Brewers 2, Cubs 4: Offense continues to struggle

David Banks

The offense continued to struggle. They managed only three hits, though one was a home run from Rickie Weeks that accounted for their only offense of the game.

WP: Travis Wood (4-4)
LP: Marco Estrada (3-2)
SV: Hector Rondon (5)

HR: Wellington Castillo (5), Mike Olt (9), Rickie Weeks (2)

MVP: Rickie Weeks (+.041)
LVP: Marco Estrada (-.180)

Box Score

Win Expectancy Graph

I don't know how much I want to talk about this game. Let's start by going through some of the numbers from this series.  In total, the Brewers offense accumulated the following:

6 runs
16 hits
4 extra-base hits
8 walks
39 strikeouts

That's not a good showing for a three-game series by itself.  However, here are those same numbers removing the first two innings of Friday's game:

2 runs
11 hits
3 extra-base hits
6 walks
38 strikeouts

That's just terrible.  The Brewers offense is swinging away right now and not having much success.  To be fair here, all three of the starters that the Brewers faced do have good career strikeout numbers.  However, the Brewers just made them look even better in this series.

To push this point on the strikeouts a little more, here are some stats I looked up following the game:

- This is the second time this season that the Brewers have had 10+ strikeouts in 3+ games in a row. The last streak was April 27 to 29 against the Cubs & Cardinals (Note: Those two games against the Cardinals were extra-innings games).

- Going back to Thursday's game against the Pirates, the Brewers have struck out 49 times in the last 4 games. Pirates pitchers had 10 strikeouts in their game Thursday.

- In 2011, the Brewers had back-to-back games with 10+ strikeouts only once.  They never had a streak of 3+ games.

- The last time the Brewers had a streak of 4+ games with 10+ strikeouts was 2008.  It happened in a 4-game series at Wrigley Field (July 28-31).  They lost all four games.

- The record for 10+ strikeout games in a season for the Brewers is 56, set by the 2001 team.  This year's team has 16 games so far, and is on pace for 59.

We knew that the offense would strikeout quite a bit this year, and Ron Roenicke even warned us about this.  He has said that his team is a bunch of "free-swingers", and it's not going to change.  To an extent, we have to accept that.  However, it's getting to the point where it is becoming a big problem.  While it didn't help that Carlos Gomez was still out for the series and Ryan Braun only played two of the three games, it probably doesn't change much if both play all three games.

Let's talk about the game now. Marco Estrada had a rough start in his five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Most of the damage came on two home runs: a second inning two-run shot from Wellington Castillo, and a solo home run from Mike Olt in the fourth inning.  Meanwhile, Travis Wood locked down the Brewers offense, holding them to two hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.  One of the hits was a two-run home run from Rickie Weeks that accounted for all of the Brewers scoring for the game.

Both bullpens had scoreless appearances today.  Brandon Kintzler, Tyler Thornburg, and Rob Wooten pitched an inning each and allowed no runs with two strikeouts, a walk, and a hit.  Brian Schlitter and Hector Rondon pitched an inning each for the Cubs and totaled four strikeouts with just one hit allowed.

The Brewers offense only managed three hits today.  No Brewer was on base more than once.  I don't think I need to say more on the offense than that.

The Brewers will try to get back on track with a four-game series in Atlanta that starts tomorrow.  Wily Peralta will start for the Brewers, and Mike Minor will start for the Braves. First pitch is at 6:10 pm.

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