By Eric Nehm, guest writer
Some things to read while trying to figure out why the Frosty Mug added a new character.
The Milwaukee Brewers weren’t able to maintain a three-run first-inning lead on Tuesday and fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 7-5 score. If you missed it, Jordan Mader of Brew Crew Ball has you covered with the recap.
Four unearned runs in the first inning, thanks to a botched throw, helped the Brewers build a 5-2. But noted Brewer stopper Josh Collmenter went on to shut the Brewers down after that until he handed it off to his bullpen in the sixth inning. The Diamondbacks bullpen was just as dominate, as they faced 10 batters and recorded 10 outs.
As a result, the Brewers experienced something that hadn't happened all year: blowing a decent lead and losing late. Tom Haudricourt talked with a few players after the game, including the Brewers reliever tagged with a loss, Brandon Kintzler.
Kintzler was also credited with a blown save for the second consecutive night. Interestingly, while talking to Haudricourt, Kintzler commented that he didn’t think he had given up “a homer to a rightie on a fastball” since 2010 and has now done so on consecutive nights. This extreme irregularity made some wonder if Kintzler is actually feeling healthy since returning from the DL (h/t @JaymesL and @Haudricourt).
Other game notes:
Help may be on the way for the Brewers, as reliever Tom Gorzelanny is nearing a minor-eague rehabilitation assignment (h/t Adam McCalvy).
- Although not all the runs were earned, the Brewers scored five runs in a single inning for the first time this season. Their previous high for an inning this season was only four runs, which they had accomplished three times (h/t @MikeVassallo13).
- ·The Brewers really had struggled against Josh Collmenter in the past, getting only four runs off him in 29 previous innings (h/t @Haudricourt).
- It was Milwaukee's first loss of the season when scoring four runs or more. The Brewers are now 18-1 in such games.
- Marco Estrada appeared to pick off Gerardo Parra at first base in the first inning before a Kirk Gibson challenge overturned the call. After getting back to first base, Parra immediately scored on a Paul Goldschmidt home run.
- Jean Segura made two unbelievable plays at shortstop in a matter of minutes in the sixth inning, robbing Goldschmidt and Martin Prado of hits.
- After the game, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke announced that Will Smith was not available out of the bullpen (h/t @AndrewGruman)
With an even split in the first two games at Miller Park, the Brewers will look to take the series today, as Wily Peralta will face soft-tossing Bronson Arroyo at 12:10 p.m. In his game preview, Adam McCalvy wondered if the free-swinging Brewers may swing themselves into trouble against the crafty veteran Arroyo.
Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci took a look at the Brewers’ swing-happy ways and how those swings have improbably propelled the Brewers to the league’s hottest start. The Brewers continue to perplex national writers, as they have ignored many of baseball’s recent trends. Verducci spent some time with general manager Doug Melvin to learn why the Brewers seem to avoid going deep into counts and instead attack early and often.
While Verducci marveled at the Brewers unorthodox approach at the plate, Rob Neyer at Fox Sports took a closer look at the run differential of teams around the league with an especially wary eye towards Milwaukee. In the second half of his piece, Neyer mentions that even though the Reds sit a game under .500, they actually have a better run differential (plus-17) than the Brewers (plus-16) right now. He then mentions something that most Brewers fans already know: Things may change for the Brewers if their incredible performance thus far in games decided by one or two runs (12-4 record) declines.
In his weekly chat, Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan responded to two questions directly related to the Brewers. When asked about how large of a part an effective bullpen can play into a team outperforming its preseason projections, Sullivan responded that bullpens can be hard to predict, but play only a fairly small role in a team outplaying their projection. A second question asked how optimistic Reds fans should be after taking three of four from the Brewers.
