Wolf's woes continue for Brewers

Published May. 16, 2012 11:27 p.m. ET

After seven straight quality starts for the Brewers starting rotation, Randy Wolf's outing on Wednesday felt like a step back for a group that seemed to be getting it back together.
The group had posted a 1.37 ERA in that time, holding opponents to an impressively low .160 batting average. But in Houston on Wednesday night, Wolf gave up six earned runs, walked three Astros batters, and struck out just one in four innings. He raised his ERA to 6.38 — a number reflective of Wolf's struggles this season.
There were a few unlucky occurrences throughout Wolf's four-inning outing—like a Carlos Lee grounder that should've been a double play but accounted for two runs—but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said that the problem was a familiar one.
"Command," Roenicke answered. "First inning (was) really good, just everything came out live — he hit his spots. Then, we go to the second inning and he starts to lose it a little bit and then just continued to battle with his command."
Wolf's first inning was just eight pitches long and looked to be building on his last two effective starts in which he registered six innings of work. But Wolf's previous inconsistencies with his command changed that trajectory rather quickly in Houston.
With Wolf's early exit, however, the Brewers bullpen, which had also struggled through inconsistencies all season, got its chance to put together a solid, lengthy performance. And as Vinnie Chulk, Tim Dillard, and Manny Parra allowed just one hit (a Carlos Lee home run off of Dillard), the bullpen had indeed made the best of its chance.
"Under the circumstances, it's good to see them throw the ball effectively," Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles said. "But you know, my goodness, we have to start playing better. We still know it's early in the season, but we're coming off a pretty good ball game yesterday and we wanted to show we're ready to start rolling."
Chulk was especially effective, striking out the side in one inning and retiring six straight batters. And after struggling in one game against Chicago last week, Chulk has put together two solid performances in three appearances as one of the last relievers on the roster.
Still, the Brewers likely would've rather seen their eighth consecutive quality start. Instead, they had to settle for a silver lining out of the bullpen on Wednesday night in Houston.
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