Brewers end Phillies series with 6-3 loss

PHILADELPHIA — The Milwaukee Brewers were unable to keep momentum from a win the night before, falling 6-3 in the series finale to the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday afternoon.

The Brewers had just ended a season-long six-game losing streak, but came out flat in Sunday’s loss. Junior Guerra tossed four innings, allowing five earned runs on five hits while walking three batters.

“The most important thing is keeping a strong mindset,” said Guerra through his translator. “When things are going down, you don’t get down on yourself. Keep thinking positive, keep working hard and hope that things turn around.”

The Phillies scored four runs in the fifth inning thanks to a two-run homer from Nick Williams and Howie Kendrick’s go-ahead single. Their starting pitching was much more successful than Milwaukee’s as well, with Jerad Eickhoff allowing just two earned runs over six innings, while fanning six.

The Brewers have now lost 7 of their last 8 games, but the road trip continues after a day off on Monday. They’ll head to Washington trying to rebuild their lead in the National League Central, which shrunk to just a half game with the loss. A win by the Cubs Sunday night would bring them even with Milwaukee for the division lead.

Brewers moves: Sogard in, Broxton out

Second baseman Eric Sogard is back and centerfielder Keon Broxton is out.

Those were the transactions announced Saturday by Milwaukee, which is in the midst of a season-worst six-game losing streak.

Sogard had been on the disabled list with an ankle injury since early July. Before that, the 31-year-old had been one of the pleasant surprises for Milwaukee. He spent all last year in the minor leagues, but when he got called up in April, he was great, batting .331 in 43 games, with three home runs and 14 RBIs.

Broxton, meanwhile, has been in a major funk at the plate, and that’s the reason he was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. In the month of July, the 27-year-old went 3-for-45 with one home run. For the season, his average had dipped to .218.

Brett Phillips is likely to take over on a regular basis in centerfield.

Milwaukee will take on Philadelphia on Saturday night.

Report: Brewers interested in Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler

Milwaukee may be in a bit of a free fall, but the team is apparently still looking to make moves to help its chances to win the NL Central and get back to the playoffs for the first time in six years.

The latest evidence comes from ESPN’s Buster Olney, who tweeted Saturday morning that the club was digging into the possibility of acquiring Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler. The 35-year-old is batting just .244 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs. A four-time all-star, Kinsler won a Gold Glove a year ago for the Tigers.

Milwaukee’s interest in the second baseman comes as regular starter Jonathan Villar continues to struggle at the plate, hitting just .223 with eight homers and 30 RBIs. Backup Eric Sogard, who was playing well before an injury on the 4th of July put him on the disabled list, is expected to return for the club on Saturday night in Philadelphia.

Kinsler is the third Tigers player the Brewers have reportedly been interested in acquiring, joining starter Justin Verlander and reliever Justin Wilson.

The Brewers have lost six straight games and have seen their 5.5 game lead in the NL Central shrink to just one game on the Chicago Cubs since the all-star break.

Brewers losing streak reaches six games

Make it six straight losses for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Manager Craig Counsell’s team couldn’t figure out Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola in a 6-1 loss on Friday night. The righty went seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out nine to earn his seventh win of the year. It continued a trend for the Brewers (52-47), who haven’t scored more than three runs in any of their last seven games.

“He was good tonight. I know that,” Counsell said afterward. “But we’re going to have tough match-ups, and you’ve got to produce runs against those tough match-ups. You’re not going to win games scoring one run [very often].”

Milwaukee was in the game through the first five innings, as Matt Garza allowed just two runs on three hits to the Phillies (33-61). But when he was taken out, things fell apart for reliever Carlos Torres. He recorded just one out and gave up four runs before Counsell pulled him.

Philadelphia shortstop Freddy Galvis was the star offensively, driving in three runs, including a two-run homer in the first inning.

The losing streak, which included being swept by Pittsburgh, has tightened things up in the NL Central. Milwaukee held a 5.5 game lead coming out of the all-star break last Friday, but it now stands at one on the Chicago Cubs, two on the Pirates and 3.5 on the St. Louis Cardinals.

“We got beat good tonight,” Counsell said. “We’ve played well. To me, in Pittsburgh we played well, things just didn’t go our way. And we’ve just got to keep at it, man. We’ve got to keep at it. There’s another test tomorrow, there’s a test the following day. [There’s] plenty more tests to come and to pass. We’ve just got to keep at it.”

It’ll be Milwaukee and Philadelphia again on Saturday night. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.

Report: Brewers linked to another bullpen arm

The Brewers once again are reported to have interest in another relief pitcher. This time it’s Mets closer Addison Reed according to Marc Carig, a Mets writer for Newsday. The Brewers have now been linked to half a dozen different pitchers, most being relief pitchers. Many of the reports are continuing to say that the Brewers are showing interest, but not aggressively pursuing. David Stearns and his team are keeping their options open and looking at every possible move.

Unlike many of the pitchers the Brewers have been linked to, Reed has an expiring contract at the end of the season. David Stearns has been adamant that the team is looking for players whose contracts that they can control in the future. Reed, 28, doesn’t fit this mold, but he could be a cheaper option when it comes to giving up prospects. The Brewers could potentially re-sign Reed, since they do have the lowest salary cap in baseball.

Reed is 1-2 this season with an ERA of 2.35 and a WHIP of 1.02 with 47 strikeouts in 46 innings. He has converted 16 of his 18 save opportunities.

