The Milwaukee Brewers skipped Chase Anderson and went with a ‘bullpen day’ on Monday. Did the strategy pay off?
Most were surprised when Dan Jennings was announced as the starter, but the strategy became clear after he was lifted after just one batter. Milwaukee Brewers Craig Counsell must have had a hunch that the St. Louis Cardinals would use lefty Matt Carpenter in the leadoff spot. Jennings got Carpenter out, and then handed the ball to Freddy Peralta.
Was this really a ‘bullpen game’?
It was in that the Milwaukee Brewers rolled a lot of relievers out against the St. Louis Cardinals, but Peralta worked 3 2/3 innings. That’s not exactly a start, but it’s a lot of innings for a guy with one appearance under his belt since August 29th. If Peralta had faced Carpenter and gotten him out, he would have worked four innings. That’s not enough to qualify him for a win. However, it’s more innings than pitchers normally work in ‘bullpen games’.
All-in-all the Brewers used nine pitchers for nine innings on Monday night. Peralta worked the most innings, and only three pitchers faced a single batter.
What happened to Josh Hader?
Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader was the only pitcher used who really struggled. The St. Louis Cardinals tagged Hader for three runs on three hits and two walks. He did managed to strikeout two batters, but only one of the three hits stayed in the ballpark. Hader needed 27 pitches to get through an inning, and only recorded 15 strikes.
Who worked the ninth inning?
Corey Knebel picked up his first save since mid-August. Knebel faced four batters, recorded three strikeouts, and hit one batter. Jeremy Jeffress wasn’t in the bullpen for the entire game, and didn’t warm up in the ninth. It’s unclear as of writing this what his ailment is.
The bullpen day strategy worked. The Milwaukee Brewers used match ups to their advantage, kept the St. Louis Cardinals off-balance, and recorded 27 outs. It’s an odd decision, but it actually makes a lot of sense. The Brewers will likely employ the same tactics in a potential Wild Card or one-game playoff. They were able to use this game as a test, picked up a game on the Chicago Cubs, and have a Magic Number of ‘3’ for the Wild Card. The game was ugly at times, but this really couldn’t have gone better if the Brewers scripted it.