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Brewers 2, Tigers 5: Strong Lohse start not enough

Jonathan Broxton couldn't keep the game tied in the eighth, but the Brewers walk away with a series win.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Win: Blaine Hardy (2-0)
Loss: Jonathan Broxton (1-1)
Save: Joakim Soria (13)

HR: Braun (10)

Fangraphs Win Expectancy Graph


OK, so, normally I try to be as rational as I can and am normally all about the hindsight is 20-20 cliche thing. But Craig Counsell made the wrong decision on this particular night, right?

With the game tied 2-2 in the eighth inning, Counsell called upon Jonathan Broxton to pitch. The right-hander got two quick outs, throwing just five pitches. He then gave up a single to J.D. Martinez, then a single to Yoenis Cespedes, then a walk to Tyler Collins, loading the bases with two outs with Nick Castellanos coming to the plate.

Broxton, coming into this game, has not looked particularly good this season in 16 appearances. He has a 6.75 ERA and a 1.8 HR/9, and he's been getting hit often -- to the tune of 13 hits per nine innings pitched. Of course, he also has an 18:3 K:BB ratio, if we're being fair. But he just allowed three consecutive baserunners on board and hasn't inspired a ton of confidence this season.

Throw in the fact that the bullpen is rested after Jimmy Nelson just pitched eight innings, and it makes sense to have a reliever up as soon as someone gets on in a tie ballgame, right? And to bring in that reliever if Broxton gets into trouble? The Brewers didn't do that, and Broxton threw what I thought were a couple poor pitches before Castellanos hit a liner into right field that Gerardo Parra made a poor grab at on a bounce, allowing a three-run triple and a dagger in the heart of the team's chances.

I might totally be off base here. Broxton's strikeout numbers suggest maybe let him try to punch Castellanos out, and he's supposed to be the top set-up man. And you can't pull a reliever every time they get in trouble. But I've got that feeling in my gut that something is going to go wrong when Broxton is pitching right now, and I would probably just rather not have him in high leverage situations at the moment, personally.

Anyway, it didn't help that the Brewers' offense wasn't quite firing on all cylinders, collecting a run in the fourth on a Ryan Braun solo home run and one in the seventh on an RBI double from Elian Herrera. The Brewers only had multiple batters reach base in two separate innings as Shane Greene tossed 6.1 frames of three-hit ball. The way Milwaukee batters were going, maybe keeping the game tied was only prolonging the inevitable today.

Kyle Lohse also had another good start, pitching six innings, allowing seven hits and two runs. That follows up a great start last week against the Mets, and hopefully is a step towards recouping some of his trade value if nothing else.

And also, the Brewers got two wins (and a series win) against one of the best teams in baseball. Can't complain too much about that, I suppose.

Up next, the Brewers head to Atlanta for four games against the Braves. First pitch tomorrow is at 6:10 CT.