Brewers settle for split with Chicago

Milwaukee had to settle for a split of its quick two-game series with Chicago.

Like the Brewers did on Tuesday, the Cubs jumped out to an early lead and were barely challenged the rest of the way in an 8-4 victory at Wrigley Field.

Junior Guerra took the brunt of the punishment, giving up a season-high seven runs, six of them earned, in just 3 2/3 innings of work. He dropped to 6-8 on the year with the loss.

Milwaukee’s offense had its opportunities to get back in the game, most notably in the seventh inning. With two runs already across in the inning and the bases loaded, Travis Shaw and Jonathan Schoop hit back-to-back fly outs to end the rally.

The loss came at a cost as well. Outfielder Ryan Braun is considered day-to-day with a rib injury suffered when trying to make a sliding catch, while catcher Manny Pina is headed back to Milwaukee to have a shoulder injury checked out. Neither injury is considered serious, but they come with the Brewers in a fight for their first playoff appearance since 2011.

On that front, the split of the series left Milwaukee three games back of Chicago in the NL Central as the Brewers get ready to head to St. Louis to face the red-hot Cardinals for a three-game set starting Friday.

Jimmy Nelson unlikely to pitch for Brewers in 2018

It’s likely that the Brewers will be without starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson for the entirety of the 2018 season, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said on Wednesday.

Nelson’s 2017 season was cut short due to a shoulder injury that occurred when he dove into first base during a game against the Chicago Cubs last September. He was Milwaukee’s best pitcher to that point in 2017, compiling a 12-6 record with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts prior to his injury.

There was optimism earlier in 2018 that he would be available to pitch for the Brewers in 2018, as early as July. Obviously, that time has passed, and it’s unlikely Nelson will pitch at all for the Brewers this season as general manager David Stearns stated he is “running out of time.”

In July, Stearns told the media that it was unlikely that Nelson would pitch prior to the month of September. Nelson was cleared to throw breaking balls near the end of July as well.

At this point, the Brewers are expecting Nelson to be ready for the 2019 season.

Brewers beat the Cubs, back to within 2 games of NL Central lead

The Milwaukee Brewers got their biggest week of the season off to a great start Tuesday afternoon with a 7-0 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Manager Craig Counsell’s club jumped on Chicago starter Jose Quintana right away. They got a leadoff home run from Lorenzo Cain and then a two-run shot from Ryan Braun to take a 3-0 lead before the Cubs even got up to bat. Braun added another two-run homer in the third inning off Quintana. It was a significant change from Quintana’s previous seven appearances against Milwaukee, in which he allowed a total of five runs.

The Brewers offense didn’t need to be so prolific, though. Not with Jhoulys Chacin on the mound. He struck out a season-high 10 batters over seven innings of work and allowed just three hits on his way to picking up his 12th win of the season. In his two games against the Cubs this year Chacin hasn’t allowed a run over 13 innings and has fanned 17.

According to the club, it’s the first time Milwaukee has shutout Chicago in three straight games in franchise history.

With the win, Milwaukee moved to within two games of Chicago in the NL Central race. The two teams will play again on Wednesday, the end of a quick two-game series. Then, the Brewers head to St. Louis for three games against the red-hot Cardinals, who are just 2 1/2 games back of Milwaukee.

Brewers close out series with loss to Braves

An offensive explosion for the Milwaukee Brewers wasn’t enough to secure a series win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon.

The Crew totaled seven runs on 19 hits against Braves pitching but stranded 13 runners on base thanks to Milwaukee going 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Jesús Aguilar did have the best day of anyone offensively for the Brewers. He finished 3-for-4 with a walk and four runs batted in. He hit his 29th home run of the season in the fourth inning.

Chase Anderson was the starter for Milwaukee and failed to get past the fourth inning for the second start in a row. He allowed four runs on five hits over four innings pitched. He left the game with a lead but would not have qualified for the victory.

