Brewers hitting woes resume against Hernandez, Phillies
JUL 10, 2014 12:07a ET
MILWAUKEE -- In the matter of a week and a half, the Milwaukee Brewers have went from feeling great about their first half of the season to trying to make it to the All-Star break without their current skid from getting out of hand.
The Brewers have now lost eight of their last nine games and are watching their early cushion in the National League disappear quickly. Despite still holding the best record in the National League, Milwaukee leads the National League Central by just two games over St. Louis.
"It's been tough," Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse said. "You're going to go through times like these. It just seems like a lot of breaks are going the other way, and that's how it goes. We've just got to battle our way through it and try to head into the break on a little better note."
After a one-day offensive outburst Tuesday, the Brewers had their recent hitting woes return against Hernandez. All three of Milwaukee's hits Wednesday were singles, two of them coming from first baseman Lyle Overbay.
The Brewers have scored 15 runs in this stretch of eight losses in nine games, but seven of those runs came in Tuesday's 9-7 loss to the Phillies.
"Don't panic," Overbay said when asked what the key to breaking out of a rut is. "Every good team does this so it's just a matter of making sure we're getting good at-bats. I mean they got some balls to fall, we haven't had that."
"It's a matter of being able to create that when we're not able to swing the bat as much as possible, getting good at-bats, taking a walk, putting the ball in play, working the count a little bit and getting a good pitch. It just seems like when we kind of go in that funk we kind of get a little too aggressive and swing at their pitch."
Not pressing during a slump or a losing streak is easier said than done, as players seem to try to get the team going all by themselves. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he does sense his team is pressing a bit at the plate, as consistent at-bats are not flowing through the lineup.
"We're just in a funk right now," Roenicke said. "I don't know how to put it any other way than just the mistakes we miss, they are not missing. We need to get big hits like they're getting big hits."
The Phillies, who entered this four-game series with the Brewers struggling themselves, were able to get a few big hits off Lohse. Chase Utley put Philadelphia on the board with a solo home run in the first inning, but the big blow came when Jimmy Rollins broke a 1-all tie with a two-run homer in the sixth.
It was Rollins' first home run since June 7 and his first hit in 21 at-bats. Philadelphia added another run in the seventh when catcher Cameron Rupp threw his hands at a pitch out of the zone and blooped an RBI single with two outs.
Lohse allowed four runs over eight innings but seemed to pitch much better than his final line indicated.
"It felt really good coming out," Lohse said. "They capitalized on a couple mistakes. I missed out over the plate a little bit to Utley and a curveball came back a little too much to Rollins. Can't do much about that last run; I was trying to pitch around him and he just got a ball that was down and off the plate. I made a couple good pitches that resulted in hits. Other than that, I wouldn't change a whole lot."
After beating Colorado on June 28 to go to 51-32, the Brewers have lost 4 1/2 games on their division lead. Cincinnati has gained seven games on Milwaukee during that stretch, while Pittsburgh has gained 4 1/2 games.
The Brewers still have four games left before taking four days off for the All-Star break and certainly can erase this nine-game stretch by playing well in Thursday's series finale with the Phillies and this weekend against the Cardinals.
"We've got a long season, we're going to ride it," Overbay said. "I think we've got good enough hitters, a good enough team to come out of it. It's just a matter of making sure we're not panicking and not trying to do too much because that's when it starts to snowball and make things worse."
Lohse was with the Cardinals in 2011 when they lost eight of nine in June. St. Louis rebounded, made the playoffs as a wild card and ended up winning the World Series.
"Turn the page," Lohse said. "We've been doing that all year. You don't want to go through a long period like this; it's going to happen and every team's going to do it. You just try to weather the storm and try to stay positive.
"A lot of guys are a little tired, beat up. That doesn't help. Hopefully we get through these next couple games, get rested up and get going."
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