MIL – Zack Greinke: 6 IP, 2 R, 8 H, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 HR (115 pitches, 71 strikes)
HOU – Lucas Harrell: 5 IP, 5 R, 5 H, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR (86 pitches, 53 strikes)
Ryan Braun: 3-4, 2B, HR
Jonathan Lucroy: 2-3, BB
Carlos Lee: 3-5
Jed Lowrie: 2-5, HR
– Zack Greinke didn’t have anything near his best stuff, but was still able to turn in a fine start. Unsurprisingly, his strikeout and walk rates were excellent, but he was knocked around for eight hits without much damage to show for it. A lot of you may remember this pattern from last year, when there was a lot of grousing over the huge disparity between his ERA and FIP. However, one thing apparently has changed from last year: Greinke has done an excellent job of wiggling out of jams.
– Three of the Brewers’ runs tonight can loosely be attributed to the Astros’ outfield defense. In the first and fourth innings, noted non-speedsters Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez hit fly balls/line drives to the outfield that were turned into triples by right fielder Brian Bogusevic. To be fair, Bogusevic is a converted pitcher and probably just had a bad night, but those two plays alone increased the Brewers’ win expectancy by 20 percent.
– Jose Veras really struggled in the seventh inning today, allowing four hits and three runs, turning a 6-2 game into a tight, 6-5 contest. There was a lot of grousing on Twitter over Ron Roenicke’s decision to stick with Veras throughout the inning, especially when he had already allowed three runs and had two more on base with one out.
Personally, I would have liked to see K-Rod enter the game in that situation, even though he has had struggles of his own. Even better, Roenicke could just bring in John Axford, his best reliever, in the most important situation, let him get five outs, and go to K-Rod in the ninth. (I’m perfectly aware that this will never happen.) However, it looks like we’re set for another year of strictly defined roles. That can work, and the players maybe like it better, but it turns into trouble if Veras’ control slips away from him or fatigue sets in and Roenicke can’t fathom having another “seventh-inning” guy.
– The back of the bullpen was it’s usual, dominant self. K-Rod retired the Astros 1-2-3 in the eighth, and John Axford struck out the side after a leadoff single to Carlos Lee.