||MILWAUKEE ¡ª Despite bolstering their lineup by adding Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich over the winter [url=http://www.seahawksfootballauthentics.com/ed-dickson-jersey-authentic]Youth Ed Dickson Jersey[/url] , runs have been hard to come by for the Milwaukee Brewers this season.
Except against the Philadelphia Phillies, that is.
Through the first four meetings between the two teams this season, Milwaukee has scored 40 runs and surpassed the 10-run mark in three of those contests, winning all three including a 13-2 decision Friday night.
The Brewers¡¯ only loss to Philadelphia this season came last Sunday when right-hander Zach Eflin (3-2, 3.63) held them to a pair of runs over six innings as the Phillies avoided a sweep with a 4-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
¡°I go out every outing with the intent for it to be my best, but especially when you have a team that beats us twice in a row, you really kind of bear down,¡± Eflin said afterward. ¡°I wouldn¡¯t say try harder, but you want to make sure you limit your mistakes and put a stop to what¡¯s happening.¡±
He¡¯ll get another shot at holding Milwaukee¡¯s offense in check Saturday afternoon when the Brewers (42-27) and Phillies (35-32) resume their three-game weekend series at Miller Park.
Eflin¡¯s performance against Milwaukee helped solidify what had been a somewhat tenuous hold on rotation slot. The 24-year-old got off to a good start, posting a 1.56 ERA through his first three outings then scuffled in a pair of five-run efforts against the Blue Jays and Dodgers.
He stabilized himself by holding the Cubs to a run over 7 2/3 innings on June 5 and followed that with his strong showing against the Brewers, striking out nine.
¡°I think the biggest change is him being responsible for taking that step forward, him deciding how he¡¯s going to get swings and misses,¡± Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. ¡°It¡¯s explosive fastballs up to left-handed batters and using his four-seam (fastball) instead of the two-seamer [url=http://www.seahawksfootballauthentics.com/barkevious-mingo-jersey-authentic]Youth Barkevious Mingo Jersey[/url] , sometimes, to left-handers has made a huge difference.¡±
Right-hander Junior Guerra (3-4, 2.71) takes the mound for Milwaukee, looking for his first victory since May 14. Guerra has pitched beautifully during that stretch, though, posting a 2.22 ERA with 23 strikeouts and only five walks in 28 1/3 innings of work.
He is looking much more like the pitcher who had a breakout campaign two years ago as a 31-year-old rookie, than he does the Guerra of last season, who was hindered by injuries, inconsistency and command issues.
¡°I¡¯ve been working a lot with (pitching coach Derek Johnson),¡± Guerra said after holding the Cubs to a run over six innings in his last start. ¡°We¡¯ve been working a lot on rhythm, throwing strikes. That¡¯s one of the biggest factors for me in doing this well.
¡°I just feel like I¡¯m healthy, and that¡¯s the most important thing. When I¡¯m healthy, I feel like I can contribute to this team. That¡¯s the most important thing compared to last year.¡±
Wednesday was already going to be a bullpen day for the Tampa Bay Rays [url=http://www.seahawksfootballauthentics.com/d.j.-fluker-jersey-authentic]Youth D.J. Fluker Jersey[/url] , and Tuesday¡¯s 16-inning, 9-6 victory over the Miami Marlins only adds to that, with one or two Rays relievers expected to be added to help provide fresh arms.
The five-hour, 31-minute marathon further taxed the bullpen for Tampa Bay (43-42), with Matt Andriese expected to start Wednesday in Miami after the teams played extra-inning games in the first two contests of the three-game series.
The Rays, continuing their strategy of using relievers as starters, scrapped a scheduled start by Ryne Stanek for the second day in a row, opting to use him in extra innings Monday and Tuesday instead of opening the following day.
Stanek was originally scheduled to start Tuesday, but came in for the 10th inning Monday night. He walked the first batter and then gave up two hits, taking the loss without recording an out to briefly give himself an infinite ERA for his career against the Marlins.
He was then slated to start Wednesday, but came in and pitched the 12th inning Tuesday night, striking out the side to push the game to the 13th inning. He added another scoreless frame, but that took him out of his scheduled role Wednesday [url=http://www.seahawksfootballauthentics.com/dontae-johnson-jersey-authentic]Youth Dontae Johnson Jersey[/url] , putting more work on an overused bullpen. Nine pitchers were used in Tuesday¡¯s win, requiring at least one roster move just to supply enough live arms to get through Wednesday¡¯s series finale.
Miami used eight pitchers Tuesday, so the Marlins may need to add a reliever for short-term relief as well, under much the same circumstances.
Andriese (1-3, 3.86 ERA) will start two days after he pitched two innings Monday against the Marlins, limiting them to one hit and no runs. That outing came after two straight appearances where he gave up three runs each, raising his season ERA from 3.27 to 4.02.
Andriese will make his fourth start of the season Wednesday, and has handled the Marlins well in his career, with a 1-0 record and 1.69 ERA career appearances against them, including a seven-inning scoreless gem last season.
Miami will start Jose Urena (2-9, 4.40), who is slowly bouncing back from a rough first two months of the season. Urena did not get any wins in his first 12 starts, but is 2-2 since and is just now returning from a stint on the disabled list with right shoulder impingement.
Urena had his best outing of the season two starts ago [url=http://www.redskinsfootballauthentics.com/jonathan-allen-jersey-authentic]Youth Jonathan Allen Jersey[/url] , going eight scoreless innings and holding Baltimore to three hits while getting the win June 15. He wasn¡¯t as fortunate five days later, lasting 5 2/3 innings and giving up five runs and eight hits in a loss to the Giants.
Urena has never started against the Rays, but carries a 1.59 career ERA in six relief appearances, including five scoreless innings in 2015-16, against Tampa Bay. He pitched well last season, winning 14 games and finishing with a 3.82 ERA.
After this series, the Rays move on to New York for a three-game series with the Mets, while the Marlins go to Washington for a four-game series against the Nationals.