WP: Ernesto Fieri (2-0); LP: Adam Plutko (0-1); Save: Erik Davis (2); Home runs: Mil - none; Cle - Francisco Lindor (3)
One thing we have been learning this spring is that the Milwaukee Brewers’ top affiliate, Colorado Springs, will have the wherewithal to return to the AAA playoffs. The Brewers second liners have consistently outplayed the rest of the Cactus League, and are keying the drive for the Cup.
Today, they were the impetus in a come-back 5-4 win for Milwaukee over a Cleveland Indians split squad. The win pushes the Crew to a 10-6-1 mark, while the Indians now stand at 10-7-1 (they won their other ballgame today). The Chicago Cubs dropped a 7-2 decision to Oakland and sit at 11-4, 1 1⁄2 games up on Milwaukee.
Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco looked ready to go for the Tribe as they defend their AL Central crown. He worked three innings, allowing a single, no walks, while fanning six. Brewer starter Wade Miley did nothing to hurt his chances for a rotation spot, going five full innings with three hits and two runs (both earned) while striking out four. He allowed a leadoff homerun to Francisco Lindor, and his three walks are concerning, but he kept the team in the ballgame.
Milwaukee fell behind 3-0, but started their comeback with a two run seventh. Keon Broxton slapped a one out single, stole second (#5 this spring), and scored on a triple from previously slumping Brett Phillips. Maverick came all the way around to score on a throwing error.
Milwaukee tried the two-out rally thing in the eighth (actually, it started with one out, but that doesn’t fit my narrative), but failed to score after they loaded the bases. Ji-Man Choi and Keston Hiura had hits, and Troy Stokes walked to fill the sacks, but Dustin Houle flew out to end the inning.
The Indians had a run in (unearned) and runners at second and third in the bottom of the frame against Ernesto Frieri, but failed to bring in more in when Frieri finished the inning with a pop out and a strikeout.
Luis Aviles and Tyrone Taylor began the Brewer ninth with flyouts, but the Indians couldn’t get that final out. Tyler Heineman singled, took second on “defensive indifference” (do I think that’s a stolen base? Why yes, yes I do.), and scored on a single by Shane Optiz (who is now two for two for his spring).
With only a one-run lead, the Tribe wisely walked Ji-Man Choi, and made a pitching change. It didn’t help as Kyle Wren’s base hit tied things up at four, and my main man Keston Hiura singled in the ultimate winner with a base hit to center. Hiura bumped his average to .409. I don’t think high-A Carolina can hold him for long. But he’s blocked at AAA by Nate Orf, so may have to come directly to the Brewers.
Erik Davis saved the win for Fieri (well, the run WAS unearned) with a one-two-three ninth, including a strikeout. Davis now has two saves this spring. It’s Fieri’s second win against no losses despite a 5.40 ERA. He’s a game winner.
The Milwaukee Brewers of Maryvale (10-6-1) are on the road tomorrow afternoon against the Los Angeles Dodgers of Tempe (11-7). Junior Guerra will continue HIS fight for a rotation spot against dem Bums, with no starter announced yet for LA.
With Jake Arrieta joining the Phillies, I guess it might be time to take Brewers’ GM at his word that they won’t be making any more moves to improve the rotation. For us fans, the performances of Guerra, Miley, Brent Suter, Brandon Woodruff, Aaron Wilkerson, and Yovani Gallardo take on added meaning as we work through the second half of the race for the Cactus Cup. And we should continue to watch the recovery process of Jimmy Nelson closely as well.