Game 34 Recap: Marlins 3 Brewers 2

On a night that was dominated by Max Scherzer’s 20-strikeout performance, the Brewers and Marlins played a relatively uneventful game that ended in a 3-2 win for Miami.

Top Play (WPA):
Chase Anderson has had a rough year so far; his 6.39 FIP is really bad, and it ranks ninth-worst among all pitchers with at least fifteen innings. But he had a pretty good start on Wednesday, and he had thrown four clean innings as the game headed scoreless into the fifth inning.

Anderson’s luck would fade in the fifth, though. A leadoff walk to Giancarlo Stanton set the table for Justin Bour’s tiebreaking home run (+.211). The next man up, Marcell Ozuna, hit a ground rule double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly as the third—and ultimately game-deciding—run.

Bottom Play (WPA):
The Brewers managed to claw within a run after a two-run seventh inning, and Jonathan Lucroy’s leadoff single in the eighth put them in a good position to tie the game. Chris Carter then struck out, bringing Aaron Hill—one of the team’s hottest hitters over the past week—to the plate against David Phelps.

Hill put an excellent swing on a Phelps cutter, but he hit it straight at first baseman Miguel Rojas, who stepped on first for an inning-ending double play that killed a rally (-.124).

Key Moment:
Marlins’ closer AJ Ramos has had an excellent season, but he doesn’t have a long enough track record to be considered one of the game’s elite. Trying to mount a comeback against a pitcher like Ramos is difficult but not impossible. A key first step is getting the leadoff man on base. Pinch hitter Kirk Nieuwenhuis gave it a shot but took a called third strike on a pitch that was off the plate.

Bad strike calls happen frequently, and this was not hugely egregious in any special way. However, bad calls in this type of situation hurt, especially for a young club trying to rally. Good pitching performances have been few and far between for the Brewers, so it stings to waste Anderson’s solid outing.

Trend to Watch:
Ryan Braun had three hits again on Wednesday, and he has continued his absolutely torrid pace. He has a .400/.455/.667 line over his last seven games and a .407/.462/.627 line over his last fifteen. It has been an incredible display of hitting, and his .353 TAv is in the top fifteen of all hitters with at least 100 plate appearances.

If he continues to hit like this, Braun may actually boost his value enough to make himself attractive in the trade market should the Brewers wish to move him. His contract may be too large to make him truly marketable, but he is at least demonstrating that he has enough in the tank to remain a productive a big league player.

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