The Milwaukee Brewers suffered yet another defeat last night 16-10, this time with the pitching letting the team down while the offense finally managed to wake up and score some runs. Several Brewers’ pitchers performed pitifully last night, with four Reds players taking Brewers’ pitching deep a total of five time, including grand slams by Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier in consecutive innings off of Mike Fiers. With Brewers’ relievers tied for sixth in the NL with already 44.0 innings pitched, the Brewers made a move this morning to bring up a fresh arm.
Tyler Thornburg was among the Brewers’ pitchers that got hit hard yesterday, giving up five runs (four earned) in just two innings of work. He gave up home runs to Zack Cosart and Joey Votto, walked a batter and gave up two other hits. Tyler had a similarly difficult start to his year; he has given up 13 runs in his 9.2 innings pitched so far in 2015, though just six of those have been earned for a 5.59 ERA. Tyler’s 6.69 FIP isn’t doing him any favors, either, as he has struggled giving up home runs (2.8 HR/9) as well as baserunners in general (1.966 WHIP). Though Thornburg was no doubt hurt by a .361 BABIP and just a 44.3% strand rate, his 25.6% line drive rate against shows he has been giving up plenty of hard contact. This was Thornburg’s third and final minor league option, meaning he’ll either have to stick with the big league club throughout 2016 or risk being exposed to waivers and possibly claimed by another team.
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Replacing Thornburg in the bullpen is 29 year old righty Rob Wooten, who himself had been struggling so far in Colorado Springs this season. In 6.1 innings pitched so far in 2015, Wooten has already given three home runs, which is more than he gave up in 56 innings between AAA and Milwaukee last season. His 7.11 ERA is redeemed only by the fact the he has produced a 10:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio thus far. Wooten has appeared in the majors for the Brewers each of the last two seasons, posting a 4.35 ERA in 62.0 innings pitched, covering 67 appearances. Wooten has generally been stellar at preventing home runs, with just two given up in his major league career, and he induced ground balls at a tremendous 53.3% last season while in Milwaukee. Though Wooten’s ERA+ of 89 considers his results as below average, he’s been hurt by a .344 batting average on balls in play against. Wooten’s career FIP of 2.87 tells us he could be a stellar reliever if he can start getting some better luck.
With their loss last night, the Brewers have continued their season opening free-fall to a major league worst 2-11. Milwaukee lost despite scoring more runs last night (10) than they had their during the previous week’s worth of games. At -46, the Brewers have the worst run differential in the majors by -19 runs. They will continue their series with the Reds (7-7) tonight, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM CST at Miller Park. Jimmy Nelson (1-1, 1.50 ERA), the Brewers’ best starting pitcher to this point, will look to stop the bleeding and halt Milwaukee’s seven game losing streak. He’ll face off against the Reds’ ace, Johnny Cueto (0-2, 2.14 ERA).