Brewers lose again, lead in NL Central down to one game

PITTSBURGH | In a span of a week, the Brewers have seen their lead in the NL Central go from 5 1/2 games to just one over the Cubs. Chicago has won six straight. Milwaukee has lost 5 in a row after a 4-2 loss in Pittsburgh Thursday afternoon.

Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson didn’t have his best stuff giving up four runs on six hits, with a walk and five strikeouts in five innings.  Gregory Polanco homered and Chris Stewart added three hits as the surging Pirates completed the four game sweep. The Pirates have won 11 of 13 and moved within three games of Milwaukee.

The Brewers once again failed several times to get timely hits. Milwaukee left nine men on base.

OF Ryan Braun was held out of the lineup for a second consecutive day as the team tries to monitor his workload while he played through a strained left calf that’s bothered him all season. Braun entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth and flew out with two on and two outs.  2B Eric Sogard (sprained left ankle) could rejoin the team during its weekend series in Philadelphia.

Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (4-4) starts for Milwaukee as it begins the next leg of a 10-game road trip on Friday against the last-place Phillies.

 

Report: Brewers showing interest in former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander

According to Bleacher Report, the Brewers are now showing interest in another Detroit Tigers pitcher, Justin Verlander. Earlier this July, the Brewers were reported to have interest in Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray. This may have changed since the Houston Astros are now being named as the team aggressively trying to acquire Gray. Verlander is the second Tigers pitcher the Brewers have been reported to have an interest in. Tigers closer Justin Wilson was the other pitcher the Brewers were rumored to be interested in earlier today.

Verlander would be under contract until after the 2019 season, one thing the Brewers organization is looking for. He is due a substantial amount of money over the rest of his career, 67 million over the next two plus seasons. Verlander, 34, is struggling this season after posting a great season last year, where he arguably should have won the Cy Young Award. He is 5-7 with an ERA of 4.54 and a WHIP of 1.47. In 117 innings this season, he has struck out 111 and walked 55 batters.

The Detroit Tigers will be looking to acquire a haul of prospects for the  six -time All-Star. The Brewers may have to give up more than the want to to acquire an aging pitcher, who hasn’t had consistent success since 2013. Brewers fans will have to wait and see what moves David Stearns and the Brewers organization make by the non-waiver trade deadline.

Report: Brewers interested in Tigers closer

The Brewers are one of three teams that have been showing interest in Detroit Tigers closer Justin Wilson, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. The Tigers are starting to move into a “rebuilding mode” after trading veteran J.D. Martinez earlier this week. Justin Verlander as well as Wilson are other veterans the team may be parting ways with before the non-waiver trade deadline.

Wilson, 29, is in his sixth season at the major league level. He has been a reliable reliever in his career, and has recently been named a closer for the first time this season. Wilson owns a 3-4 record with a 2.75 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. In the his 36 innings of work, he has struck out 50 batters and converted 10 of 12 save opportunities.

David Stearns and the Brewers are looking to trade for valuable pitchers who would be under club control over the next few seasons. Wilson’s contract would seem to fit with what the Brewers are looking for. He would be under contract through next season if the Brewers decided to pull the trigger on a trade. Wilson is now one of three solid relief pitchers whose names have been linked to the Brewers in the last few days.

Knebel blows the save, Brewers lose their fourth straight

A disappointing start to the second half of the season continued Wednesday night for the Milwaukee Brewers in a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 10 innings.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club was in position to snap a three-game losing streak when he handed the ball to closer Corey Knebel in the ninth inning and holding a 2-1 lead. But after retiring the first batter, the lone Milwaukee all-star allowed three straight hitters to reach base, and the Pirates tied things up. Then, in the 10th inning, reliever Jared Hughes gave up a walk-off single to rookie Max Maroff to end the game.

The loss wasted good nights from starter Zach Davies and right fielder Domingo Santana.

Davies made it seven innings, giving up just one unearned run on eight hits, a performance Counsell called one of his best of the season. Santana, hitting at the top of the lineup, was 3-of-5 on the night and scored both of Milwaukee’s runs, including a solo home run in the eighth inning to give them the lead.

The Brewers dropped to 3-8 in extra innings this year, while also sitting at just 11-13 in 1-run games.

Milwaukee’s lead in the NL Central is now just 1.5 games on the Chicago Cubs, who have won six straight.

The Crew will try to salvage one game of their four-game set with the Pirates this afternoon in Pittsburgh.

Pirates close gap in NL Central in Starling Marte’s return from suspension

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte returned from an 80-game PED suspension Tuesday night to help his team take down the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 at PNC Park.

Marte went 1-for-3 with a walk and a single, while Josh Harrison and Francisco Cervelli broke down Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra with home runs in the sixth inning. Pittsburgh has now won nine of its last 11 games, to come within five games of the National-League-Central-leading Brewers.

For Milwaukee, it marks the squad’s third straight loss, as the Chicago Cubs climb to within 2 ½ games of the division lead. Some timely hitting could have helped the Brewers maintain their distance, only able to scratch across three runs on 13 hits against the Pirates. During their three-game losing streak, the Brewers are 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position.

‘You’ve got to get hits with runners in scoring position,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Some nights you’re not going to get them. The last couple nights, we’ve gotten guys on — just unable to get that next hit.”

While he sounded composed in the post-game press conference, Counsell lost his composure in the eighth inning over a called strike against third baseman Travis Shaw. Counsell’s disagreement with home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski resulted in an ejection.

Milwaukee can split the four-game series with Pittsburgh by winning the final two games. Zach Davies starts opposite Gerrit Cole during Wednesday’s game at 6:05 p.m. CT.