> You can say all you want about how bad the Brewers’ bullpen is. It leads baseball in blown saves. I guess it hasn’t left Ron Roenicke with many options, but lately one option has actually emerged. It’s Jim Henderson, the 29-year old Canadian who has spent 10 years in the Minors before finally getting his chance at the Major League level. And he’s been producing. Coming into today, he had a 2.57 ERA (should be 1.29), and appeared to have the closer’s role locked down.
But, Roenicke did what he’s been doing FAR too much this season; try and give the struggling relievers second chances. And it cost starter Mark Rogers.
The Brewers lost to the Astros today, 4-3, courtesy of John Axford’s eighth blown save, and his seventh loss.
It was going fine early. In the first inning, Ryan Braun drove in Nyjer Morgan, who had reached on a dropped strike three. In the second inning, Astros starter Bud Norris threw a wild pitch with Jean Segura batting, which allowed Rickie Weeks to score from third, giving the Brewers an early 2-0 lead.
The Astros didn’t get on the board until the fifth inning on Carlos Corporan’s RBI single. Up until that inning, Rogers had held the Astros hitless through four innings. This was by far his best outing as a big leaguer, as he went seven innings while giving up a run on three hits (all in the fifth inning). He walked two and struck out eight.
The Brewers tacked on one more in the seventh on Segura’s RBI single.
So Roenicke must have thought it was 2011 today, because he used Francisco Rodriguez in the eighth, and Axford in the ninth. K-Rod gave up a home run to Corporan to cut the lead to 3-2, and from there retired the side in order.
Then Axford came in, and disaster once again struck.
Axford walked Brett Wallace to start the inning, who was pinch-run for by Tyler Greene. But, Greene advanced all the way to third base because of a wild pitch. Steve Pearce promptly tied the game with an RBI single and reached second base because of an error by center fielder Carlos Gomez. Scott Moore then drilled an Axford pitch to very deep center field (a few feet up Tal’s Hill), but Gomez managed to make the play, with Pearce tagging to third base. Brian Bogusevic dealt the finishing blow with a walk-off RBI single.
By the way, some people on Twitter were trying to blame Axford’s wild pitch on catcher Jonathan Lucroy. I’ll admit he didn’t make the best effort, but there’s honestly no point attempting to defend the bullpen anymore. It is what it is.
> I can’t explain everything, because I’d be attempting to figure out what goes on in the mind of Roenicke. I can’t do that, nor would I ever want to.
But I can say this. The Brewers have found another closer for the time being, that reliever being Henderson. But that’s useless if Roenicke continues to go back to the reliever who have failed the Brewers time and time again.
By the way- I’m not trying to come down on Axford, at least not directly. Obviously I have to blame him for the loss, considering he took the loss. But I’ve tried to stay away from mocking players directly lately, because I recently learned a lesson, that lesson being to not say anything online (or anywhere else) that you wouldn’t say to someone in person. I made that mistake three years ago on my old Twitter account, and I’ve made it a few times on my current account and even here on BWI. But I’ve tried to imply that rule to myself a lot more often lately, because I recently ran into Axford in person. All I could do was ask for a picture. Would I ever tell him “quit blowing saves” or “you’re horrible?” Heck no. There are plenty of people who do that on Twitter, and I don’t want to one of those people. But I’m a writer, so I have to at least be critical about it.
But I’m not afraid to come down on Roenicke, because it’s gotten to the point where I would probably blow up at him in person.
Anyway, I kind of rode off topic there, but I felt the need to get that out there.
> I was going to talk about the possibility of Mike Fiers (and other pitches) getting shut down before the end of the year, but I think I’m going to save that for another day. That topic requires its own article, because I’d also need to go into my opinion of that, pitch count, and so on.
> Shaun Marcum made his first rehab start today for the Timber Rattlers (Single-A). He went three innings and threw 36 pitches, 28 for strikes. He gave up a solo home run, but was otherwise solid. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. Marcum was only scheduled to throw 35-40 pitches, so the low innings and pitch count were probably because he hadn’t thrown to live hitters in awhile.
Marcum hopes to return to the Brewers by their home series against the Cubs on August 20th.
> The innings limit suggested by Roenicke counts as news, I guess.
> The bullpen is awful. You don’t need the numbers to tell you that anymore.
> Weeks went 3-for-4 with a career-high three doubles today.
> Gomez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, all against Norris.
> Segura got his first hit that left the infield, and his first hit that drove in a run.
> Rogers’ chance at his first career win was once again blown by the bullpen.
> Tomorrow’s match-up:
Marco Estrada (0-5, 4.13 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-4, 5.60 ERA)