MILWAUKEE — Through five games this season, the Milwaukee Brewers have won four times with three coming after late-inning rallies.
It’s early, but it’s hard not to be impressed by Milwaukee’s flair for the dramatic, especially considering the Brewers were 1-57 last year when trailing after eight innings.
“When you do this multiple times, you start to build confidence,” said Ryan Braun, who clinched Milwaukee’s 5-4 victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday with a walk-off home run in the ninth inning. “As a group we continue to build confidence that we’re never out of the game, we know that we’ll continue to compete and we do know that we have an explosive offense with a lot of depth.
“As long as we continue to compete we always feel like we’re still in the game, which is a great feeling to have.”
They’ll try and keep that confidence brimming Wednesday when they host St. Louis for the final contest in a three-game set, looking to win their second series of the season.
The Brewers could have been in big trouble heading into Wednesday’s game. Starter Chase Anderson lasted only four innings, leaving the seven-man bullpen to cover the final five. But thanks to two solid innings from Jacob Barnes, manager Craig Counsell will have a full arsenal at his disposal, including closer Corey Knebel and multi-inning fireballer Josh Hader.
“Jacob’s two innings, that’s kind of what I was counting on,” Counsell said. “But you have to deliver and he did. That was big.”
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin gets the start for Milwaukee (4-1). He’ll be looking to bounce back after getting roughed up by his former team in his Brewers debut last week at San Diego.
Chacin hasn’t fared well against St. Louis, going 0-5 with a 6.10 ERA in six career starts. He faced them once last season while with the Padres, allowing five runs (four earned), six hits and three walks, while hitting four batters and issuing a wild pitch, in an Aug. 23 loss at Busch Stadium.
He’ll match up against right-hander Carlos Martinez, who took the loss in St. Louis’ season opener. He gave up five runs (four earned) and four hits while striking out five over 4 1/3 innings as the Cardinals fell to the Mets 9-4 in New York.
“We never got in rhythm,” St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina said. “It was a battle.”
Martinez battled his command throughout the day and finished with six walks.
“I was trying to keep going with my secondary pitch, and I was using my slider a lot but that was hanging a little bit,” he said. “Sometimes the ball was just everywhere. The ball is up. It’s over here.”
He’s pitched well at Miller Park, where he made his major league debut on May 3, 2013 and made 15 appearances with nine starts. Martinez has gone 3-4 with a 2.69 ERA in those contests and is 5-4 with a 2.18 ERA in 23 career appearances against the Brewers.
Martinez struggled though last season, though, going 1-3 and posting a 4.30 ERA in four starts but recorded 25 strikeouts while walking only eight.