Coming off the worst outing of his career in his last start, embattled ace Junior Guerra was looking to bounce back against the Miami Marlins today and help the Brewers to a three-game sweep.
Things started off promisingly enough, as Guerra navigated his way through two scoreless innings to start the game striking out four batters (though he did allow a walk, a single, and a hit batter in those two frames). The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a sacrifice fly by Domingo Santana.
Things began to unravel for Junior in the 3rd inning, however. He allowed a leadoff double to JT Realmuto, and after striking out Giancarlo Stanton, walked Christian Yelich after getting ahead 0-2. That brought Marcell Ozuna to the plate, and Guerra left a 91 MPH fastball middle-middle that Ozuna crushed to straight away center for a 3-run homer. Guerra would escape the third with no further damage, and the Brewers would pull to within 3-2 after Eric Thames hit a solo homer (his 21st of the season) in the bottom of the frame.
Junior danced out of more danger in a scoreless 4th inning, allowing a walk and a single before getting a strikeout and an inning ending double-play ball. But Guerra would hit a wall in the 5th. Three straight hits - two singles and a double - to lead off the inning plated another run to give Miami a 4-2 lead. That would be all for Guerra, who was pulled after tossing 87 pitches, 52 of which went for strikes. Junior got plenty of swings and misses on the day, especially with the splitter, and struck out 7 opposing batters. Fastball control was again a significant issue, though, as Guerra walked 3 Marlins hitters and allowed 8 hits. His fastball velocity continued to trend downward, but Guerra and the club are still downplaying the issue:
Four-plus innings for Guerra. For the first time in his career, his four-seam FB averaged < 91.3 mph. It was 89.7 mph today.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 2, 2017
Junior Guerra "The velocity is not there right now. It goes up and down; sometimes it’s there, sometimes it’s not. That’s part of who I am."— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 2, 2017
Carlos Torres came on to relieve Guerra in the 5th and worked some magic to get through the frame scoreless. A shallow fly ball by Martin Prado wasn’t deep enough to bring in the runner on third, and then after an intentional walk, Torres induced a double play off the bat of JT Riddle that needed to be overturned through instant replay before the inning ended. A solo homer by Orlando Arcia in the bottom of the 5th brought the Brewers back within one at 4-3.
That would be all the Brewers’ offense could muster for this game though, and the bullpen allowed the game to get out of hand in the later innings. Torres wound up giving up a run in the 6th before getting pulled with one out, and then Rob Scahill allowed a run on a solo homer during his 1.2 innings. Paolo Espino was brought on to mop things up and struggled, coughing up 4 earned runs during the final 2.0 innings. He was optioned back to AAA Colorado Springs after the 10-3 loss went final.
The Milwaukee Nine saw their record drop to 44-40 after today’s loss, and the Cubs won today to come back to within two games of the Brewers’ division lead. The struggling Baltimore Orioles (40-41) will come to Miller Park tomorrow to start a three-game interleague set. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM CST, with Wade Miley set to face off against Brent Suter.