Tyler Cravy took the hill for the Brewers tonight and struggled mightily from the get-go. Despite getting the first two outs in four batters faced, Cravy had trouble keeping men off the basepaths in the first inning. Unfortunately, by the time Cravy got through his fifth batter of the inning (yikes!), the bases were loaded for former Brewers prospect Cole Gillespie. The matchup favored Cravy as Gillespie’s slash line against right-handed pitching had been .274/.322/.405. But of course, #YouCantPredictBaseball, and the 31-year old lined a triple into right field, sending home Ichiro, Prado, and Dietrich. With the tone set and the damage done, Cravy got the next batter out to end the top of the first.
If you had stopped watching before the start of the fourth inning, no one could have blamed you. By the time the Brewers put a run on the board, Cravy had given up four additional runs through the next two innings. Ryan Braun kicked off the bottom of the fourth with a single to right, though he would be the first out on a fielder’s choice. However, a subsequent series of hits from Davis, Rogers, Perez, Herrera, and Segura helped the Brewers chip away at the Marlins’ lead. By the end of the inning, Milwaukee produced four runs, making the score 7-4.
Sadly, the turning point for the game came in the following inning, the fifth. David Goforth had entered the game to relieve the struggling Tyler Cravy. The Brewers recalled Goforth from Triple-A on Friday and he was making his first major-league appearance since July 26th. The right-hander inherited a bases-loaded mess in the top of the third but managed to squash the threat. He navigated a scoreless fourth inning, as well. Though the top of the fifth started off incredibly well — getting Tomas Telis to groundout and striking out Jeff Mathis — the wheels fell off once Dee Gordon got on base and promptly stole second. Ichiro singled, which sent Gordon to third and thereby left second base open for the still speedy Suzuki, who stole second off Goforth. With two speedsters in scoring position, it only took a line drive single from Prado to put the Marlins ahead 9-4.
TWO THINGS TO WATCH
What doomed Goforth was an errant 95-mph fastball that sat too high in the zone. Prado’s single was the death knell on an otherwise solid two innings pitched by the rookie reliever. Keeping Gordon and Ichiro in check is difficult for any reliever, even more so for a rookie such as Goforth. Currently, Goforth is posting a 2.66 percent TRAA (Takeoff Rate Above Average) and 4.76 DRA, indicating that he is allowing baserunners to take off quite often while he is pitching and allowing them to score as a result. Granted these numbers are being looked at after only 6.1 innings pitched, but it will be interesting to see if the 26-year old rookie is able to keep baserunners in check as he progresses in the majors. It’s often a skill that young pitchers struggle to learn.
For your immediate attention, tomorrow’s game will feature Wily Peralta facing off against Tom Koehler. Peralta is a victim of the same problem that plagues Goforth, emboldening baserunners to steal. Peralta’s TRAA on the season is 5.04 percent and he will be facing a team that ranks first in the league in Baserunning Runs (BRR). If the Brewers hope to avoid a sweep, they must put the game away early to give Peralta some breathing room instead of trying to rally in the ninth, as they attempted to tonight.