MILWAUKEE It's no secret that Brewers pitcher Shaun Marcum hasn't been the same since returning from elbow tightness that kept him out for the better part of two months this season. In the five starts since his return, Marcum has averaged less than five innings per start and given up four runs in all but one appearance.
That's mostly because of his lack of command, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said after Saturday night's win, but is he struggling with his command enough to warrant the team possibly going in another direction with so many important games ahead? Not just yet, Roenicke answered on Sunday morning.
"As far as we're concerned right now, (he's going to stay in the rotation)," Roenicke said. "He's not pitching like we hoped he would, like he hopes he would. He's disappointed in it. We are. I know what he's like when he's right."
Roenicke was, however, pleased with Marcum's velocity on Saturday night, despite the fact that he lasted just four innings and racked up almost 90 pitches in that span. But there were still noticeable factors of Marcum's game that just weren't there on Saturday and haven't been there since he returned to the major league club after three rehab starts at Class-A Wisconsin.
"Very unusual for him to see him pitch this way," Roenicke said. "The rhythm is slow. He's just not in that (position) where he knows he can put the ball where he wants to. And there's a lot of thinking going on. It's not the type of game that he's good at.
"He's very quick getting the ball back, on the rubber, ready to go again, and he's not doing that, which tells me there's a lot of thinking going on of what pitches to throw. When he's wandering around the mound like that, he's thinking about what he wants to do. Usually, he knows what he wants to do."
Peralta impresses again: Wily Peralta's career as a starting pitcher started off with a pair of impressive performances, and on Sunday afternoon, Peralta proved that he had plenty more to prove.
With eight innings of two-hit ball against the Mets, Peralta didn't just put together his best performance of his short career. He put together one of Milwaukee's best outings of the season by a starting pitcher. Striking out five, Peralta remained efficient all game long, throwing strike after strike and often finishing with a devastating slider that gave Mets' batters fits all game long. Through seven innings, Peralta had thrown just 24 balls to 23 batters.
Peralta might've even made it through a full nine-inning slate if his rhythm wouldn't have been thrown off in the top of the 8th after tallying his first major league hit. But after eight impressive innings, Peralta left to a standing ovation -- a symbol that the Brewers' rotation seems to be heading in the right direction.
"It doesn't get much better than that," Roenicke said. "It's overpowering stuff with movement, and down, and a tremendous slider . . . Really, that's as good as it gets."
Even outfielder Ryan Braun, who had his own tremendous effort on Sunday in which he surpassed the 200-home run plateau, gushed about Peralta's performance after the game.
"I look at his stuff, and I don't know how he's not the top prospect in baseball," Braun said. "He has dominant stuff. There are very few guys that have stuff like that in major league baseball."
Relying on big innings: It's been tough to count the Brewers out of any game lately, especially when they can seemingly count on their offense to provide a huge multi-run inning at a moment's notice.
The most impressive one-inning performance the Brewers have put together in the last week was their eight-run showcase in the fifth inning of last Wednesday's game against the Braves -- their only runs of the ballgame.
But on three separate occasions in the last week, the Brewers have put together a four-run-or-better inning, giving hope that Milwaukee's recent offensive surge may allow it to overcome any deficit while it's still hot. That's not quite how Roenicke would choose to win games though.
"It's not comforting because you're hoping for one inning that's got to be big," Roenicke said. "I would like it if we could be more consistent through the game, scoring obviously more often. I think when you're doing that, your offense is always going to be a consistent offense . . . It's hard to count on that."
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