The Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros entered 2013 with completely different expectations, but now have very similar records. Houston was completely committed to rebuilding, while the Brewers had postseason hopes.
After Houston’s 10-1 rout over Milwaukee on Tuesday — the first meeting between the two teams since the Astros left the National League Central — the Brewers sit at 28-41, while the Astros are now 27-45.
Milwaukee’s starting pitching has been good over the last week, but Alfredo Figaro struggled Tuesday. The Brewers had chances early to jump out to a lead, but they squandered almost every opportunity.
It all added up to another disheartening loss.
“When we don’t pitch well and we don’t hit with people in scoring position, we are not a very good team,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
With owner Mark Attanasio in attendance, the Brewers played one of their worst games of the season. The pitching gave up 10 runs, while the offense scored just one run on eight hits, and the defense committed three errors.
The Brewers were still in the game, despite squandering scoring opportunities in the third and fifth, until Carlos Pena blasted a three-run home run off Figaro to give the Astros a 5-1 lead.
“He was trying to come in to Pena and he left it out over the plate to him,” Roenicke said. “He pitched him well the time before that and pitched him how he wanted to and got him out.
“Before the home run to Pena, he’s 0-2 to Carter and misses right over the middle. That gave them first and second. Pena, you miss with pitches to him, he’s a good mistake hitter like good hitters should be. We made a lot of mistakes.”
Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny made a mistake that Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez hit for a grand slam in the seventh, busting the game open.
Both scoring chances the Brewers had early came with Aramis Ramirez at the plate. With the game tied at 1-all in the third inning, Ramirez struck out with the bases loaded and one out. In the fifth, Ramirez grounded out to end the inning with Carlos Gomez on second base.
“We have chances and we don’t get people in,” Roenicke said. “That ballgame is a lot different if we drive in the people that we have the opportunities to do.”
Roenicke was asked if Ramirez’s injured knee had anything to do with his slump, but Roenicke said only Ramirez can answer that.
“He’s certainly not where he usually is,” Roenicke said. “We need him right now to swing the bat well with Braunie being out. We are still getting guys on base at the top of that order. We need him to swing it well. (Lucroy) behind him, we need him to swing it well so we can drive in some people.”
Though the Brewers put forth another lackluster effort Tuesday, Roenicke still sees a team giving its all on the field.
“No doubt about it,” Roenicke said. “It’s not from lack of these guys playing hard. It was a good ballgame until Pena hits the homer. Guys are still playing hard.”