Found April 07, 2013 on
Fox Sports Wisconsin:
MILWAUKEE -- After a one-day hiatus, Milwaukee's starting pitching struggles continued Saturday night.
In the rotation with a short leash, Mike Fiers put the Brewers in another early hole, allowing six runs in five innings as Milwaukee fell, 9-2, to the Diamondbacks, its fourth straight loss since a win on Opening Day.
It was simply a performance Fiers couldn't have. After a slow demise at the end of last season and a rough spring training, Fiers snuck into the fifth spot of Milwaukee's rotation largely because of what he did during his first two months in the big leagues.
A pair of two-run home runs turned what could have been an average outing into one of struggle.
"I thought I threw the ball pretty well," Fiers said. "They capitalized on a couple of mistakes, and that was the game. Two key at-bats in the game. I have to give them credit.
"Balls were up. The changeup (on a home run) to (Paul) Goldschmidt was right there. I couldn't have put it in a better spot for him. I give them credit. I felt like I was throwing the ball well. I challenged them, threw them a lot of strikes and they swung the bats well tonight."
It's been a downward spiral ever since Fiers took baseball by storm with surprising dominance when he was called up last June. His first 11 starters were simply brilliant, including posting a 1.01 ERA in six July starts.
But a 4.89 ERA in August and a 7.09 ERA in September and October raised eyebrows. Was it fatigue or a return to the mean? So far, Fiers has done nothing to dispel the latter theory. He made the Brewers rotation despite a 6.98 ERA in spring training.
"Commanding the baseball is the main problem," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "That could be from lack of confidence. That could be from fatigue, that could be from getting out of rhythm with your delivery, it could be all those things. We need to find out what the answer is and get him on the right track. We need this guy to pitch well for us.
"(Pitching coach) Rick (Kranitz) is always looking at the film. He'll check out the delivery and see if there's something he can see that can cause him to miss so much with all his pitches."
The Brewers have some flexibility because there are three more off days in April. Roenicke can choose to skip the fifth spot in the rotation a few times, and he might consider doing so. He plans on sitting down with his coaching staff Sunday to make a decision.
"We've talked about a few things," Roenicke said. "(Chris) Narveson is always an option to go in the rotation. But we also want to make sure we are giving guys enough chance to get in a groove. Hopefully he'll be the guy we saw last year."
From his perspective, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy doesn't believe Fiers has lost his confidence but says he is lacking his feel on the mound.
"We're trying to work ahead a lot, and he's getting behind in some counts," Lucroy said. "We're not able to put guys away and leaving balls up in the zone. Hitters are just way too comfortable up there. We're working through some things. He showed some real good stuff tonight, but we just couldn't get that ball executed where we needed it to."
Part of the reason Milwaukee has started 1-4 is the offense has struggled to score runs and now is playing without Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart. But the rotation has had just one quality start and has put the offense in a hole in all but one game.
Even when Kyle Lohse pitched well Friday, Roenicke had to get three innings out of his bullpen because Lohse was on a pitch count after signing so late in camp.
"Our starters besides Lohse have struggled," Roenicke said. "Michael, even though we think he's a guy that's going to pitch well, we have to get him on the right track so this doesn't continue to go on. We're scuffling our bullpen already when we have off-days and have eight guys down there. I'm having to go to guys and pitch them more than I would like to."
While there were so many questions about Milwaukee's rotation behind Yovani Gallardo and Lohse coming into the season, Lucroy is still confident they will turn it around.
"Things haven't been going our way," Lucroy said. "Obviously, we've made some mistakes pitching, but I really believe our pitchers are a lot better than what they've shown. I know it because I've seen it.
"Cream always rises to the top, so you aren't going to be able to hold that down long. I really believe that we're going step up and start beating some people really good.
As for Fiers, he's moving on and looking ahead to his next start. That is, if he gets one.
"It's not a great feeling when you give up six runs in five innings, but I can't do nothing about this game right now," Fiers said. "I have to look forward to my next start and get ready for St. Louis.
"Just because I started the year off bad doesn't mean I can't come back and pitch well next outing. I'm not really looking at this start like it was the whole year. It's one start. It's bad that it happened to come on my first start, but I'm going to get back at it and be ready for St. Louis."
Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter.
BEST OF MAXIM
MILWAUKEE Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun's neck was feeling better Sunday, but he wasn't in the lineup against Arizona.
The five-time All-Star was scratched from Friday's lineup after suffering a neck strain during batting practice and hasn't played since.
