Win: Shelby Miller (3-2)
Loss: Matt Garza (1-3)
HR: Mark Reynolds (6), Carlos Gomez (7), Matt Adams (2), Allen Craig (3)
In the first two games of this Brewers' series against the Cardinals, Milwaukee fell behind early only to rally later in the game and win. Today, it was the Brewers who jumped out to a lead in the early innings. Unfortunately, that meant it was the Cardinals' turn to come back and win.
A two-run Mark Reynolds home run in the second inning couple with a Carlos Gomez solo shot in the third gave the Brewers a 3-1 lead after three-and-a-half innings. Then things fell apart.
Matt Garza had been going along smoothly, but allowed a three-run homer to Matt Adams in the bottom half of the third inning. He then walked Matt Carpenter to start the fourth inning before being pulled due to a bruise on his thumb. Which is just what the Brewers need, really: They are already running out of position players, why not throw in a few pitcher injuries as well? Officially, Garza is listed day-to-day. One would think a bruise shouldn't prevent him from making a start, but even small injuries to a pitchers' hand can cause missed time.
With Garza out, something weird happened: For just the third time this season, the Brewers sent out Wei-Chung Wang to pitch in a long-relief situation. And it...well, it didn't go well. More like his second appearance than his first.
Wang allowed a single to Jon Jay before recording two outs, but an Allen Craig double brought in two runs in the fourth inning to extend the Cardinals lead to 6-3. Wang is lucky there wasn't another run put on him that inning: Craig's hit went off the wall. A few feet higher and it was the Cards' second three-run home run of the game.
In the fifth inning, the Brewers stuck with Wang. He allowed three doubles (including one to Shelby Miller) and an intentional walk en route to two more St. Louis runs. Inning number six, Allen Craig led off with a home run. All in all, Wang pitched three innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks.
It's only been three outings, I guess, but Wang just has not looked particularly good this year. And it's only been three innings because he can't be trusted to pitch in close games, as evidenced today. At this point, the Brewers have to seriously be reconsidering whether they can afford to keep Wang on the roster.
Because Wang can't be trusted, extra workload is being placed on Francisco Rodriguez, Tyler Thornburg, Will Smith, Zach Duke and Jim Henderson. No team has a bullpen completely filled with stars, but keeping Wang on the roster is starting to prove a hindrance. When Tom Gorzelanny returns, there is no other obvious candidate to be sent down. If Wang doesn't show anything by then, I'd have to think he's the first head on the block.
Anyway, the next few innings didn't go so well either. That's OK. The Brewers took two out of three against the Cardinals in St. Louis. They extended their division lead a game further than it had been prior to the series. It doesn't matter how Wednesday went, the Brewers already won this series.
20-8 is pretty great.