Game 138: Brewers 12 Cubs 5

Tl;dr: Milwaukee’s first seven batters of the game reached base en route to a five run first inning, and Wily Peralta stifled the Cubs in the Brewers 12-5 win.

Top Play (WPA)
What a night for Jonathan VIllar: He missed the cycle by a double, and was the catalyst for the Brewers huge first inning with his bomb to left center field to tie the game at 1 (.102). Villar’s home run started a barrage where the first seven hitters reached base against Cubs starter Jason Hammel. The first out of the inning was recorded when Martin Maldonaldo hit a sacrifice fly to score the Brewers’ fifth and final run of the inning.

Bottom Play (WPA)
In the loss, Anthony Rizzo had a great night. He continued to terrorize Wily Peralta, hitting two home runs off him, including a two run shot in the eighth inning that ended Peralta’s night. However, Rizzo also was responsible for the bottom play of the game.

After the first inning, Hammel settled down while Peralta had yet to settle in. Peralta allowed a solo home run to Miguel Montero in the second inning to cut Milwaukee’s lead to 5-2. Then after striking out Hammel to start the third inning, Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist reached base via a walk and single. Up came mighty Rizzo, but he popped up to Orlando Arcia at short for the second out of the inning (-.044). Next up was Jorge Soler and his fielder’s choice ended the inning. Peralta didn’t allow another baserunner until the seventh inning.

Jason Hammel Gets Bombed
If you’ve made it this far, you know that Jason Hammel had a terrible night. A quick calculation shows a game score of 17, his third worst score of the season. He allowed thirteen hits, a season high.

Hammel hammered the Brewers with breaking pitches, throwing sliders and curveballs on 56 of his 97 pitches, a huge jump from his past three months where his breaking ball usage rate hovered around 35-45 percent. Those pitches induced sixteen whiffs, not only a season high for breaking balls, but a number that ties his season high for a start. Of course, those numbers mean his 41 fastballs and changeups got hammered. Those pitches stayed in the zone, allowing the Brewers to take strong hacks and continue to reach base. The Brewers only swung and missed at two of those pitches, which meant a lot of contact was made in the strike zone.

Wily Peralta a 2017 Rotation Lock?
Peralta has made it into the seventh inning in consecutive starts for the first time since August 8 and 14, 2015. In his 7.7 innings he only allowed seven baserunners, and all four runs came via home runs. His six strikeouts also tied his season high. After he settled in, Peralta retired eleven straight batters.

Peralta made a tweak to his pitch selection. While he threw his slider 33 percent of the time, keeping with his recent trend, he swapped out many sinkers in favor of his four seam fastball. He used that pitch 29 percent last night, up from sub-18 percent usage in his last two starts. While the three home runs are concerning, it’s good to see that he can change his plan and throw two strong outings in a row against top flight offenses.

Up Next:
The Brewers and Cubs close out their three game series tonight in Miller Park. Matt Garza starts for Milwaukee and looks to build on his last start, which was his strongest of the season. He faced the Cardinals and pitched seven innings, allowing one run and striking out eight. As mentioned here by Nicholas Zettel, Garza is potentially a release candidate this offseason, so his roster spot for 2017 depends on him pitching like he has something to offer in 2017. It also wouldn’t hurt to make him a potential trade chip this offseason. Mike Montgomery makes his sixth start of the season for the Cubs. Montgomery has primarily been a bullpen piece this season, and since he started taking regular rotation turns on August 20th, he’s made three starts and pitched 13.3 innings, allowing eight runs on ten hits and nine walks with eleven strikeouts. First pitch is 7:10.

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