"As soon as I'm able to get to a point to where I have any chance to contribute and play, I'...
MILWAUKEE -- The news could have been a lot worse, but Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a sprained left knee after an MRI revealed no tears.
To take his place on the roster, the team recalled utility man Josh Prince from Triple-A Nashville. Though Ramirez may not need the full 15 days to recover, the Brewers couldn...
MILWAUKEE This was certainly not how the Milwaukee Brewers wanted to start their season -- especially having been gifted with six games at home.
Not only did Sunday's 8-7 extra-innings loss to Arizona drop Milwaukee to 1-5 on the young season -- its worst six-game start since 2003 -- but the Brewers lost three more starters to injuries in the process.
Bruised in the lineup...
MILWAUKEE -- Searching for any clue as to why his velocity has dipped in his first two outings of the season, Brewers closer John Axford went to the video tape.
He pulled up side-by-side video from this season and successful outings from 2012 and 2011.
"Nothing looks different," Axford said. "It's the same. The arm slot is the same going back to 2011, same leg...
MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez left Friday's game against Arizona with a left knee sprain.
Ramirez was injured in the bottom of the fourth inning when he awkwardly slid into second base trying to stretch a single into a double.
Off the bat it appeared to be an easy double, but the ball caromed off the wall and rolled right to Diamondbacks left fielder...
MILWAUKEE -- It was only a matter of time before the question got asked. Has Ron Roenicke had any thoughts of changing closers?
Due to a tired bullpen, John Axford came out for the 11th inning Sunday after working a scoreless 10th. Following a leadoff double by Diamondbacks shortstop Cliff Pennington, Wisconsin native and pinch hitter Eric Hinske belted a curveball to center for...
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was scratched from
last night’s lineup due to neck spasms, according to Tom Haudricourt of The
#Brewers scratch Ryan Braun with neck spasms that began during batting practice. Kris Davis gets first major league start.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) April 5, 2013
Braun began experiencing the spasms during batting...
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has been placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Milwaukee Brewers.
The move was made Saturday after an MRI confirmed the two-time All-Star sprained his left knee sliding into second base Friday night during Milwaukee's 3-1 loss to Arizona.
Ramirez, who was 5 for 13 with three doubles in the first four games of the season, sustained a similar...
Last the the Milwaukee Brewers started the game without Ryan Braun, due to neck spasms, and ended the game without Aramis Ramirez who left the game after injuring his knee.Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez was forced to leave Friday's game against the Diamondbacks after re-aggravating a knee injury from spring training, and he seems to think it is a serious issue. Ramirez...
Shortstop Jean Segura has left the Milwaukee Brewers' game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a bruised left quad.
Segura was injured when Gerardo Parra made a hard slide into his leg to break up a potential double play in the third inning. Segura was down for a bit, but stayed in Sunday's game after a brief jog in the outfield.
The injury-riddled Brewers then pulled...
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun missed his third
consecutive game yesterday due to a lingering neck injury.
Braun continued to struggle with the simple task of moving
his head on Saturday, and it’s clear that his neck continues to give him
issues. While it’s not expected to be a long-term problem, it’s caused the
slugger to miss the team’s past three...
If the Arizona Diamondbacks are to record their first-ever series sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers, they likely must find a way to finally get the best of Yovani Gallardo.
The visiting Diamondbacks look to accomplish both while trying for a fourth consecutive victory Sunday against the injury-depleted Brewers, who hope to avoid a fifth straight defeat.
These teams have previously...
If the Diamondbacks are to record their first-ever series sweep of the Brewers, they likely must find a way to finally get the best of Yovani Gallardo.
The visiting D-backs look to accomplish both while trying for a fourth consecutive victory Sunday against the injury-depleted Brewers, who hope to avoid a fifth straight defeat.
These teams have previously played 33 series in the...
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Pinch hitter Eric Hinske belted a long two-run homer to straightaway center field in the 11th inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-7 on Sunday to complete a three-game series sweep.
With Cliff Pennington aboard following a leadoff double, Hinske drove a 1-2 pitch from John Axford (0-1) onto the concourse beyond the wall in center. Hinske...
The Cubs open their first homestand against a team that is in even worse shape than they are. The Brewers are already missing first basemen Corey Hart and Mat Gamel due to injuries suffered before the season, and in the past week 3B Aramis Ramirez, LF Ryan Braun, and SS Jean Segura have all been banged up. None of the injuries are necessarily *that* bad, but the Brewers didn'...