Preview: Brewers vs. Angels
While Nick Tropeano hopes to continue filling a void in the Los Angeles Angels’ rotation, a new face will get a crack at the Milwaukee Brewers’ in yet another stop on his journeyman career.
The visiting Angels try to avoid their fourth loss in five games Tuesday night on the arm of Tropeano as Junior Guerra looks to provide the Brewers their second consecutive home win in this series after going 19 years without one.
Monday’s 8-5 series-opening win for Milwaukee (10-15) snapped a four-game skid in this series and eight-game drought at home against Los Angeles (12-14) dating to 1997.
After combining for 13 runs in four straight overall losses, the Brewers busted out for a season-high 18 hits in Sunday’s 14-5 romp over Miami before breaking their interleague skid against the Angels with 14 more. It was the Angels’ eighth loss in their last 11 road games.
Ryan Braun is 6 for 8 with three RBIs over the last two games, raising his average to .372. Milwaukee hit three home runs and four doubles Sunday and followed with three doubles one night later.
The Brewers, who have yet to win three straight, will run into one of Los Angeles’ nicer surprises on the mound.
Tropeano (1-0, 2.11 ERA) has been a solid replacement in the rotation for Andrew Heaney, who is on the disabled list with a flexor muscle strain and won’t return until mid-June at the earliest.
Tropeano hasn’t made it through the sixth inning in any of his four starts, but he’s surrendered five runs. The right-hander gave up a two-run homer in the first inning Wednesday versus Kansas City, the first against him, but nothing more through 5 1/3 while not receiving a decision in a 4-2 win.
Los Angeles’ starting rotation was looking solid through 18 games, posting a 3.16 ERA while opponents hit .234. However, it has a 7.34 ERA with a .364 batting average against in the last eight.
Jered Weaver allowed 11 hits and seven runs in five innings Monday. A key fifth-inning error by Rafael Ortega led to four runs that snowballed into four more in the sixth.
"Stuff happens," Weaver said. "You have to be able to put it aside and pitch. I wasn’t able to."
Brewers’ starters rank last in baseball in ERA (6.18), batting average against (.316) and strikeouts (91). Milwaukee has an MLB-low six quality starts and just two in the last 15 games.
Guerra, 31, was promoted from Triple-A Colorado Springs and will get a shot in the rotation after the demotion of the struggling Taylor Jungmann.
Jungmann is the organization’s top pitching prospect but never found his footing, leaving the door open for Guerra – a split-fingered fastball specialist and the first player acquired by new general manager David Stearns in October.
"(Guerra) was throwing the ball well," manager Craig Counsell told MLB’s official website. "We didn’t see him as a starter in camp because of other priorities, but he’s been a starter in winter ball and in most of his career. So we’ll take a look and see what happens."
Guerra was suspended 50 games in 2008 under the Minor League Baseball Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program and pitched anywhere from Venezuela to Italy to Kansas afterward. He made his major league debut in 2015 and made three relief appearances with the Chicago White Sox before being claimed off waivers.
The right-hander’s first two quality starts at Colorado Springs were followed by a pair of rough ones, leaving him with an 0-2 record and 4.63 ERA. He will pitch on seven days’ rest.
Guerra will face a red-hot Mike Trout. The Angels’ center fielder went 4 for 5 in the opener with his sixth home run and three RBIs. He is 9 for 15 lifetime against the Brewers, with all four games coming at Miller Park.