The Milwaukee Brewers have fielded one of the most pathetic lineups in baseball this season. The anemic offense entered ranked the day last in the National League with an average of 3.73 runs per game. They were second-worst on the Senior Circuit with a collective 77 OPS+ and last with a cumulative .211 batting average.
So, naturally, the squad hit four home runs and hung a 9-spot on the Pittsburgh Pirates in game one of their series tonight in the Cream City.
Something was clearly up early on in this game, as the Brewers actually managed to score in the first inning. Jedd Gyorko, who has received sporadic playing time despite performing well when he’s been on the field, crushed the first pitch he saw from Pirates’ starter Derek Holland for a home run to left field to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead.
The Brewers hung a crooked number in the third inning. Jacob Nottingham — called up today to replace injured Manny Pina (who will miss the rest of the season with a torn meniscus) — was hit by a 2-2 breaking ball to lead off the frame. He moved up to third when the next batter, Luis Urias, doubled. After Keston Hiura and Gyorko both punched out, it looked like Milwaukee was in jeopardy of wasting a golden scoring opportunity. That is, until Ryan battled through a seven-pitch at-bat that ended with him crushing a three-run homer over the left field fence. The dinger was Braun’s second on the season and was the 800th extra-base hit of his storied career. That made it a 4-0 ballgame.
Milwaukee continued to pile on in the following frames. Nottingham hit a two-run homer in the fourth to make it 6-0. The backstop is in his final option year and seems to be in line to get legitimate playing time down the stretch with Pina on the shelf, so the next month’s worth of games could go a long way towards determining his future in Milwaukee. So far, so good. Another pair of runs came across in the fifth as Mark Mathias lined a sharp two-run double to left. Milwaukee’s ninth and final run came in the seventh, when Gyorko clubbed his second home run of the game. He’s now hitting .237 with a .984 OPS...perhaps skipper Craig Counsell will consider giving him some more action at third base as he continues to search for ways to inspire his offense.
As excellent as the lineup for the Menomonee Valley Nine was tonight, starter Corbin Burnes was every bit as impressive on the mound. He worked the deepest start of his young career, completing six scoreless innings on 93 pitches. He allowed only three hits and one walk while striking out 10, creating a handful of PitchingNinja-worthy .gifs along the way. David Phelps struck out the side in the seventh inning but did yield Pittsburgh’s lone run, a two-out solo blast by JT Riddle. Drew Rasmussen didn’t allow a hit or run and punched out a pair while working the final two innings of the game.
Corbin Burnes, Wicked 88mph Slider and back door 94mph Cutter...— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 29, 2020
9th and 10th Ks. pic.twitter.com/0o4QAHMYGf
The 9-1 victory improves Milwaukee’s record to 14-17 while the Pirates — now 9-20 — continue to flounder. These two teams will meet up at Miller Park again tomorrow night, with JT Brubaker scheduled to face off against Brett Anderson. First pitch is slated for 6:10 PM central.