Dan Jennings came on in relief in the seventh inning and allowed the game-winning home run to Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies. Albies’ blast was his 21st of the year and led off the seventh inning.

The loss, paired with Sunday night’s victory by the Chicago Cubs, places the Brewers a full three games behind the Cubs for first place in the National League Central. After both teams have the day off on Monday they will meet for a quick two-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Tuesday afternoon.

Brewers drop series opener to Braves

The Milwaukee Brewers saw their road trip begin with a rocky start in Atlanta on Friday night.

Starting pitcher Freddy Peralta had the worst start of his young career with the Brewers. He allowed seven runs in just three innings while walking five batters and surrendering seven hits. The Braves struck Peralta early and often as he was tagged for three runs in the first, two more in the third, and another pair in the fourth before he was removed without recording an out.

On the other side of things, Kevin Gausman was fantastic on the hill for the Braves. He went eight innings, allowing just one run on six hits.

The loss drops Milwaukee a full three games behind the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central. Furthermore, the Brewers have also fallen out of the first wild card spot in the N.L. They’re tied with the Philadelphia Phillies, however they trail in winning percentage, dropping them into the No. 2 spot.

The Brewers and Braves resume this three-game series on Saturday in Atlanta. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. CT.

Last strikes: Padres 8, Brewers 4

MILWAUKEE – Sixteen last strikes for the 16 batters faced by the Brewers bullpen in Milwaukee’s 8-4 loss to the San Diego Padres on Thursday afternoon.

1. Junior Guerra didn’t have his best day on the mound as he allowed eight hits on the afternoon but he did enough to limit the damage, holding the Padres to just two runs in six innings.

2. Overall, it seemed as if the Padres played a rather sloppy game, committing two errors and a couple other plays that easily could have been scored as such. Things looked great for the Brewers to win their second straight game over San Diego, and their fourth series in five tries.

3. That was, until the ninth inning when the Brewers fell apart on the mound.

4. Corey Knebel entered with Milwaukee leading 4-2 to start the frame. He struggled to throw strikes as 14 of his 26 pitches missed the zone. Knebel allowed the first three batters to reach via walks and the fourth on an RBI-infield single.

5. The infield single was a dribbler hit between the third base line and the mound. Knebel was the one to field it, however it looked as if he never had a good grip on the ball, causing his throw to the plate to be errant. The Brewers actually got lucky here for a moment as the throw hit San Diego’s Freddy Galvis as he scored and ricocheted off of home plate umpire Todd Tichenor.

6. After that debacle, manager Craig Counsell made the call to the bullpen to bring in Joakim Soria with the bases loaded, one run in, and zero outs. Soria retired the first batter he faced on a fly out to right field and a strong throw from Christian Yelich kept the game from being tied. The Padres still had the bases loaded, but the Brewers had an out and things looked much more manageable.

7. Hunter Renfroe then stepped to the plate following Eric Hosmer’s fly out. Renfroe proceed to deposit a 1-2 fastball into the left field seats for a grand slam. Just like that, Milwaukee’s 4-2 lead had turned into a 7-4 deficit.

8. To make bad news worse for the Brewers, Soria immediately left due a strained groin. Things kept piling on in the ninth, and they didn’t stop there.

9. Jacob Barnes then came on in relief of Soria due to his injury. The first batter Barnes faced was Franmil Reyes, and he was able to jump out in front 1-2 in the count. Then, on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Reyes went deep to add on an extra run. The sixth run of the inning for the Padres made the game 8-4, where it would finish.

10. The Brewers bullpen has been outstanding for the majority of the season, but that hasn’t been the case as of late. Milwaukee has blown multi-run leads in two of the last three games. In the series opener on Tuesday night All-Star Josh Hader took the loss before Knebel’s struggles on Thursday. Pair that in with Soria’s injury and this unit may be in some trouble.

11. Blown saves happen. They’ve happened to the greatest closers of all-time and they’re absolutely going to happen to Knebel from time to time. His fastball velocity is still topping out above 98 miles-per-hour (three times on Thursday), but if he cannot throw it for a strike, it becomes useless. Not being able to find the strike zone as the case was Thursday is a definite reason for concern.

