Arroyo keeps Brewers off balance
MAY 07, 2014 6:18p ET
MILWAUKEE -- Down a few key bats and struggling at the plate, the last thing the Milwaukee Brewers needed to see was a pitcher they've never had much success against.
Bronson Arroyo is a bad matchup for the free-swinging Brewers, as the veteran right-hander tosses offspeed pitches off the plate and hopes opposing hitters chase. Milwaukee did just that Wednesday afternoon, continuing to scuffle offensively in a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park.
In dropping two of three to a team near the bottom of the National League, the Brewers have dropped consecutive series for the first time this season. Milwaukee scored just one earned run in the final 17 innings of the series despite facing a Diamondbacks team that came in to the three-game set with the worst ERA in baseball.
"I want to score some more runs," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think with our offense . . . I know the lineup's not the same, but we still have enough guys in there that I think we should be scoring some runs. We'll get it going, we'll figure it out.
"Gomey's still doing a nice job of getting on base, and if he continues to do that we should be able to drive him in and drive some other guys in. But we're off. Arroyo was good, but we're off."
After carving up the Brewers over eight seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, Arroyo did the same in his first start against them as a member of the Diamondbacks. He carried an ERA of 9.50 after his first four starts this season and came in Wednesday with a 6.03 ERA.
Arroyo has now beaten the Brewers more than any other team in baseball, carrying a 16-10 career record with a 3.54 ERA against Milwaukee. He's now 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last four starts against the Brewers.
"The more swingers you have in your lineup, you're going to have trouble with him," Roenicke said. "Unless guys are able to sit offspeed and really work it that way. But that's hard. That takes a lot of experience to do that and figure that part out."
Roenicke agreed that it is a bit maddening watching his team struggle against a guy who is barely throwing 85 mph.
"It is, because sitting there we know what he's going to throw," Roenicke said. "When you're expecting a fastball, you're not getting it. But it's hard as a hitter to go up there and think that way. You get yourself ahead in the count and you think you're going to get a fastball and it's hard sometimes to sit offspeed."
The Brewers scored an unearned run in the first inning and didn't score again until a sacrifice fly by Lyle Overbay in the bottom of the ninth. When Milwaukee had its chances Wednesday, a double play usually followed.
After Carlos Gomez scored in the first, four of the Brewers' next five baserunners were erased either on a double play or thrown out trying to steal. The biggest double play came in the eighth inning. Down 3-1, Gomez stepped to the plate against Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler with a chance to erase the offensive struggles with one swing.
Gomez hit the ball hard but right at shortstop Cliff Pennington for an easy double play, the 11th twin killing Ziegler has induced with the bases loaded in his career.
"Gomey crushed that ball up the middle," Overbay said. "That's what you want to do is hit it up the middle with the bases loaded, but it was right at somebody."
With the way Arizona hit starter Wily Peralta, the Brewers were lucky to even be in the game late. Peralta tied a career high with 11 hits allowed, but a two-run home run by Paul Goldschmidt in the third inning were the only runs against him over six innings.
Peralta was trying to go down and in with a two-seam fastball and left the pitch out over the plate for Goldschmidt to hammer.
"He's a great hitter," Peralta said of Goldschmidt. "That was pretty much the same pitch that he got a hit on in his first AB. Then he hit a homer. Against a hitter like that you can't make mistakes like that."
Despite going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranding 13 men on base, the Diamondbacks were victorious because of Milwaukee's inability to solve Arroyo.
The Brewers have now scored three earned runs or fewer in seven of their last eight games and have lost six of those contests. Although May has gotten off to a rough start after such a great first month to the season, Overbay isn't concerned.
"We're doing a lot of good things still," Overbay said. "Obviously we aren't scoring a lot of runs, but we're doing pretty good. We just have to get some breaks our way. We're getting great pitching, so it is not that. It's just more of the timely hitting. For the most part I think we've had a lot of good ABs in those situations, we just haven't had a lot of them."
Replay confusion: For the first time this season, Roenicke was told he was unable to challenge a play because he didn't come out of the dugout in a timely fashion.
With two outs in the sixth, Diamondbacks right fielder Gerardo Parra hit a sinking liner to right that Caleb Gindl dove for. Second-base umpire Adrian Johnson ruled the ball had bounced, while replays show Gindl caught the ball.
Roenicke was delayed in going out to challenge the play mostly because Gindl signaled to the dugout that the ball had bounced when it actually hadn't. By the time the skipper came out, crew chief Larry Vanover didn't allow the challenge.
Replay rules say a play can no longer be reviewed if the pitcher steps back on the rubber or the next batter is already in the batters' box.
"That's why I didn't go out there," Roenicke said of Gindl motioning the ball hit the ground. "If they give me an 'I don't know.' I'll go out there. But he thought the ball bounced and he pointed to the ground that it bounced. I figured he would know and so I didn't go out."
The play had no real impact on the game, as Peralta got Martin Prado to pop out to second base on his very next pitch.
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