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Scooter Gennett and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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The Brewers are letting Scooter Gennett play against left-handed starters in 2015. The early returns on that are not good.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

In 2014 the Brewers had a good platoon going at second base with Rickie Weeks starting against left-handed pitchers and Scooter Gennett getting his time against right-handers. Those two helped combine to give the Brewers the fourth-highest wOBA for a teams second basemen in the majors last year.

However, Weeks signed with the Mariners this past off-season, leaving Gennett all by his lonesome. Gennett has not been great against left-handers in his career, especially in the upper levels of the game:

2010 (A) 2011 (High-A) 2012 (AA) 2013 (AAA/MLB) 2014 (MLB)
vs Righties

401 PA

.303/.342/.465

437 PA

.307/.337/.430

406 PA

.315/.354/.405

390 PA

.330/.375/.456

432 PA

.307/.338/.464

vs Lefties

125 PA

.330/.395/.455

164 PA

.282/.325/.342

167 PA

.241/.271/.335

190 PA

.235/.262/.330

42 PA

.102/.125/.128

Rather than find a new platoon partner for him, the Brewers seem set to let him sink or swim against left-handers this year. Friday night was the first big test of that as Milwaukee faced the first southpaw opponent starter of the  year: Jeff Locke of the Pirates.

It didn't go so hot for Gennett. Not at all.

Gennett got his first at-bat in the bottom of the third inning, leading off. The first pitch, a fastball, was way inside and brushed him back. The second (another fastball) resulted in a weak grounder:

The next inning, the Brewers scored a pair of runs with two outs, bringing up Gennett with runners on the corners down two. Here's the shift the Pirates were playing against Gennett:

Not a hugely dramatic shift, mind you, but there's still plenty of room on the left side to eke a ball through.

The first pitch in this at-bat was a high knuckle-curve for strike one. The next two were a fastball inside (fouled off) and a fastball inside (fouled off). Locke stuck with that on pitch number four, going inside again. Gennett was completely unable to handle that, especially with the shift playing him to pull the ball, and Locke induced another soft grounder to the right side. Gennett was...not happy.

His third at-bat saw Gennett get hit with the pitch. You might have guessed it: Fastball inside. But, he got on base! For a hot minute!

Finally, in the bottom of the eighth, Gennett had a chance against a right-hander: Arquimendes Caminero. Once again, runners were on the corners with two outs, this time with Milwaukee down 6-2. Caminero went against the grain a bit with pitch number one -- it was still a fastball, but low and outside. Pitch two was almost the exact same, but called a strike. Caminero then threw the first non-fastball Gennett had seen in seven pitches, a slider inside that Gennett couldn't check his swing on. The pitch also hit Gennett, but he was not awarded first base, causing a bit of controversy.

That boiled over when Gennett was called out on strike three, a fastball that just painted the corner:

That ended Gennett's night as he got an immediate ejection. The Brewers already used both their backup infielders, which meant we finally got to see Carlos Gomez get some action in the infield though, unfortunately, no balls came his way in one inning of work.

So, in Gennett's first start against a left-handed pitcher in 2015, things really could probably have not gone much worse. He went 0-3 with two weak grounders into the shift, a strikeout, a caught stealing, was hit by two baseballs and was only awarded first once, and got ejected. Not a good day for him.