Game Recap: The Brewers lost 2-1 as the offense couldn’t string together hits to support Jimmy Nelson’s excellent start to the season.
Top Play (WPA):
Brandon Crawford HR, Top of the 3rd Inning Ties the Game at 1 (.113)
The highest play by WPA defaults to the homerun by Crawford to tie the game in the 3rd inning. After the Brewers and Giants combined for 15 runs on Opening Day, only three scored yesterday, and those other two runs scored on a double play and a fielder’s choice. Nelson had a strong performance, but he hung a changeup to Crawford, who destroyed the pitch. As a note, the winning run of the game, which came on a Fielder’s Choice by Matt Duffy, was lower than this homerun because it came with the bases loaded.
Worst Play (WPA):
This was not the best day for the Brewers offensively. After the 4th inning, they only got two hits (and no walks), and looked overmatched at times against Johnny Cueto. The worst play of the game according to WPA was Ryan Braun’s fly out to lead off the 9th inning against Santiago Casilla. WPA measured that out at -.089. However, I’d say that Ramon Flores’ double play in the 2nd was more damaging.
The offensive struggles came after two promising innings where the Brewers only scored one run. After Jonathan Lucroy and Chris Carter singled to start the 2nd inning, Ramon Flores grounded into a double play. The run scored, but the play was worth -.058, as it ruined the potential for a big inning. Flores battled in the at-bat, running a full count, but he hit a grounder straight to Crawford, positioned up the middle, for the easy double play. Even though the run scored and gave the Brewers the lead, it was still a negative value play (-.058).
In their next crack at Cueto, the inning once again started on a promising note. Jonathan Villar doubled to lead off and Nelson executed a sacrifice bunt to get him to third base. Unfortunately, Domingo Santana swung at the first pitch and hit a sharp grounder to Crawford, who nailed Villar at the plate, with a nice tag by Buster Posey. Santana would make it to 3rd base on Scooter Gennett’s single, but he was the last Brewers runner to make it that far for the rest of the game. Cueto then retired nine batters in a row, and the Brewers didn’t really threaten to score for the rest of the game.
Trend to Watch:
To steal Julien’s line from yesterday: “It’s the [second] game of the season, therefore, there aren’t many trends to note.” However, Nelson’s strong performance deserves extra kudos. Nelson took a big step forward last year, making 30 starts with a 3.89 DRA and 2.4 WARP. While the Brewers aren’t expecting to contend this year, someone has to soak up some innings at an adequate level. Therefore, the results last night were encouraging. Nelson went into the 8th inning against a quality lineup and held his own. Aside from Crawford’s bomb, Nelson looked good. Sure, the defensive miscue on Pence’s grounder in the 4th led to the winning run scoring, but I think if everyone knew Nelson’s final line going into the game, most would have been happy and even expected a Brewers win.
An afternoon matinee to close out the series against San Francisco. Taylor Jungmann makes his 2016 debut and will face Jeff Samardzijia in his first game in a Giants uniform. We all know this is going to be a long season if you’re paying attention to the results, but it would be nice to get a win in the first series of the season.