The Milwaukee Brewers hooked up with the Atlanta Braves this evening. Coming into the game, it was a tale of two teams. The Atlanta Braves were twenty games over .500, and 7-2 in the month of July. The Brewers’ have been less fortunate. They are just two games over .500 and 3-8 for the month of July.
One of the big issues for the Brew Crew that have hampered them for some time now is scoring with runners in scoring position (RISP). Tonight posed those same issues. With that in mind, Adrian Houser took the mound for Milwaukee and Max Fried did the same for Atlanta.
Things started to look problematic early in the top of the second as Josh Donaldson led off the inning with a single to right field. Nick Markakis immediately followed with a fly ball to Ryan Braun. Braun seeing that Donaldson had scampered to far away from first attempted to throwing him out. Unfortunately he made a poor throw. Unfortunately once again, Jesus Aguilar was unable to move into position to block the throw allowing the ball to get past him and Donaldson to get to second base. Something fortunate would happen however. Ozzie Albies flared a ball into shallow left field. Orlando Arcia glided easily into position to make a fine catch. He immediately pivoted and threw to second as he was able to make Donaldson pay for a second base running blunder. The Brewers were able to escape that inning with no harm.
The inability to score with RISP began in the bottom of the third inning. Keston Hiura rocketed a single to right field. Arcia moved him up 90 feet with a slow roller to Josh Donaldson. Unfortunately Houser and Lorenzo Cain could move Hiura no further.
The top of the fourth inning was a big inning for Atlanta that started off with a couple softly hit balls. The first was hit by Ronald Acuna Jr. He placed a ball up the middle that Hiura was able to field, but he was unable to throw out the speedy Braves centerfielder. Mike Moustakas would boot the next ground ball served up by Dansby Swanson. That made it first and second and no one out with Freddy Freeman coming to the plate. Freeman took the young Brewers’ pitcher deep, and made the score 3-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Brewers tried to answer as Christian Yelich singled too centerfield. Yelich would steal second later in the inning for his 22nd steal of the season. Yasmani Grandal walked making it first and second and one out. Unfortunately again the Brewers that followed (Moose and Jesus Aguilar) failed to capitalize and the score remained 3-0.
The bottom of the fifth inning started out promising for the Brewers as well. Keston Hiura hit a ground rule double that was just inside the right field foul line to start things off. He would then steal third base. With no one out and Hiura on third, Orlando Arcia hit a dribbler to the pitcher. Hiura obviously was going on contact, but the contact was so weak and right to the pitcher that the Brewers’ second baseman was caught in no man’s land between third base and home plate and was tagged out. Arcia did end up on first and would get to second base as the result of LoCain walking. There were two outs in the inning. Christian Yelich was up, and he did hit the ball hard, but at someone for the final out of the inning and another runner in scoring position stranded.
In the bottom of the sixth inning the Brewers finally scored. Ryan Braun launched a solo shot well over the centerfield wall. There was other action in this inning, some of it good and some not so good. For the not so good, Yasmani Grandal watched a borderline pitch on the lower outside corner be called strike three. He liked the call so much, he let the umpire know about it. Evidently Grandal used some salty language and was asked to leave the game.
For the good, the Brewers scored one more run in the inning. Mike Moustakas would single to right field. Later in the inning, Keston Hiura would hit a towering fly ball that Acuna mistimed. The ball bounced off the wall allowing Hiura to scamper to third and Moose to score and get the Brewers within one.
Unfortunately the Braves would tack on in the top of the seventh. Ozzie Albies singled to left to get things started. Brian McCann followed by hitting a ball sharply to left field. The ball glanced off Ryan Braun’s glove (a play he probably should have made). The result was a single for McCann and Albies going to third. Austin Riley followed with a flare to left that Braun was unable to get to resulting in a single and the fourth run of the game as Albies crossed home plate.
After pitching reasonably well, Adrian Houser was pulled for Junior Guerra. Guerra was able to get out of the inning with no further damage. Guerra would return and pitch a scoreless eighth inning as well.
Burch Smith took over the ninth for the Brewers. Albies led the inning off with a double. Smith would strike out both Brian McCann and Charlie Culberson. He would also walk Austin Riley and Ronald Acuna Jr. to load the bases. With a ton of pressure on the comeback kid that is Burch Smith, he was able to get Dansby to strike out and end the inning.
The bottom of the ninth brought Hiura, Ben Gamel, and Eric Thames. Hiura struck out. Gamel grounded out. Thames stuck out. With the loss, the Brewers fall to 48-47 on the season. Unfortunately the woes with runners on second and third continue as well. The Brewers went 0-7 with RISP position tonight. That means they are 51 for 275 since June 1 in that department. Do the math, it ain’t good.
The Brewers went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in a 4-2 loss to the Braves. Milwaukee has lost eight of 10 and 18 of 27, and will fall into third place barring a ninth-inning Cardinals collapse against the Pirates.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 16, 2019
These two teams go at it again tomorrow night at 7:10 CT. Brandon Woodruff takes the mound for the Brew Crew, and the Braves send out Bryse Wilson. The game can be heard on WTMJ and seen on Fox Sports Wisconsin.