The Brewers entered June as one of the hottest teams in baseball, holding the best record in the National League and winners of six straight series. Facing the bookends of the pitiful AL Central, it seemed like the Good Times were sure to Roll.
Five games and four losses later, the Brewers are reeling and seemingly in need of an off day, just two days since their last one. The baseball season is long, and mostly terrible. Stay with us.
NOT BEING IN CLEVELAND ANYMORE: Christian Yelich, LF: +.064 WPA (2-for-4, R, 2 K)
GOING TO PHILADELPHIA: Domingo Santana, RF: -.123 WPA (0-for-4, 3 K)
The Brewers struck first once again, plating a run against Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco in the third on a Christian Yelich single. They should have scored earlier and more often, after leaving the bases loaded in the first and leaving seven men on base, but Carrasco was able to control the Milwaukee offense, limiting their ability to move runners with 10 strikeouts over seven solid innings.
Cleveland scored all their runs in the fifth inning. After a single and steal by Rajai Davis and a walk to Francisco Lindor, old friend Michael Brantley made Anderson pay with a worm-burner that ticked off of Eric Sogard’s glove and dribbled into left, leaving runners at the corners with one out and a run in.
That would be the end of the day for Anderson, who went 4.1 innings with three runs on three hits, four walks, and four strikeouts. It was a quick hook, even by Craig Counsell’s standards, and it was just the third time in 12 starts that Anderson wasn’t able to at least complete the fifth inning.
Counsell’s bullpen gambit failed this time as regression continued to hound Jeffress, who had allowed just two of his 20 inherited runners to score entering play. Jeffress couldn’t locate the strike zone and surrendered hard contact when he did, as the Cleveland baseball team plated both of the runners Anderson was responsible for before. Jeffress wriggled free to keep his own ERA in tact, a level of self-interest I can only respect and admire, striking out a pair with the bases loaded.
Those three runs would be all Cleveland offense needed against a Brewers team that has suddenly forgotten how to score after a red-hot May. Milwaukee actually outhit Cleveland, 9-6, but were unable to muster more than a run as they failed time and again to put to ball in play and find some productive outs.
Counsell watched the end of the game from the clubhouse after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the eighth inning (for what it’s worth, the pitch looked good to me). Cody Allen came on after that and closed out an uneventful four out save.
The Brewers, who have grown fat and lazy in their success, will take yet another vacation day tomorrow before returning to work in Philadelphia on Friday. It’s be Jhoulys Chacin vs. Vince Velasquez on Friday, followed by Brent Suter vs. Jake Arrieta on Saturday in a very rude matchup indeed for those of us who are still upset the Brewers didn’t add more pitching this winter. Neither team has announced a starter for Sunday.