Great American Ball Park hasn’t been kind to the Milwaukee Brewers lately. First and foremost, the Cincinnati Reds have been one of the National League’s best teams and are tough to beat at home. But the Brewers haven’t played consistent enough baseball to earn a series win in Cincinnati in quite some time.
With a chance to clinch their first road series win over the Reds since Sept. 2011, Milwaukee struggled Sunday to limp to a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Reds.
It was a familiar script for the Brewers, as Reds outfielder Jay Bruce homered again against them, while right-hander Johnny Cueto continued his dominance of Milwaukee.
“We didn’t play a good game today,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “We know this is a really good team. We know we have to play well to beat them. I thought we played really well the first two games, and we didn’t play well today. Defensively we didn’t play well at all. Offensively, I know Cueto is a great pitcher, we didn’t have a lot of opportunities against him but the other ends of the game, we didn’t play well.”
Looking to build upon Tuesday’s solid outing against Miami, Wily Peralta wasn’t sharp. While Milwaukee’s defense failed to make a few plays to help him. An error by Rickie Weeks allowed the Reds to tie the game at 1-1 in the second inning, but Cincinnati got to Peralta in the third.
Zack Cosart led off with a double and moved to third on Joey Votto’s groundout. Brandon Phillips tapped a comeback right to Peralta, but he missed the ball and tipped it far enough away to allow Cosart to score. If the ball was fielded cleanly, Peralta had a play at the plate.
One batter later, Peralta left a 3-0 fastball out over the plate and Bruce hit it 469 feet for his 12th home run of the season.
After settling in and working two scoreless innings to keep the Brewers in the game, Peralta couldn’t get through the sixth inning. A one-out walk to Jack Hannahan started things, while Ryan Hanigan doubled to left to give Cincinnati second and third with one out. Peralta’s day was over, but Donald Lutz greeted Michael Gonzalez with a two-run single to make it 5-1.
“The Hanigan (hit), that was the big blow there,” Roenicke said. “Getting second and third, Gonzalez came in and got a groundball and the groundball happened to be right up the middle.
“Wily didn’t have his command. He battled through it. I thought he battled and kept us in the game until the Hanigan double.”
The enigma that is Peralta continues, as his season has been a serious of tough outings surrounded by a start here and there in which he flashes his vast potential.
“It’s just always trying to learn from every outing and trying to be consistent, which is what we’ve been hoping for,” Roenicke said. “The last game he threw, he threw real well. I thought three, four, five, six he really pitched the last game. Today he came out throwing again. He couldn’t get his off-speed over. He did throw some good ones at times, he threw some great fastballs at times, but consistently making pitches, this is a pretty good lineup and you can’t make many mistakes.”
While it’s frustrating hearing about potential while a pitcher struggles, the Brewers are in a position this season where they can continue to let Peralta try and figure things out at the big league level.
“If you look at guys pitching in the big leagues and you look at their first year, there’s a lot of this going on. It isn’t just Wily,” Roenicke said. “It’s try to figure things out and hopefully every outing teaches you something and you can have enough aptitude to figure out what you need to do to succeed.”