Matt Garza did not have his best stuff Saturday night against the Nationals. In fact, it may be his worst start as a Brewer as he gave up five earned runs on five hits and two walks. If he had done all that over, say, seven innings it wouldn't look so bad. But Garza managed to record just one out on the day before getting the hook from Ron Roenicke.
With Garza's dud, the Brewers have now had 41 games in franchise history where the starting pitcher failed to record at least two outs. Other than Garza, only nine of those have come in the last 25 years. Here is a snapshot of each of those nine.
Zack Greinke - 7/7/2012
Greinke is one of the best pitchers to ever play for the Brewers. He also wasn't pulled from this start due to ineffectiveness -- he was ejected. For uhh...for this:
Ron Roenicke also was ejected after coming to Greinke's defense. Greinke only threw 4 pitches, but gave up a run on two hits. As luck would have it, this was also one of Greinke's last starts for the Brewers. He made three more outings in a Milwaukee uniform (his start proceeding this lasted just three innings) before being traded to the Angels for Jean Segura, Johnny Hellweg and Ariel Pena.
Dave Bush - May 21, 2010
Bush's start against the Minnesota Twins isn't even close to the worst game score a Brewers' pitcher has ever had, but his game score of 9 is the worst of any pitcher that failed to record a second out. Bush loaded the bases before earning a flyout. Three singles, a walk, a balk, a double and a fielders choice that failed to notch an out later and Bush was out of the game having given up seven earned runs on 36 pitches. His replacement, Jeff Suppan, didn't do much better, giving up five runs of his own.
A couple other interesting notes from this game:
- Bush was also almost ejected after walking in the first run of the game. Considering how early that would have come, in retrospect it may have been better for the team if he had been tossed. Then again, if Suppan was his replacement maybe not.
- Denard Span scored the first run of the game after leading off with a single -- just as he did again against Matt Garza on Saturday.
- Jonathan Lucroy made his major league debut during this game. He pinch-hit for George Kottaras and singled into left field for his first hit in his first plate appearance. He would stay in the game at catcher, grounding out to end the game in his second at-bat.
Ben Hendrickson - May 20, 2006
Remember Ben Hendrickson? He was touted as being perhaps the Brewers' best pitching prospect since Ben Sheets, with a curveball that could make the toughest hitters miss. Ranked the 90th best prospect in baseball by Baseball-America prior to 2003, the 1999 10th round pick made his major league debut in 2004. He would make 10 appearances for the Brewers -- nine of which were starts -- with a 6.22 ERA and 1.68 WHIP.
After a poor 2005 season in Triple-A, he received one more shot at the Majors by the Brewers in May of 2006. His May 20th start would be the final time he pitched in the big leagues. Against the Twins (dammit Twins!), he gave up six earned runs on five hits and a walk. He could not secure even one out before giving way to Jorge De La Rosa.
Hendrickson spent the rest of the year in Triple-A before leaving the franchise in the offseason. He spent time in the Rays, Royals, and Twins organizations before calling it quits as a ballplayer. Hendrickson is still just 33 years old, by the way. I'm smelling a comeback!
Jamie McAndrew - August 28, 1995
Jamie McAndrew was Ben Hendrickson when Ben Hendrickson was still in grade school. McAndrew was also a former top-100 prospect (#40 prior to 1991!). However, after rough '91 and '92 seasons in the minors, McAndrew was chosen in the expansion draft by the nascent Florida Marlins. Before even entering a game in Florida's organization, he was traded to the Brewers. McAndrew actually ended up being a replacement player when the MLB Players Union went on strike prior to the 1995 season.
McAndrew ended up making 10 appearances (four starts) for the Brewers that season, then saw action in another five games in 1997. His last major league appearance in 1995, however, ended up being just as forgettable as much of his career. He entered his August 28 start against the White Sox, gave up a double to Lance Johnson, then exited in favor of Angel Miranda. He wasn't ejected, so I'm going to assume that McAndrew ended up getting injured during the first at-bat. I tried searching, but can't find much about the game at all other than B-Ref's boxscore. I was four at the time, so I don't have a great recollection of the day.
