds 9-3, loses ground in NL playoff chase

Cincinnati used a five-run seventh inning to break open a close game on its way to a 9-3 win over Milwaukee Tuesday night.

It was a night of missed opportunities for the Brewers. They loaded the bases in the fourth inning with no outs and managed to not score a single run thanks to three straight strikeouts. Then, while trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, Milwaukee got the tying run to third with one out but was unable to bring him in. For the night, the Brewers drew 10 walks but went just 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

The issues weren’t confined to the offense. After Zach Davies went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, the bullpen fell apart. The trio of Jacob Barnes, Wei Chung Wang and Carlos Torres proceeded to allow seven runs in two innings, including serving up a three-run homer to former Milwaukee second baseman Scooter Gennett.

For the Brewers, the loss was their third in the last four games and it dropped them 2 ½ games back of the Rockies for the second wild card spot in the National League. They missed an opportunity to gain ground on Chicago, which has lost its last two games as well.

Milwaukee will look to avoid the three-game sweep in Cincinnati Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is at 12:35 p.m.

Davies, Villar help the Brewers earn 6-3 win over Washington

Jonathan Villar continued to swing a hot bat as Milwaukee earned a 6-3 win in the opener of its 4-game set with the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

The second baseman collected three hits, including a 2-run homer in the fifth inning. It came a night after he had three RBIs and he concluded the month of August batting .364. It was a significant departure from the struggles he’s had much of the season.

“It’s huge,” pitcher Zach Davies said of Villar’s big night. “We know what role he had last year and how big of a part of the team he was. Just him having continued success and getting on a roll himself, it’s huge for the team.”

Davies had a pretty good night himself. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and picked up his 16th win on the year – tied for the most in the majors.

Closer Corey Knebel came on in the ninth to collect his 31st save of the season.

The win allowed Milwaukee to move within 2 ½ games of the Colorado Rockies in the race for the final wildcard spot, and kept them 3 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central.

It’ll be Milwaukee and Washington again Friday night at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.

Davies’ start goes to waste in 2-0 loss to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Starting pitcher Zach Davies allowed zero earned runs, but the Milwaukee Brewers offense stalled in a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants Monday night.

Davies struck out five Giants batters, while scattering six hits. He also went 1-for-2 at the plate, one of just four Brewers hits in the game. As Davies took his seventh loss of the season, opposing starter Chris Stratton took an unconventional approach to victory.

In what ended up being San Francisco’s first home shutout of the season, Stratton only fanned a single Milwaukee batter in the win (Keon Broxton). Only three times did Milwaukee get in scoring position against Stratton, while the Giants hurler extended his scoreless streak to 12.2 innings.

Due to the limited number of scoring opportunities Milwaukee found itself in, mistakes were amplified. Stephen Vogt stood on first base with two outs in the fourth inning, then attempted to head home after Orlando Arcia aggressively ran the basepaths after dumping a ball out to right field. Vogt was thrown out at home, killing a scoring chance for the Brewers and failing to provide offense to back Davies’ work on the mound.

“It was a tough battle tonight,” said Davies. “Those games are going to happen and it’s not always going to be perfect. That was my job to try and keep us as close as possible. Hopefully we could have strung a rally together. Unfortunately we didn’t.”

Milwaukee falls 2½ behind the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central lead while trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks by 3½ games for the final wild card spot.

Broxton backs Davies in win over Pirates

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers avoided dropping in the National League Central standings by taking down the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night 3-1 at Miller Park.

Zach Davies collected his 14th win of the year as he tossed 6.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits. Manny Piña backed him up with a pair of RBI, while Keon Broxton added a late-game insurance run with a pinch-hit solo blast in the seventh inning.

“Any run that we can scratch on at the end of the game really helps our team, helps the pitchers,” Broxton said. “It makes it tough on the other team, knowing they have to get an extra run. It’s not just one [run] to tie the game up, so yeah, that was a clutch home run.”

Newcomer Neil Walker continued to impress, making one of the more important defensive plays of the game. With the game tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning, Walker made a sliding stop of an infield grounder, tossing the ball over to first base in time to stop a run from scoring.

Closer Corey Knebel also notched his 23rd save of the year.