12. As for the rest of the bullpen, Hader has faded a bit since his early season dominance. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. If he would have kept up the pace from his early season run, this year possibly could have gone down as the greatest ever by a reliever. He’s still been very good, just not the strikeout machine he was in May.

13. Soria’s injury could potentially be a big blow to the depth in the bullpen for the Brewers. He’s going to miss at least the next few days as he heals, and a stint on the disabled list certainly isn’t out of the question for him. His acquisition seemed like a move where the Brewers were just the rich getting richer, but right now it looks like it’s needed. Sure, Burnes has been very good at times for the Brewers, but it’s still very early for him and it will be interesting to watch how he responds to the pressure ramping up as the postseason race tightens up late this month and into September.

14. On the bright side for the Brewers, Jonathan Schoop collected his first extra-base hit for the team as well as his first run batted in. He had a two-run double in the fourth inning that pushed the Brewers’ lead to 3-1. He later scored on a terrific base running play, capitalizing on an error by San Diego’s Galvis at shortstop.

15. If Schoop can get going that will mean great things for the Milwaukee offense. The rich will certainly get richer in that sense.

16. The Brewers get back in action on Friday night in Atlanta as they take on the Braves. Freddy Peralta will get the start for the Brewers while Kevin Gausman will be on the hill for Atlanta. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. CT.

Brewers drop series opener to Padres

After the first day off following the All-Star break the Brewers dropped the series opener to the San Diego Padres.

Josh Hader took the loss for the Brewers after pitching 1 1/3 innings allowing two runs on three hits and one walk. The bullpen as a whole allowed seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings on the night. This came after Chase Anderson started for Milwaukee allowing four runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He also walked four and struck out four in taking home a no decision.

The Brewers jumped out to an early lead, scoring four in the first inning, partly thanks to a two-run home run by Jesús Aguilar. Mike Moustakas also went deep in the first inning with a two-run bomb.

Clayton Richard started for the Padres pitching five innings allowing five runs on seven hits. San Diego’s bullpen locked the Brewers down, pitching four scoreless inning allowing a single hit. Matt Strahm picked up the victory after pitching the final out of the sixth inning.

The Brewers and Padres resume their series on Wednesday night at Miller Park. Jhoulys Chacin will start for the Brewers while Brett Kennedy will toe the rubber for the Padres. First pitch is set for 7:10.

Brewers fall in series finale against Rockies

Despite a three-run comeback in the ninth inning the Brewers lost to the Colorado Rockies 5-4 on Sunday afternoon.

The bottom of the ninth was a wild one for the Brewers, as they entered the frame trailing 4-1. Mike Moustakas led off the inning with a home run to cut the deficit to 4-2. Following that Travis Shaw grounded out to the pitcher before Ryan Braun reached first via a catcher’s interference. Braun stole second was Jonathan Schoop was at the plate before he struck out.

Erik Kratz then stepped up with Braun on second and two outs. He would strikeout swinging, but was able to reach first base on the play as strike three was a wild pitch. Orlando Arcia then doubled scoring Braun in the next at-bat. Hernán Pérez was the final batter of the frame for the Brewers. He, like Kratz and Schoop, struck out, however there was a wild pitch during his plate appearance that allowed Kratz to score from third, tying the game.

The 10th inning was quiet but in the 11th Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado blasted a home run to left off of Milwaukee closer Corey Knebel to put the Rockies in front. Knebel pitched two innings allowing only the home run to Arenado and striking out four. He was handed the loss as the Brewers were unable to get anything going in the bottom of the 11th.

The Brewers have their first off day since mid-July on Monday before resuming action on Tuesday night at home against the Padres.

Travis Shaw helps the Brewers to 8-4 win over Colorado

The Milwaukee Brewers jumped out to an early lead on their way to an 8-4 win Saturday afternoon against the Colorado Rockies.

