The Milwaukee Brewers took the rubber match against the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon, 7-2. Freddy Peralta and Luis Castillo both pitched at a very high level today, but a managerial decision had to be made because of weather regarding the use of these two starters. The difference in decisionmaking is one of the singular differences between these two teams.
The bullpen for the Brewers is able to provide both length and quality when necessary. The Reds’ bullpen is problematic in the aspect of length and quality. In fact, the Reds’ bullpen is the worst in baseball in terms of ERA at 5.81.
After four innings played, the rains came, and the game was delayed for 37 minutes. At that point Freddy Peralta had pitched really well striking out six and giving up just one run. Coming out of the delay, Brewers’ manager, Craig Counsell, elected to pull Peralta. The likely reason was his confidence in the bullpen, and he was right in his assessment. Over the rest of the contest, the Brewers bullpen gave up just one run on four hits over five innings while striking out nine. Neither Josh Hader nor Devin Williams pitched in this one. Instead those numbers came from Brent Suter, Brad Boxberger, Hoby Milner, and Trevor Richards.
Compare the Brewers’ situation to that of the Reds. Coming out of the delay, Reds’ manager, David Bell, decided to continue with Luis Castillo. It was a good decision. Castillo covered 5.2 innings which was an extra 1.2 innings beyond the delay. The problem for Bell is that there is no way he is comfortable going to his bullpen right now, and that is where the Brewers took advantage.
Going into the sixth, Castillo was cruising, and they were up 2-1. He struck out Luis Urias to begin the inning, but he walked Daniel Vogelbach and Christian Yelich back-to-back. He followed by striking out Avisail Garcia. At that point, Castillo was at 96 pitches. Bell decided to lift his starter in favor of Lucas Sims.
Sims did not get it done for Cincinnati. Willy Adames rocked a ground rule double that scored Vogelbach.
Jace Peterson followed with a bloop single that brought in Yelich and Adames. The Brewers were now up 4-2, and just like that, they had the Reds on the ropes.
The Brewers added runs in the seventh and eighth innings as well. In the top of the seventh, Sean Doolittle hit Tyrone Taylor with one out in the inning. He would come around and score when Daniel Vogelbach hit a moonshot that cleared the right field wall for his sixth of the year.
In the top of the eighth, Willy Adames hit his second double of the game into the right centerfield gap. He would score when Jace Peterson followed with a double of his own.
The Brewers took advantage of a slumping Reds’ bullpen taking the lead and pulling away late. The Reds’ vaunted offense faltered against a Brewers’ bullpen that has been trustworthy for the most part in 2021. When you look at the records of these two teams and ask why, bullpen performance might just be the difference. It was in this game.
The Brewers come home to American Family Field for their next series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. First pitch in game one of the series is tomorrow at 7:10 CT. Brandon Woodruff goes for the Brewers, while Chase de Jong goes for the Pirates. The game can be seen on Bally Sports Wisconsin and heard on WTMJ 620 as well as the Brewers Radio Network.
Baseball statistics courtesy of Fangraphs