Brewers manager Ron Roenicke had a touch of relief in his voice when he spoke of Mark Rogers’ outing on Sunday, a 7-0 shutout win. He knew, as well as everyone else knew, that the Brewers and especially Rogers had gotten awful lucky in the team’s rubber match victory over the Pirates.
Rogers finished the game with five scoreless innings. But judging by his stuff and control on the mound, the result likely should’ve been different, as Roenicke seemed to say in his postgame press conference.
“To get out of that one with all zeroes, that’s pretty good,” Roenicke said. “Command was off. He did throw some nice pitches, some really good curveballs, but the fastball was off. It was in and out of the zone. He threw enough inside and outside of the zone just to get through five innings.”
Roenicke admitted he wasn’t sure if Rogers was going to make it through five innings, as his pitch count climbed into the triple digits in the fifth. Of his 101 pitches when all was said and done, 44 were called balls, compared to just 57 strikes. He had allowed three hits and three walks and left three Pirates in scoring position.
But in the end, he seemed to get the luck necessary to make it through his final inning, as Andrew McCutchen grounded into a close double play to end Rogers’ outing after the fifth.
As his manager and catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, both explained, Rogers made the necessary pitches to exit with his first scoreless win.
“To do that and to still throw up all the zeroes he did, that’s good,” Roenicke said. “That’s hard to do. You get people on base and you keep them there, it does say a lot for him having to make pitches when he needed to.”
Added Lucroy: “He had a little lack of control. His stuff is that good that he’s able to get away with it. He was able to make good pitches when he had to, and hopefully we can get him moving forward from here.”
Since joining the Brewers rotation on July 9, the former Brewers first-round pick had allowed three or more earned runs in three of his first five starts. Now, with a scoreless outing, Rogers lowered his ERA to a respectable 4.28.
But now with a 2-1 record, Rogers has admittedly had some help along the way. His run support from Brewers’ bats has been some of the best of any pitcher on the team, as Milwaukee added to his 5.67 runs per outing average with seven runs of offense on Sunday. As Rogers walked off the mound, his team already led 6-0, seemingly cruising to a much-needed series win on the road.
Still, for a pitcher who has survived a slew of injuries in his time since being drafted among the elite prospects in baseball, Rogers’ success is very much welcomed, as Milwaukee attempts to solve the equation of who will be a part of its 2013 rotation.