Manager Craig Counsell’s group did most of its damage in the first inning, with outfielder Ryan Braun driving in the opening run before third baseman Travis Shaw drilled a grand slam off of Tyler Anderson. It was his first home run against a left-handed pitcher this year and his 21st on the season overall. Infielder Hernan Perez followed with a solo shot of his own to give Milwaukee a 6-0 lead through one.

Those would end up being all the runs the Brewers would need thanks in part to another solid outing for Freddy Peralta. It took him 107 pitches, but he made it 6 innings, allowing a pair of runs and striking out eight as he earned his fifth win of the season.

Things got a little dicey in the ninth when Matt Albers came on and allowed two runs before being pulled. The Rockies had the bases loaded before Josh Hader got Charlie Blackmon to pop out for the final out. Hader got the save, his eighth on the year.

The win allowed Milwaukee to stay within one game of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central and also boost its lead for the top wild card spot to three games.

The Brewers will go for the series sweep of the Rockies on Sunday.

Last strikes: Brewers 5, Rockies 3

MILWAUKEE – Fifteen last strikes for Eric Thames’ 15th home run of the season – a walk off blast – in Milwaukee’s 5-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night at Miller Park.

1. Let’s have a moment of honesty. On Friday night the cards were certainly stacked against the Brewers before first pitch was thrown at Miller Park.

2. Milwaukee was playing for the fifteenth consecutive day and returned from the west coast earlier on Friday morning following a rare get-away-day night game in Los Angeles. The team touched down in Milwaukee around 5:30 a.m. CT before having to be at the field less than 12 hours later for a game.

3. These things are obviously out of the control of the Brewers, but they didn’t help Milwaukee’s quest to victory.

4. It didn’t matter.

5. The Brewers were 5-3 walk-off winners thanks to a three-run home run off the bat of Thames in the bottom of the ninth inning.

6. “That was awesome, that was an awesome feeling,” Thames said after the win. “Hitting that sweet spot off the bat, and then seeing the team’s reaction and everything, and the crowd. It was an awesome moment.”

7. Thames’ home run came off of Colorado closer Wade Davis, who has struggled against the Brewers the last few chances that he’s had. Last season, as a member of the Cubs, Davis gave up a walk-off home run to Travis Shaw and the Brewers didn’t forget about that.

8. “One of our guys was talking about when Shaw hit the walk off against Chicago off of Davis. It was like ‘yeah you remember that? Let’s go, let’s get him again!’” Thames said. “We did. He has great stuff but we got the W tonight.”

9. Outside of the ninth inning there wasn’t much for the Brewers to brag about offensively. Christian Yelich and Mike Moustakas had the only hits for the Crew before the final frame. Yelich smoked a 420-foot home run in the sixth inning to centerfield and Moustakas had a pair of singles, including one that drove in Milwaukee’s first run.

10. Starting pitcher Junior Guerra was the lone member of the Brewers that wasn’t in attendance for Thursday night’s 21-5 defeat in Los Angeles, as the team sent him home early in order to ensure he was well rested for his start.

11. He looked to be one of the few members of the team that was energized for the game.

12. “I got home like 10 p.m. and got into bed about 12:30. I got a good sleep,” Guerra said after the game. “It felt weird, but it is what it is. I had to take a rest because the team got here in Milwaukee at like five in the morning.”

13. Guerra pitched a season-high eight innings allowing three runs on five hits and striking out six. He did allow a pair of home runs that did all of the damage for Colorado. It certainly looked as if the decision to send him home a day early from the west coast was vindicated.

14. This was the eighth walk-off win of the year for the Brewers, it’s also the most walk-off wins the franchise has had since 2013 when they also totaled eight.

15. The Brewers are back in action on Saturday as they continue this three-game series with the Rockies. Freddy Peralta (4-2, 3.61) is slated to start for the Brewers while Tyler Anderson (6-3, 3.69) will be on the mound for the Rockies. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. CT.