Two and a half weeks ago, this might have been considered a pitchers duel with the Cincinnati Reds coming in touting oft-dominating Homer Bailey to end the three-game series. Complementing this match up from the Milwaukee Brewers is the occasionally effective Kyle Lohse.
On paper, this would have looked like quite the matchup until you read further into their stats. Bailey, 28, brought a 7.94 ERA into this game accompanied by an 0-1 record. He’s only accrued 5.2 innings in this short season, but his ERA is a far cry from his 2014’s 3.71 or his career 4.19. The Brewers’ “Ace” is finding himself in similar waters. Lohse, 36, came into this contest with a rotund 10.34 ERA. In three starts (15.2 innings) he’s tallied 10 strikeouts but has given up four home runs and 24 hits.
The game began with some solid defense and good pitching, as both squads flied and grounded out until in the bottom of the second inning when Adam Lind hit a solo home run for the Brewers putting them up 1-0.
The surprisingly solid defense continued through the third and fourth innings seeing a few hits, but nothing major until the top of the fifth when Reds center fielder Marlon Byrd hit a two-run home run to drive in Brandon Phillips. The Brewers answered in the bottom of the fifth frame with an Aramis Ramirez solo home run.
Bailey exited in the sixth inning, giving way to reliever Kevin Gregg. Bailey’s line (5.2 innings, seven hits, two earned runs, three strikeouts, one walk on 79 pitches) wasn’t bad by any means, but his breaking ball was beginning to flatten out and after yielding a few hits in the fifth his day was done.
Lohse lasted a little longer (seven innings, three hits, two earned runs, four strikeouts, one walk on 89 pitches) and overall pitched very well. He’s never really lacked any confidence, but his location was way up as opposed to the last time I watched him pitch. That plus some good backup in the field turned this into a very solid outing for the righty from the Golden State.
The contest was all even until Gregg walked Logan Schafer in the seventh inning. A sacrifice bunt by the catcher Martin Maldonado moved him over, setting up shortstop Jean Segura for the RBI single that put the Brewers ahead.
Jonathan Broxton continued the solid pitching for the Brewers as he stuck out the side in the eighth. Manny Parra came in for the Reds in the bottom frame and did decent work, but Ryan Braun stole third base and a throwing error on the Reds’ Kristopher Negron led to him scoring a welcome Brewers insurance run.
With the home team leading 4-2, they brought in Francisco Rodriguez to close out the ninth. Although he’s been a little shaky lately and gave up a double today, Rodriguez still managed the save as the Brewers ended their losing streak and gained a much-needed win.
Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke had this to say after the win: “We certainly needed this win. Great ball game. Great job by Kyle (Lohse.) He kept us in it. … Just that one pitch to Byrd, and other than that really threw the ball well. He changed speeds well and located well which was good for him, and obviously good for us.”
I asked today’s winning pitcher Kyle Lohse how badly he needed this win. “We needed it,” he said. “We needed to get something going here. It felt good. Total team effort. I was able to get back in my rhythm that I’m normally in and it was an all around good game.”
Lohse was also asked about what was different about today as opposed to his previous starts this season. “I was just pounding the zone, getting ahead of guys like I normally do. Using all of my pitches. Really executing my fast ball — that made a big difference.”
I lastly spoke with Segura and asked what was the feeling after this game. “Better,” he said, laughing. “Good attitude. Good energy. Feels good to get a win.”
We’ll see if the good attitude and energy continue when the St. Louis Cardinals come to Milwaukee tomorrow for a three-game set. First pitch is at 7:10pm CT.