Fresh off a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, the mighty Milwaukee Brewers returned home to face the struggling Atlanta Braves, and they quickly dropped the first two games before fighting back on Sunday. What went wrong?
In a word? Pitching. Chase Anderson was mortal on Friday night, and Jimmy Nelson was…Jimmy Nelson on Saturday night. The two starters combined to surrender nine runs on 15 hits and four walks. The starting pitching put the Milwaukee Brewers in a bad spot this weekend, but that’s not all that happened on the mound for the Brewers.
Closer-in-waiting Jacob Barnes watched his perfect 0.00 ERA balloon to 2.13 on Friday night after he allowed three runs in a hurry. Corey Knebel was able to put out the fire that Barnes started, but closer Neftali Feliz struggled in the ninth. Feliz entered the game with the scored tied, 8-8. Braves slugger Freddie Freeman untied the game with a two-run homer.
The good news out of Miller Park this weekend came on Sunday after the Brewers 4-3 win. Matt Garza tossed 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and zero walks. Garza may not be the most popular name on the Brewers, but he has quietly put together a pair of competent starts since his return from the DL.
Corey Knebel earned his seventh hold with a 1 1/3 scoreless innings, and Neftali Feliz closed out the game with a fairly uneventful ninth for the Brewers.
At the plate, the Braves manage to limit the damage inflicted by red-hot Eric Thames. The Brewers first baseman was limited to going 2-for-11 with two walks and a run scored in the three game set. Even Eric Thames appears to be human…for now.
The real story for the Brewers at the plate this weekend was Domingo Santana. Despite blasting a home run on Friday night, the right fielder came into Sunday hitting only .176 with a .664 OPS, but he ended the series with an impressive performance. Santana blasted a pair of homers off of Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, and drove in all four Brewers runs in the 4-3 win on Sunday. He’s now hitting .197 with a .775 OPS. Baby steps.
The Milwaukee Brewers begin May on the road. First, they head to St. Louis for a four-game set with the Cardinals, and follow that with three games over the weekend in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Both the Pirates and Cardinals sit at 11-13, and have question marks just as big as the Brewers do. Will this be a week to bounce back, or will the Brewers start to fade? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.