“These are the times that try men’s souls.” – Thomas Paine
Shaun Marcum: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR (82 pitches, 53 strikes)
Veras, Parra, K-Rod, Loe, Dillard: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR
Taylor Green: 1-5, 2B
Ryan Braun: 1-4, BB
Rickie Weeks: 1-5, 2B
The Brewers suffered a fitting end to a terrible road trip, dropping an 11-inning contest to the Giants, 3-4. A walk-off single over the head of leftfielder/centerfielder Nyjer Morgan negated an otherwise solid game by Milwaukee that included a ninth-inning comeback and a series of good pitching performances.
In many ways, the game exemplified the Brewers’ recent struggles — a new “rock bottom” every day. An brutal injury stack has left the lineup without a regular first baseman or shortstop, and the team has struggled immensely to score runs. Today, they managed only eight hits, and not a single home run, especially disturbing considering the power Mat Gamel and Alex Gonzalez provided.
In spite of this, the Brewers hung in the game. Shaun Marcum kept the floodgates closed, allowing three runs in six innings, while the bullpen held the Giants scoreless for four. As such, the ninth innings started with the Giants ahead 3-2. The Brewers were able to come back, though, thanks to a pinch-hit, two-out double by Travis Ishikawa. (Corey Hart reached on an error.)
Unfortunately, Ishikawa’s double only delayed the inevitable, just as every one of his hits maintains the illusion that he is a suitable replacement for Mat Gamel a little longer. In the eleventh inning, Tim Dillard entered the game, giving up the winning run. Dillard pitched poorly, but why he was pitching the eleventh inning of a tie game in the first place is the more puzzling question. First, Dillard is more or less a ROOGY, and probably shouldn’t be used for whole innings anyways, except in the absence of other options.
The Brewers had other options, including Kameron Loe, the pitcher that preceded Dillard. Loe is a superior pitcher, has a nearly identical platoon profile, and has the endurance to go multiple innings. Also sitting in the bullpen was closer John Axford, the Brewers’ best reliever, who had thrown a total of 12 pitches this entire week. (Tomorrow, Axford will probably pitch the ninth inning of a meaningless 10-0 game just so he could get some work, which is going to make me very angry.) The walks and hits were Dillard’s fault, but, in my mind, the blame in that situation rests on the shoulders of the manager.
I’ve said this to myself or on Twitter at least five different days this week, but I’m not sure if things can get much worse. However, there were still a few positives to take away from today’s game:
– The Brewers didn’t have any major injuries that we know of, yet. However, LaTroy Hawkins and Jerry Hairston Jr. (members of last year’s very healthy Brewers team) both left their respective games with ailments.
– Even if the offense couldn’t score any runs and the game slipped out of reach with their sixth or seventh best reliever on the mound, the Brewers’ actually pitched very well today, holding the Giants to three runs through ten innings. Shaun Marcum put in a quality start, Jose Veras recorded five outs with no runs or walks, and Francisco Rodriguez looked like his old self again.
– The Crew heads back to Milwaukee to face the Reds tomorrow, so we can presumptively declare that the road trip from hell has finally come to a close.