Just when it seemed like the Milwaukee Brewers might be turning things around, they followed up their three-game winning streak with a losing streak of at least equal length, losing in embarrassing fashion to the Minnesota Twins, 11-4. Manager Craig Counsell remains squarely on the hot seat as his decision making came into question for the third consecutive day. Let’s chart it.
PABLO SANCHEZ: Ryan Braun, +.149 WPA (3-for-5, K)
Matt Garza Craig Counsell, -.672 WPA (3.1 IP, 8 ER, 8 H, 4 HR, 3 K, 2 BB)
For the third straight day, the Milwaukee Brewers grabbed an early lead in a busy and back-and-forth couple of innings on Tuesday. The two teams traded leads in the early going, as Max Kepler’s third inning two-run homer flipped the score after Keon Broxton’s second inning RBI. The Brewers reclaimed the lead a half inning later, scoring three runs to give themselves a 4-2 lead. Then, the wheels fell off.
Counsell’s embarrassing mismanagement of the pitching staff grabbed the spotlight in the fourth inning, as Minnesota broke the game open with a six-run inning. A Robbie Grossman fly out to open the inning was the final out Matt Garza would record, as Eddie Rosario homered, Byron Buxton singled, Jason Castro and Jorge Polanco walked, and Brian Dozier clubbed a no-doubter grand slam to put the game well out of reach of the suddenly inept Brewers offense.
Five straight Twins crossing the plate wasn’t enough for Counsell to pull the plug on Garza’s worst start since 2015, and Kepler followed up Dozier’s big fly with his second dong of the game to put Minnesota up 10-4. The third dinger of the inning finally convinced Counsell that Garza might not have his best stuff, and he was replaced by Jeremy Jeffress and his 5.18 ERA, who to Counsell’s credit was properly utilized in a game that was already over (hello, High Leverage Reliever Oliver Drake).
Jeffress allowed another pair of runs over 1.2 poor innings, walking two and striking out one as he continued to be the man who collapsed with the Rangers instead of the relief ace he was a year and a half ago with Milwaukee.
The Brewers offense went gently once again into that good night, managing just a pair of base runners during the balance of the game as the Twins cruised and sent Milwaukee to their third straight loss.
The Brewers-Twins annual home-and-home series moves to Milwaukee on Wednesday, and the Milwaukee nine will continue to toss buckets of water over the deck of the Titanic as their 2017 season sinks to the ocean floor to rest next to the decaying corpses of the 2007 and 2014 seasons that suffered similar fates. Speaking of decaying corpses, the Twins send Bartolo Colon to the mound on Wednesday to oppose Brandon Woodruff, who will be making the second start of his career after tossing 6.1 scoreless innings against the Rays on Friday.