On Sunday, the Brewers laid the beat down on the Marlins, scoring 14 runs. The Brewers were back in action on Monday; while they didn’t score 14 runs, they still put up a quality offensive performance, scoring 8.
Early on, however, it didn’t appear as though this was going to be a high scoring game. In the bottom of the fifth, the game was still tied 1-1. Nelson was having another good start, and Weaver was able to keep the Brewers bats at bay even with his high school level fastball velocity.
The duel, however, changed in the bottom of the fifth. Aaron Hill was able to work a walk, which brought up Yadiel Rivera with no one out and a man on third. With the count at 1-1, Weaver threw Rivera a pitch right down the middle, which Rivera lined to left field. Rafael Ortega tried to make the catch which proved costly, as he missed judged the ball. He didn’t get to the line drive in time and the ball skipped past him. Rivera ended up at third base, Hill scored, and Ortega was charged with an error on the play. If he had just let the ball fall in for a single then there would have been a man on second and first with nobody out, but the game would have still been tied. Instead, this put a man on third with none out and gave the Brewers a 2-1 to boot.
The Brewers ended up scoring two more runs in the inning and taking a 4-1 lead into the sixth.
It might be hard to believe, especially with the final score, but the Brewers were down 1-0 in the fourth inning.
Ryan Braun led off the inning with a single, but then got quickly picked off; that wasn’t the worst play of the game or the inning. Lucroy was the next batter, and he also singled in practically the same location as Braun. Carter then followed up with a single of his own, putting runners on first and second with one man out.
This brought up Kirk Nieuwenhuis. If Braun hadn’t been picked off the bases would either be loaded with nobody out or there would have already been a run on the board. But, alas Braun got picked off, the Brewers were still down 1-0 with still a good chance to score. Nieuwenhuis, however, proceeded to swing at the first pitch he saw from Weaver and ground the ball to the second baseman, who turned it into a double play ending the threat and the inning.
TREND TO WATCH:
The Brewers pitching has been a disaster this year, and that’s being kind. Wily Peralta currently has the worst ERA in all of baseball. But, what’s even more amazing is that the Brewers, as a team, have the worst ERA in the entire league. Yes, even worse than the Colorado Rockies, who play in a place where pitchers go to die.
With that said, Jimmy Nelson has been the lone bright spot in the Brewers rotation. In his six games pitched, Nelson has had three quality starts, and today was no exception. He pitched seven innings and only gave up two runs while striking out six.
Nelson once again has increased his groundball percentage. In 2014, Nelson’s groundball percentage was 48.4. Last year it went up to 50.6 percent, and this year it’s risen again to 52.8 percent. One of the main reasons this change is happening is Nelson’s increase in his sinker usage. Last year, Nelson threw his sinker 35.17 percent of the time. This year, it’s gone up to 51.66 percent. But, Nelson’s current usage rate on his sinker is actually similar to his 2014 usage, so one might ask why he is getting more groundballs. Well, the pitch seems to be more effective this season. While he isn’t getting a lot of swing and misses on the pitch, 65 percentof the balls in play against his sinker are groundballs. That’s currently second in all of baseball, only behind Marcus Stroman. In 2014, only 54 percent of balls off his sinker were grounders. That’s still good but nowhere near this year’s success.
Conversely, Nelson still has statistics which are concerning. For example, he’s walking more hitters than in years past, and his .206 BABIP is pretty low (especially for a groundball pitcher). This doesn’t mean Nelson will soon start to struggle, but rather there might be some slight regression ahead. Nelson is off to a good start, and at this point is having the best year of his career. Yet, there are some signs that he might fall back to his 2015 self. That Nelson is still a quality pitcher, but not the 3.05 ERA version we’ve seen thus far.
Tomorrow, 31-year-old, Junior Guerra will make his season’s debut for the Brewers. The minor league journeyman will replace Taylor Jungmann, who was optioned to AAA Colorado Springs, and only Kyle Lesniewski seems to be excited about this.
Nick Tropeano will get the nod for the Angels. He’s got a 2.11 ERA but hasn’t started a game this season. This could, therefore, be another high scoring game.