Preview: Brewers vs. Rockies
MILWAUKEE — Hopefully Junior Guerra went to bed early Thursday night.
While his Milwaukee Brewers teammates were getting walloped by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Guerra was sent back to Milwaukee early with the hope he’d be fully rested when he takes the mound at Miller Park on Friday night, when the Milwaukee Brewers open a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.
“That’s something, before the road trip, we kind of put in motion,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “It was our suggestion and we strongly suggested he do it. It doesn’t really happen on our end that much. Our travel is generally very good, so nights like this are rare.”
With the way things went against the Dodgers, they’ll need a long start from Guerra, who’s looking to bounce back from a bad outing of his own after allowing five runs on five hits over four innings in a loss to the Giants last weekend.
It marked the second time in three starts that Guerra (6-7, 3.43 ERA) failed to get through more than four innings.
“It definitely was (weird),” Guerra said after facing the Giants. “I felt good out there. I felt like I could go all nine easily. Those walks that inning, everything turned around. I couldn’t get ahead of guys, I couldn’t throw the first pitch for strikes and the third inning just went upside-down.”
Even with a pair of crushing losses to the Dodgers, the Brewers return home having completed one of their better road trips of the season. They took two of three from San Francisco and split a four-game set with Los Angeles, which leads the National League West.
They’ll take the field Friday night no worse than 1 1/2 games behind the Cubs, who lost Thursday to the Padres and host them Friday afternoon, in the NL Central but still holding the top spot in the NL wild card race, two games clear of third-place Arizona.
The Rockies, meanwhile, are trying to stay in the playoff picture, too. They’ll begin the day 1 1/2 games out of a wild card spot and two behind the Dodgers in the NL West.
The Rockies are 24-12 since June 19 thanks in large part to a starting rotation that’s combined for a 3.42 ERA over that stretch.
They’ve cooled off slightly since the All-Star break, going 7-5 and dropped three of four in St. Louis this week, including the last two.
“We’re in every game now, which is good, and we’ve won most of them,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “We’ve got to continue to pitch well. If we continue to do that, we’ll be fine.”
German Marquez gets the nod Friday. He returned from the paternity list to hold Oakland to two runs on five hits over 7 2/3 innings his last time out, striking out eight along the way.
Over his last five starts, Marquez is 4-0 with a 3.03 ERA and has struck out 36 batters while walking only six in 32 2/3 innings.
“It starts with the mind-set that a lot of our starters have had of late,” Black said of Marquez’s recent success. “I just think the overall aggressiveness of getting the ball in the strike zone early has been key.”
Marquez is 1-1 with a 6.06 ERA in three previous starts against the Brewers. He took the loss May 10 after allowing five runs on 12 hits over 4 2/3 innings versus Milwaukee.