Game One-Hundred Eight Recap: Brewers 4, Padres 1


After the Brewers managed just one run in the first three frames — despite six baserunners — Shane Peterson led off in the bottom of the fourth. The Brewers had just taken the lead in the previous inning, but a Yonder Alonso sacrifice fly brought in the tying run in the top of the fourth. Peterson, though, responded with a leadoff triple (+.121 WPA), placing the potential go-ahead run on third base with no one out. Jean Segura would follow with a harmless ground-ball out with the infield in, but Elian Herrera managed to sneak a sinking liner between third baseman Yangervis Solarte and shortstop Alexi Amarista for the RBI.


Through the first two innings of the game, the Brewers stranded three baserunners, so it was disappointing that the game remained scoreless. But the top of the lineup did its best to change that when it came to the plate in the third.

Scooter Gennett led off with a sharp line-drive double to left, and Jonathan Lucroy followed with a ground ball to first base to advance Gennett (productive out!) to third. Ryan Braun would walk on four pitches for the second-consecutive plate appearance. Then, with Adam Lind at the plate, Braun stole second to put runners on second and third with just one out.

Lind, however, hit a ground ball to the right of third baseman Solarte (-.089 WPA), which took him towards the bag, and Gennett was too far off the base to be able to get back safely. Gennett actually did an excellent job remaining in the rundown long enough for Braun to reach third and Lind to reach second, but the fact that the Brewers couldn’t score with a man on third and less than two out was obviously suboptimal.

The fact that this was the game’s “bottom play” is a bit unfair, though. First, it wasn’t even that negative a play. Lind did not begin the at bat with men on second and third — Braun only got to second halfway through the plate appearance — and WPA does not take count into effect. Second, this play wasn’t terribly harmful to the Brewers’ chances of winning, as 8.9 percent is a relatively small margin. For context, in Milwaukee’s last extra-inning game (July 2 at Philadelphia), fifteen different plays were worth at least 8.9 points of WPA. Tonight, only two were that costly. This speaks to the straightforward nature of the night’s game. A team took an early lead and was never seriously threatened.


San Diego did look like they might climb back into the game in the top of the eighth against Jeremy Jeffress. Alexi Amarista led off with a double, and Yangervis Solarte followed with a single that was hit so hard that Amarista couldn’t attempt to score. This brought Matt Kemp to the plate representing the potential tying run, and Jeffress had not been fooling anyone in the outing. That held true for Kemp, as well, but the Padres’ right fielder hit a liner directly at Scooter Gennett. No run scored.

Craig Counsell had clearly seen enough from Jeffress, bringing in Will Smith to retire Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko. The Brewers managed to escape unscathed. The Kemp at-bat, though, was the game’s key moment. He was facing a pitcher who lacked his best stuff, he was the beginning of the heart of an admittedly undermanned Padres lineup, and he even hit the ball on the screws. It just happened to be aimed at Gennett.


Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson continued a fine run of form, allowing just a single run over 6.2 innings. His line paints the picture of a ground-ball artist — four strikeouts, one walk, and just three hits — but his actual game was actually quite a bit more confusing.

Nelson faced just 25 batters, and he threw 113 pitches. He had just a 5.3 percent whiff rate (per Brooks Baseball’s tentative coding), and as one can tell from the number of batters he faced, he spent a lot of those pitches on foul balls. He was unable to either put batters away or get them to induce soft contact, which does not bode well for the future.

For the season, though, Nelson has a slightly above-average strikeout rate; he ranks 53rd of 136 pitchers with at least 70 innings pitched (an arbitrary limitation). He also ranks 36th in ground-ball rate and 31st in contact rate (among pitchers with at least 1000 pitches, which is roughly the same sample of pitchers). None of those numbers are overwhelmingly dominant, but taken together they make a solid pitcher. Nelson has proven that he can strike out a competent number of batters, but he also generates ground balls and swings-and-misses at an above-average rate. The young right-hander’s ERA has finally come down from its mid-4 high point in June, and his season-long peripherals also point to Nelson being a good pitcher.


The Padres and Brewers have split the first two games of the series, and they continue Wednesday night. Taylor Jungmann and Ian Kennedy will face off in the third game of this four-game series. The Padres may have a stronger lineup tomorrow, though. Justin Upton remained out on Tuesday with a thumb injury, but he was apparently close to playing — the Fox Sports Wisconsin crew mentioned that the Padres released their lineup abnormally late — so he may be able to return on Wednesday.

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