Brewers spoil late scoring chances in loss to KC

> I thought the Brewers would be able to sweep the Royals in this three-game series. Well, you can scratch that.

> The Brewers fell to the Royals tonight, 2-1, in a game that was pretty embarrassing on many different levels. The headline was Zack Greinke’s return to Kansas City for the first time since being traded to the Brewers in December of 2010. But, by the late innings, that was merely a side-note after all of the other things that took place.

Alex Gordon hit a lead-off homerun off Greinke in the first inning on a 3-2 pitch. And this was no cheap shot, considering it sailed into the waterfall of Kauffman Stadium.

After that, though, Royals starter Luis Mendoza stole the show. Of course, Mendoza was a starter who was making his first start since returning from the bullpen, so naturally he had to dominate the Brewers. And he did just that, firing six no-hit innings to start the game. The Brewers broke up the no-hit bid in the seventh on what would have been an infield single for Ryan Braun, but he wound up reaching third base, courtesy of some little league work by the Royals’ infield. Mendoza then walked Aramis Ramirez, which prompted the sometimes quick hook of ex-Brewer manager Ned Yost. So Mendoza was pulled after 6+ innings, giving up just one hit- the infield single to Braun- while walking two and striking out four.

But the Brewers nearly left that inning without scoring. Taylor Green flew out to the left fielder Gordon for the first out, but Braun tried to tag up, and was thrown out at home by Gordon. Ramirez advanced to third on the play. Then, Rickie Weeks came through against reliever Aaron Crow with a game-tying, RBI single.

That was all the Brewers would get. They eventually lost the lead in the eighth inning, and I shouldn’t even need to tell you who gave it up. Francisco Rodriguez gave up the go-ahead RBI single to Billy Butler.

The Brewers had runners on third in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but failed to drive in any of those runners. Royals closer Jonathan Broxton made it interesting in the ninth, giving up a lead-off single to Ramirez. After that, he struck out Green, but then gave up an infield single to Weeks. Broxton struck out George Kottaras, and induced a Brooks Conrad groundout to end the game.

> This game was an example of some classic Ron Roenicke management. He removed Greinke after seven nice innings, despite the fact his pitch count was only 105. After Greinke was removed, announcer Brian Anderson said that “pitch count got him tonight.” No, Brian. Ron Roenicke management got him. Roenicke needs to learn that a 105 pitch count really isn’t that high, even in this day and age. If Greinke was at 110 pitches or higher after seven, then sure, I could understand not putting him back out for the eighth. But you see all of these pitchers (from other teams) nowadays going the distance using 120-130 pitches. Roenicke barely lets our guys touch 100 pitches, and it’s driving me insane. By the way, it’s worth noting that a Brewer pitcher hasn’t thrown a complete game since April of 2011- the first win of the 2011 season.

Next up is Ron’s pinch-hitting selection in the ninth inning. I’m not going to blame him for using Kottaras, but, in reality, he hasn’t done crap since April. So he isn’t that “reliable, clutch bat off the bench” anymore. But I AM going to blame him for using Conrad as the last batter of the game with a man on third. Conrad was batting .081 going into the at-bat, so the game was obviously over before he even stepped in the batter’s box. Anybody would have been better than Conrad in that situation.

Lastly, the use of the bullpen, which sort of ties in to the Greinke situation. Not only did Roenicke remove Greinke, he removed Greinke in favor of Rodriguez. At this point, every time K-Rod enters a game, you can just consider it a loss, whether it’s tied or the Brewers have the lead. His 0-4 record should tell the story of how bad he’s been, although he’s actually blown more games than that.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of this series tomorrow at 7:10 PM CT. They’ll send Randy Wolf (2-5, 5.45 ERA) to the mound, who has been pretty bad overall this year, but is coming off a nice start against the Cubs. The Royals are one of the few teams he’s never faced in his career.

The Royals will counter with Luke Hochevar (3-7, 6.57 ERA). If the Brewers can’t beat this guy, we might as well call it a season. However, I predicted today that the Brewers would hammer Mendoza, and he nearly no-hit them. So I’m done making predictions for now.

> Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.

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