Regardless, McAndrew -- one of the first 'scabs' to make it to the Major Leagues -- ended up having one of the shortest starts in Brewers history. Though the rest of his career was nondescript, he'll at least always have that.
Bill Wegman - May 11, 1995
Single. Home Run. Single. Single. Error. Single. That was Bill Wegman's day against the Tigers on May 11, 1995. Five hits, four runs, three earned runs, then he was replaced by Steve Sparks. Wegman threw just 12 pitches before being pulled by manager Phil Garner.
Wegman had spent his entire 11-year career with the Brewers, and had a couple of nice seasons. In 1991, Wegman made 28 starts with a 2.84 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. That year, he won the Hutch Award, "given annually to an active Major League Baseball player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of Fred Hutchinson". Wegman also had the best range factor of any pitcher in both 1991 and 1992.
His 1995 campaign would be his last, however. And his career went out with a whimper. He transitioned to a bullpen role for most of the season, making just four starts out of 37 appearances. That didn't go so hot as he posted a 5.35 ERA. His May 11 outing did not help those numbers any.
Bruce Ruffin - July 12, 1992
Bruce Ruffin - August 18, 1992
Bruce didn't exactly have the best month there, did he? Ruffin spent one year with the Brewers, sandwiched between stints with the Phillies and Rockies. He was used mostly out of the bullpen, but did manage to make six starts. Of those six, two were among the shortest in Brewers' history.
On July 12, against the Royals, Ruffin gave up four runs on three hits and two walks while failing to record an out. He wasn't hit particularly hard -- no extra base hits, anyway -- but gave way to Jim Austin early. Interestingly (and this has nothing to do with Ruffin as he was already out of the game), the Royals decided to pinch-hit for a position player in the first inning, bringing in Jim Eisenreich for Gary Thurman. Beats me what was up with that.
On August 18 against the Blue Jays, Ruffin did manage to notch one out, a strikeout of Candy Maldonado. The problem was that out came after already giving up four runs on four hits and a walk. After another single, Ricky Bones replaced him and allowed a sacrifice fly that John Olerud scored on, bringing Ruffin's earned runs up to five.
All in all over these two starts, Ruffin pitched 0.1 innings, allowed eight hits and three walks, and saw nine earned runs against him. With both starts coming in a span of 37 days. Rough.
Teddy Higuera - June 13, 1990
Teddy Higuera needs no introduction. He's one of the best Brewers' pitchers of all time, was an All Star, and came in second in 1986 AL Cy Young Award voting and sixth in voting for the 1987 award. His career was short-lived due in large part to injury, but it was great while it lasted.
Unfortunately, like his career his start on June 13, 1990 against the Orioles was also cut short by injury. He pitched to two batters, giving up a single and recording an out on a popup, but re-aggravated a groin injury and was forced to exit the game early. He would end up missing a couple of weeks.
The Brewers had scored a run in the top of the first, so Higuera exited with the lead. Greg Brock and Dave Parker also supported with home runs while Mark Knudson and Randy Veres pitched 8.2 solid innings in relief. The combined efforts gave the Brewers a 7-2 win, one of just two victories on this list.
Bill Wegman - June 2, 1990
The other victory on this list? Well, it came just 11 days before Higuera's short start and involved old friend Bill Wegman.
This time around, Wegman was pitching against the Blue Jays and was actually able to get one out. In fact, the very first batter Wegman faced lined out! What a good start! Unfortunately, George Bell, Fred McGriff, Tony Fernandez, John Olerud and the rest of the Toronto offense wouldn't go down so easily. Wegman would give up five straight hits, including two two-run homers before giving way to Bill Krueger.
The Brewers scored a couple of their own in the top of the second before brought the lead to 5-2 in the third. A Dave Parker homer cut the lead to two before Tony Fernandez drove in a run to turn it back into a three-run game. In the seventh inning, Paul Molitor led off with a home run and Rob Deer and Mike Felder drove in three runs combined to put the Brewers on top.
Strong relief from Tony Fossas, Chuck Crim, and Dan Plesac helped the Brewers keep a hard-fought lead, giving Milwaukee a win.