Photo: Jim Mone/AP
If you had Father’s Day plans and weren’t able to catch the Brewers/Twins series finale, you can consider yourself lucky. The Brewers suffered another hard-luck loss, but with an extra dose of “slow and painful” this time: In between Nick Blackburn’s first pitch and Denard Span’s walkoff single, fifteen innings and five-and-a-half hours had passed, thanks to a lengthy rain delay in between the twelfth and thirteenth innings, as if the intermittent rain wasn’t enough.
The game itself was excruciating, from Zack Greinke’s hard-luck start – three of his runs were the result of four straight seeing-eye singles with two out in the seventh, to the complete inability of either team to score after that point, to Juan Perez’s ankle-high 0-2 slider, which Span grounded through the infield to score Brian Dozier and end the game. However, as is wont to happen in 15-inning games, a few other weird things occurred, and the Brewers will probably be feeling their effects for the next few games at least.
The most noticeable side effect of today’s game was probably the injury that Jose Veras suffered as he got the last out in the 12th inning. As he came off the mound to cover first after Ryan Doumit’s groundball, Veras came up limping with what looked like a groin pull (Hart fielded the ball and touched first without incident). After the game, Ron Roenicke said that Veras had a cramp in his upper leg, and was probably going to be fine (h/t to Tom Haudricourt).
Even if Veras is going to be all right, the Brewers bullpen is probably going to be in a bit of a flux for the next few games, as a result of the seven innings they had to throw today. John Axford didn’t pitch, and K-Rod only threw one inning after having yesterday off, so the back of the bullpen – more appropriately, the eighth-inning-with-a-lead guy and the ninth-inning-with-a-lead guy – should be fine. After that, however, things could get interesting.
Veras, after pitching back-to-back days, is probably due for a day off regardless of how his leg feels, and may miss more time, for all we know right now. Tim Dillard, who threw 2.2 innings today, is also most likely out for at least tomorrow. Manny Parra pitched Friday and Saturday, so he should be OK, if not for an extended outing. Kameron Loe has been worked hard this series as well, throwing two innings today and 1.2 on Friday, though that doesn’t mean he won’t do it again tomorrow. In other words, between the relative readiness of K-Rod and Axford and the precarious state of the rest of the ‘pen, the Crew are going to be depending very heavily on a decent start from Randy Wolf tomorrow night.
The final piece of damage doesn’t directly deal with the Brewers, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Joe Mauer left today’s game after a collision at the plate with Rickie Weeks, and, judging by his postgame comments, was none too happy with having Weeks run into him. (Don’t forget that the Brewers and Twins already have a bit of a history.) The teams don’t play again until next year — barring a highly unlikely World Series matchup — but there’s a nonzero chance that things get interesting when they do.