The Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff is trying to regroup in time for this key series at Busch Stadium.
They allowed 30 runs in their 22 innings during their crazy series against the Nationals in Washington D.C. Prior to that, the Brewers held opponents to three or fewer runs in five of their previous eight games.
After their 14-inning, 15-14 victory Saturday night, the Brewers needed starting pitcher Chase Anderson to work deep into Sunday's game.
Instead, he lasted just 2 2/3 innings and allowed a career-high 10 runs as Milwaukee fell 16-8 for their fourth loss in their last six games.
“He gave up four in the first, and that’s a tough way to start,” Brewers manager Crag Counsell told reporters after the game. “We never got a chance, really.”
The Nationals pounded the Brewers for eight homers Sunday. Eight!
“Homers are up all over the league, and this place shows that,” Anderson told reporters after the fireworks show. “This place used to be a pretty good place to pitch, and now it’s more of a bandbox, if you ask me. If you get it, it’s going to go, for sure.
"But if you mishit it, it’s got a possibility to go, too.”
The Brewers were able to summon Aaron Wilkerson from Triple-A San Antonio in time to get his fresh arm and he lasted 4 1/3 innings before letting utility man Hernan Perez finish up and spare the bullpen more abuse.
Zach Davies is coming off the injured list to start Monday's game, which is the first of nine remaining between the Cardinals and Brewers this season. He has been dealing with a sore back.
“I think I’ll be tight and sore in between starts. That’s the nature of it,” Davies told MLB.com. “But we can manage it. We can work on it and be good to go for each start from here on out.
"I’ve talked to a lot of people, and it’s kind of based on my mechanics. I think it blocked me out and put a lot of stress on my lower back. Getting back to the last couple of months of 2017 with my motion and mechanics is where I want to be, and where I think I’ll be healthy.”
The Brewers hope he's right. They need their pitching to stabilize ASAP.
Here is what folks are writing about Our National Pastime:
David Schoenfield, ESPN.com: "Further evidence that there's no such thing as momentum in baseball (unless you're a pitcher for the Orioles). The Brewers beat the Nationals 15-14 in 14 innings on Saturday, in what was may be the game of the year -- and the toughest loss for a team all season. The Brewers took the lead in the ninth inning of that game when they hit three home runs off Nationals closer Sean Doolittle. The Nationals would tie it to force extra innings and tie it again in the 13th before finally losing. A gut-punch defeat. Flip ahead to Sunday. Doolittle goes to the injured list because of a knee problem -- he gave up 10 runs and five home runs over his past five outings. So what happens? The Nationals tie a team record with eight home runs in a 16-8 victory. Baseball is wonderful. Juan Soto smashed two of those, bringing his season total to 28, and has hit 50 home runs before turning 21. Only Mel Ott (61) and Tony Conigliaro (56) had more at that age. Kid can swat. You know the home run binge this season has created all sorts of crazy stats. Here's one more: There have been five games in MLB history in which both teams combined for at least 12 home runs -- three of them have occurred this season and two this weekend."
Ben Lindbergh, The Ringer: "Yes, the ball is flying farther than ever, and yes, leaguewide scoring has reached its highest level since 2006, the first year covered by MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. But even after adjusting for this season’s elevated offensive baseline, (Fernando) Tatís, (Ronald) Acuña, and Soto are supplying unprecedented production for players so young. Not since 1965, when Baltimore’s Curt Blefary and Boston’s Tony Conigliaro posted wRC+ marks of 145 and 131, respectively, have even two hitters 21 or younger qualified for the batting title in the same season while hitting at least 30 percent better than league average. Tatís (149), Acuña (135), and Soto (142) are on track to be the first trio of qualifying 21-or-under hitters to clear that mark in one year. And their precocious performance is just the most salient sign of a season of historic success by young hitters. Hitters 21 and under—led by Tatís, Acuña, and Soto, and backed up by the Blue Jays’ Bo Bichette and hot-hitting Home Run Derby dominator Vladimir Guerrero Jr. —have collectively recorded a 129 wRC+, which would be the highest full-season mark ever managed by hitters that young. The tallies by hitters 22 and under (117), 23 and under (108), and 24 and under (101) are also at all-time highs. Although some seasons have featured more playing time for hitters in their teens or early 20s, batters that age have never been this good as a group."
Buster Olney, ESPN.com: "It used to be that managers would feel comfortable leaving an overpowering pitcher on the mound for 120 pitches, but that line of demarcation drifted downward to 110 pitches, then 100. Now managers start to look to pull the parachute on a starter if he hits 85 to 90 pitches, once he begins to pass through the opposing lineup a third time. Because the numbers have suggested that, generally, it's better to use a fresh reliever instead of a starter nearing 100 pitches, teams generally are using their bullpen for more outs and expecting less of their starters. But the numbers are changing, and bullpen performance is worsening. According to league-wide numbers dug out by Paul Hembekides, starters (4.52) and relievers (4.52) own the exact same ERA. The last time league-wide bullpen ERA was not lower than that of starters was 1969. The gap between starters and relievers is shrinking quickly -- nearly half a run over the past four seasons. League-wide save percentage is tracking at 64 percent. That would be the second-lowest mark in a season since saves were implemented in 1969 (the lowest was 62 percent in 1974). Relievers are allowing inherited runners to score 32 percent of the time, the highest rate since 2008. Why is this happening? Part of the reason is probably the 2019 baseball and the explosion of home runs. Part of it is that hitters have adapted and are doing more damage against high velocity, and their production is much more pronounced against relievers. The lack of secondary offerings in bullpens around the league is clearly catching up."
"Getting to this facility, for me, it's kind of cool, because it's Minor League. And I pretty much am a Minor Leaguer in and out. So, the ballpark, the clubhouse, everything about it is very familiar to me, and I loved it. And I think a lot of the players get that opportunity to take a trip down memory lane just a bit. It's good. It's all good stuff."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon, to MLB.com, on his team playing the Pirates Sunday in Williamsport.