Mike Fiers was pitching in front of family and friends on Labor Day, but one bad inning ruined his day.
By RYAN KARTJEFS Wisconsin
This wasn't exactly the homecoming
Mike Fiers was looking for.
Having grown up less than an hour away from Miami's new stadium in nearby Pompano Beach, Fiers' friends and family were in attendance for his start against the Marlins, and unfortunately, they didn't get to see his best work.
One of the more consistent options all season, Fiers walked three batters in the first two innings, but had held the Marlins scoreless and struck out three batters.
But starting with a throwing error in the third inning — a mistake that manager Ron Roenicke said may have affected Fiers' mindset—the wheels began to fall off. He allowed just one run in the third inning, but once the fourth began, nothing seemed to go right for the Florida native.
After getting Carlos Lee to fly out, Fiers allowed seven Marlins baserunners to reach in a row. First, it was three singles, and then another error from the Brewers pitcher, as he couldn't successfully field a bunt from Miami pitcher Ricky Nolasco. And from there, it only got worse, as Fiers walked the next batter and allowed two more singles. At that point, Roenicke had no choice but to take out Fiers, in favor of Livan Hernandez, as Fiers left his homecoming start having given the Marlins a 6-2 lead.
Fiers would finish the game with six hits and four earned runs to go with four walks and four strikeouts.
Roenicke estimated after the game that the pair of errors in the field did nothing to help Fiers' psyche on the field.
"I don't really know what happened," Fiers said. "I think the ball he threw away at first base bothered him, and I think the ball they bunted back to him that he could've made a play at home bothered him. I think it could've affected the pitches he made after that.
"I think (if) those two plays don't happen, it's still a close game, and I think he's still mentally feeling good. And it could be different."
But the Brewers' right-hander refused to blame his worst outing of the season on the pair of mistakes; instead, he chose to focus on his next start against the Cardinals, which will be of the utmost importance, as the Brewers will fight St. Louis for the final wildcard spot in the NL.
"I get mad at myself for a lot of things, but I put it behind me," Fiers said. "Those were big plays that I needed to make and I didn't make them. It just added to the bad inning. Those things happen, and I feel bad because we're in this race and to come out here today and not get it done, it hurts."