Thankfully this game didn’t count the standings as the Brewers saw a combination of bad offense and bad defense propel them to their first defeat of Spring Training, losing 6-0 to the Oakland A’s. The Brewers allowed the A’s 14 hits and committed 4 errors that led to 4 runs in the loss.
Credit to Tom Milone who led the A’s pitching staff today, going three innings and allowing just a double to Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy to get the victory.
Don’t think the Brewers pitching staff was bad either as starter Yovanni Gallardo made his Spring Training debut count, giving up just one hit and striking out 4 over 2 innings of work.
The next three pitchers followed closely as Francisco Rodriguez, a returning Manny Parra, and Amaury Rivas combined with Gallardo to only allow 1 run on 4 hits and struck 6 batters through five innings of work. However the one run given up by K-Rod in the 2nd proved too much for the sluggish Brewers offense to overcome and he took the loss in the game.
Ryan Braun continued his slow start to one of the most watched individual Spring Trainings of all-time as he went 0 for 2, striking out in his first at bat and flying out in foul territory before being replaced.
At least he’s got a sense of humor about his 0 for 4 start with 3K’s so far. ”The overwhelming odds,” said Braun according to reports, “are that I’m going to put one in fair territory one of these days.”
Interestingly just like last night the sixth inning played a pivitol role today. It was the first time many Brewers fans outside of Northeast Wisconsin or Florida got to see Tyler Thornburg pitch. Unfortunately the defense behind him decided it didn’t want to help him as both Caleb Gindl and Cesar Izturis (2nd of the night) committed errors that led to 3 runs for the A’s and Thornburg left after just .2 of an inning thanks to his pitch count being reached.
Mike McClendon came in and gave up two straight singles that allowed the 3rd unearned run to cross the plate.
Oakland added two earned runs in the top of the 9th off of Daniel Meadows to make it 6-0.
The biggest excitement for Brewers fans came with two outs in the bottom of the 9th as the speedy Logan Schaffer belted a triple but couldn’t get hit home to avoid the shutout.
Up next for the Brewers is a trip to Glendale, AZ to face the White Sox. Brewers fans should be on the look out for the return of Rickie Weeks to duty at 2nd base for the first time this spring and the pitching matchup is between Marco Estrada and Jake Peavy. Also on the travel roster for the Brewers pitching staff are closer John Axford, Kameron Loe, and 1st Round pick (2011) Taylor Jungmann.
Quick Takeaway: Cesar Izturis has not really helped his case out of the gate so far with 3 errors that have cost multiple runs in the past two games and if he hopes to win the “utility infielder” spot he’s going to need produce much better than that. I know it’s just 3 games in but as a non-roster invitee it’s not hard for them to give your shot to someone else inside the organization if you can’t turn it around and fast. If he has more errors further into this week it could be the end of his stay with the Brewers because they need better defense than they had last year if they’re going to be a winning team in 2012.