After having won just a single series in 25 tries against St. Louis since 2012, the Brewers have now taken three straight sets from the Redbirds, besting the Cardinals 2-1 on getaway day at Miller Park. Let's chart it.
UMPS WHOSE NAMES YOU DON'T KNOW: Jacob Barnes, +.179 WPA (1.1 IP, K, BB) / Keon Broxton +.085 WPA (1-for-2, BB, RBI, Game Saving HR Robbery)
TOM HALLION: Eric Thames, -.102 WPA (0-for-4, 2 K)
Jesus Aguilar homered for the second consecutive game, pounding his 11th clout of the season to give Milwaukee an early 1-0 lead in the third inning.
That lead would suffice until the fifth for Matt Garza, who retired 11 straight after a one out single in the first and faced just one over the minimum through four. He ran into trouble in the fifth, however, issuing free passes to Y****r M****a and Jose Ramirez to begin the inning. The former would come around to score on a Greg Garcia single, leaving runners on the corners with one out in a tied game with the pitchers spot on deck.
Mike Matheny gave his starter Michael Wacha a quick hook, partly to take advantage of the scoring chance and partly because he'd walked three and thrown 81 pitches through four. The gambit failed, as Luke Voit bounced into an inning ending double play.
The Brewers immediately reclaimed their lead when the offense partied hard after two. Three straight two-out singles from Travis Shaw, Hernan Perez and Broxton completed scoring for the evening as Milwaukee took the lead for good and all.
Barnes played fireman for the Brewers, entering with runners on the corners and two outs in relief of Garza, who acquitted himself nicely in his first start returning fun injury, going 5.2 innings of one run, four hit ball. He got his man, then returned to erase the Cardinals in the seventh to bridge the gap to newly acquired Anthony Swarzak.
Corey Knebel nailed down his 20th save of the season, though he once again looked shaky in doing so. Knebel needed 29 pitches to retire the side, stranding a pair of runners with his 88th strikeout of the season.
Travis Gets Mad Online About Sports:
The Brewers roster construction and use has been the target of some much-deserved derision over the past several weeks for a variety of reasons, but the team’s handling of Lewis Brinson over the past week has been next-level bad. After recalling Brinson and seemingly committing to letting him play every day, the Brewers abruptly announced they would recall Broxton after a week-long stay in Colorado Springs, and that he would receive the bulk of the playing time in center moving forward. The former made sense: Broxton hit .385 at AAA, reaching base safely in all seven starts and walking seven times. The latter is baffling, as the Brewers top prospect has been relegated to bench duty, receiving just two plate appearance over the past four days. Brinson’s slash line of .109/.241/.283 is ugly, but he’s been the victim of awful luck, owning a .000 BABIP during his most recent stint with Milwaukee and a .111 BABIP overall. The 23-year-old has absolutely nothing to prove at AAA, where he’s hitting .345/.417/.569, but if he’s not going to play on a regular basis with the big league club, he needs to be sent back down where he can get regular at-bats.
The Brewers will make a rare trip to Tropicana Field to knuckle up with the Tampa Bay Rays, who sit in third place in the AL East with the same 56-53 Milwaukee entered today’s game with. The Brewers just announced that they’ll go with Brandon Woodruff on the hill, who will be making his major league debut. Rookie Jacob Faria, owner of a 2.93 ERA over 10 starts, will go for the Rays. First pitch is 6:10 PM CST.