While Reds fans figure out how optimistic they can be about their team, Brewers fans will continue to question how optimistic and confident they should be in their breakout star Carlos Gomez. Curt Hogg at Disciples of Uecker examined Gomez’s aggressive plate approach. Hogg argues that fans shouldn't expect Gomez to turn into a more patient hitter, but rather hope Gomez is able to use “controlled aggression” and find the right times to unleash his aggression at the plate.
Before the season, Brewers fans worried at length about the team’s potential first basemen, so Brew Crew Ball’s Derek Harvey took a look at how they’ve done thus far. To this point, he found that the platoon of Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay has been overwhelmingly successful. The combination has provided something close to top-10 production at the position, with Reynolds’ above-average defense being a real surprise.
Another surprise this season has been the Brewers tactics on the basepaths. Under Roenicke, the Brewers have been aggressive there, and he's typically been criticized for it. But Ben Tannenbaum at The Brewers Bar realized that the Brewers have become a bit more restrained as baserunners lately. Tannenbaum suggested that it might be because of low success rates from a few Brewers in the first month of the season.
In the Minors:
- The affiliates went 1-3 on Tuesday, with the lone bright spot coming from the Huntville Stars' 5-0 victory over the Jackson Generals. Individual standouts included: Elian Herrera with a two-hit day with Nashville and Josh Prince with a two-hit, two-RBI performance in Huntsville. You can read more about it in today’s edition of Minor League Notes at Brew Crew Ball.
- The Huntsville Stars pitching staff threw a third consecutive shutout on Tuesday, bringing their scoreless inning streak to 30 innings.
- Nashville broadcaster Jeff Hem sat down with Sounds catcher Matt Pagnozzi.
- Over at Fangraphs, Carson Cistiulli teamed with Steamer to project the major-league equivalent of this season’s minor league data in order to find the best hitters in the minors. The Brewers had two players show up on leaderboards - 32-year-old Triple-A outfielder Eugenio Velez and 25-year-old Double-A catcher Shawn Zarraga.
Back in Milwaukee, the Diamondbacks' Brandon McCarthy got to play with Hank and absolutely loved it. Caitlin Moyer had the chance to talk with him, and he might have delivered the quote of the day: “There should be more dogs on the road, more dogs in public to play with, so having one on a baseball field combines some of my favorite things,” McCarthy said.
Moyer’s compatriot John Steinmiller also had a busy day, as he rappelled down the side of the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee as a part of the Brewers’ Shatterproof Day. The charity allows people to rappel down the side of buildings as a part of a Shatterproof challenge, with fundraising going to help conquer addiction.
Around the NL Central:
- In arguably the most exciting finish of the night, the Pirates made history by winning a game on a walkoff challenge by Clint Hurdle. Starling Marte was originally called out at home plate, but the replay showed Giants catcher Buster Posey was unable to apply the tag in time.
- The Reds fell to the Red Sox 4-3 in the 12th inning on a more traditional walkoff RBI-single from Grady Sizemore.
- The Cardinals also fell against the Braves, as Chris Johnson singled to right to score Justin Upton from second in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Braves a 2-1 victory.
- In the Windy City, the Cubs fell to their crosstown rival White Sox by the score of 5-1.
- Only the Pirates picked up a game on the Brewers yesterday with their walkoff win. The Brewers remain in control of the division, with the Cardinals still the closest team just five games behind.
Finally, with help from the Baseball Reference Play Index, we’d like to wish a happy birthday to Steve Whitaker. Whitaker turns 71 today and actually played in the Brewers franchise’s first game as a Seattle Pilot. Kyle covered his birthday in Today In Brewers History last year. We’d also like to wish a happy birthday to 2003 Brewer Mark Smith, who turns 44.
Today is the third anniversary of Yovani Gallardo’s eighth-inning no-hit bid against the Cardinals. This is a game I watched from the left-center field bleachers and Kyle covered for Today in Brewers History two years ago. It is also the sixth anniversary of Carlos Gomez’s cycle with the Minnesota Twins.
Now if you excuse me, I need to work on my vocabulary.
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