This was a game that tested the resilience of this Milwaukee Brewers’ team. In some ways, this game felt like a must win. As the game transpired, that feeling seemed to increase in magnitude.
The Cincinnati Reds have owned the Milwaukee Brewers of late. They had won five consecutive games. Most of those losses by the Brew Crew came in devastating fashion. Who could forget the lazy throw that Christian Yelich made that Eric Thames botched allowing Yasiel Puig to score the winning run in extra innings? Who can forget Eugenio Suarez teeing off Jeremy Jeffress to go-ahead in the ninth for the eventual win (it only happened 36 hours ago, so unless you have some short-term memory issues...?)? Who can forget the tail-beating the Reds put on Milwaukee just last night?
The Brewers were vulnerable to pressing and it showed early in this game, and the starting pitcher today, Jhoulys Chacin, had to be pressing. What was once an almost certain quality start for the Brewers, a Chacin start has since become more of a hope that cannot be counted upon. He would only last three innings this afternoon. He would exit the game with discomfort that likely affected prior to his exit. One has to wonder if he had been hurting in prior starts?
Unfortunately the Reds did what the Reds do in the first inning. They scored. Chacin began by walking Nick Senzel, who put together another great at-bat against Brewers’ pitching. Unfortunately for Senzel, he looked as if he might pass out going to first base, and he was removed from the game. Phillip Ervin replaced him and immediately stole second base.
Later in the inning, Chacin walked Puig on what might have been an unintentional, intentional walk. Josh VanMeter followed with a single that scored Ervin from second. Scotter Gennett doubled into right field to score a second first inning run in the form of Puig.
Milwaukee immediately responded. With two outs in the inning, Yasmani Grandal induced a walk. He would score on a booming home run by Ryan Braun. It was number 15 on the season.
The 1927 Yankees, I mean the 2019 Reds continued to put the pressure on the Brewers. In the top of the second, Phillip Ervin laced a single to Ryan Braun in left. Braun kicked the ball, which allowed Ervin to get to second. Braun received an error on the misplay. With the runner in scoring position, Joey Votto came through with a single and a third run scored. In the third, Josh VanMeter would launch his second home run of the season to make it 4-2, Reds. The end of the hitting clinic by the Reds would end after three innings of play however.
What you have to like about the Brewers under Craig Counsell is that they never stop fighting. In the bottom of the fifth, they began to fight back. Keston Hiura started the rally by launching a solo shot to straight away centerfield to get the Brew Crew to within one run.
Orlando Arcia would walk right after the homer. Not until they had two outs would the Brewers take advantage of the Arcia free pass. Lorenzo Cain singled triggering a pitching change. Amir Garrett replaced starter, Lucas Sims. Garrett would subsequently throw a wild pitch allowing the two Brewers’ base runners to advance 90 feet. With the base open, Garrett walked Christian Yelich. Yasmani Grandal followed with a single in the hole between shortstop and third base, which scored Arcia and Cain. After five innings, the Brewers had the lead 5-4. That lead would hold, because of what might become a shut-down, back-end of the Brewers’ bullpen.
After a scoreless sixth and the score still 5-4, the Brewers sent Josh Hader out for the seventh and the eighth. Hader would set the Reds down easily in the seventh, mowing down Joey Votto and Yasiel Puig. Josh VanMeter faced Hader first in the eighth, and he struck out. Pinch hitter and Brewer killer, Eugenio Suarez faced Hader next. Hader took him down with 96 mph up on the zone. Jose Iglesias was able to fight off a pitch into right field for a single. Fortunately the Brewers’ relieve ace was able to get Ryan Lavarnway looking on a slider to end the inning.
That set things up for Milwaukee closer....Freddy Peralta! Jose Peraza was first up, and first down. Hot hitting, Phillip Ervin followed. Fastball Freddy painted 97 mph low and in to get him looking. The great Joey Votto hit next. After an eight pitch battle, the new Brewers’ closer got Votto to fly out to left, and Freddy Peralta notched his first major league save.
The Brewers have a day off tomorrow. They will return to action on Friday as the Chicago Cubs come to town for a 7:10 CT start time. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Wisconsin and broadcast for radio on WTMJ.