Looking to make a strong impression in a spot start for Kyle Lohse, Mike Fiers couldn't keep the Pirates in the ballpark, surrendering three homers in four innings in Saturday's 5-2 loss.
If Jim Henderson indeed misses some time, Milwaukee has three pitchers with extensive closer experience in Francisco Rodriguez, John Axford and Michael Gonzalez.
Saturday would have been Kyle Lohse's turn in the Brewers' pitching rotation, but right elbow irritation forced him to miss a start.
The Brewers were reevaluating their starting pitching options for Tuesday's game against the Twins in light of closer Jim Henderson's hamstring injury on Friday.
Brewers closer Jim Henderson will be examined by doctors Saturday regarding the right hamstring strain he suffered in Friday's victory against the Pirates.
By now, we all likely know the major league story of Mike Fiers (1-2, 5.93 ERA, 6.78 FIP). Great start to his career in 2012, but fell apart in August and seemingly has not been able to get major league batters out since. Started this season in the rotation, but was removed after his first (bad) start. Got sent to the minors, but came back up when Tom Gorzelanny went to the disabled list.
Now he's back in the starting rotation with Kyle Lohse having his start skipped due to discomfort in his elbow. It will probably be just a one-start thing, and Fiers has the good fortune of facing the Pirates. Hopefully the last series between the two teams isn't a sign that things are changing.
Fiers has yet to face a Pirates hitter at least ten times.
For Pittsburgh, Jeff Locke (4-1, 2.73 ERA, 4.49 FIP) is the Pirates' starter who is having a good year but will inevitably falter in the second half of the season. Seriously, for the last few years isn't that how it has gone for the Pirates? They keep making these runs for the NL Central crown, or .500, or whatever and they look really good in the first half. Usually because their pitching is over-performing, especially one specific pitcher (James McDonald 2012, Charlie Morton 2011). Then everything goes to hell in the second half of the season and they fall a few games short of .500 for the xth time in a row. Remember when they Brewers crumbled in the second half of 2007 and missed the playoffs? The Pirates are doing that every year and with a lesser goal.
Jeff Locke isn't very good, but he is pitching well right now and probably still will for another, oh, month or two. The guy was never hot stuff in the minors, and he was never that great in brief stints in the majors in the past. He puts up decent peripheral numbers, but gets hit hard. So sure, he threw seven shutout innings with just three hits against him in his last outing. That's nice. It was against the Astros, but that's nice. He had the exact same pitching line against the Cardinals earlier in the year, right down to the same number of walks (2) and strikeouts (4). He gave up two hits in six shutout innings against the Phillies before that St. Louis outing. But he'll regress soon.
Locke has never faced a Brewers hitter ten times.
As of yet, I have not seen the lineup. If you have, feel free to post it in the comments.
In the bullpen:
- Brandon Kintzler pitched 0.2 innings (12 pitches) last night.
- Mike Gonzalez pitched 0.1 innings (6 pitches) last night.
- Jim Henderson pitched 0.2 innings (12 pitches) last night and left the game with an injury.
- Francisco Rodriguez pitched 0.1 innings (2 pitches) last night.
- Alfredo Figaro pitched 3.1 innings (60 pitches) on Wednesday.
- Burke Badenhop pitched two innings (22 pitches) on Wednesday.
- John Axford last pitched on Tuesday.
- Tom Gorzelanny was activated off the DL yesterday and hasn't pitched since May 7.
Every lineup, every day, as they are made public by the clubs.
On this day in 2007 a new era of baseball began in Milwaukee, as Ryan Braun went 1-for-4 with a double and a pair of RBI in the Brewers' 8-6 loss to the Padres at Petco Park. Braun batted second in his major league debut.
Braun had been the #5 overall pick in the draft just two years earlier, and had been the heir apparent at third base for nearly all of his time in the minors. He hit .313/.375/.572 while rapidly climbing the ladder, and before joining the Crew he'd hit ten home runs in 34 AAA games.
Braun's career took a detour in the field (he was moved from third base to left field in 2008) but at the plate it never veered off course. He's been a .300 or better hitter in six of his seven MLB seasons and has already led the NL in slugging (twice), OPS (twice), home runs, hits and runs scored. He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2007, has won five consecutive Silver Slugger Awards and was the 2011 NL MVP.
Braun is under contract through 2020 on a pair of early-signed extensions, and has a club option for 2021. If the Brewers hadn't worked early to lock him up, he'd be due to be a free agent following this season. He's already among the franchise's all-time leaders in home runs (fourth), stolen bases (fifth), runs (sixth), RBI (sixth), doubles (sixth) and hits (eighth).
We also covered Braun's debut anniversary in this space two years ago, but I thought it was worth updating.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- 2000-01 Brewer Angel Echevarria, who turns 42.
- 1997 Brewer Sean Maloney, who turns 42.
- 1953 Milwaukee Brave Don Liddle, who would have turned 88.
Right-hander Marco Estrada was brilliant against the Pirates in Friday's series opener, throwing seven innings of one-run ball with eight punchouts in a 2-1 Brewers victory.
Brewers closer Jim Henderson went down with a right hamstring strain in Friday's 2-1 victory over the Pirates, and manager Ron Roenicke could not rule out an extended absence.