Friday, September 28, 2012

Brewers lose Peralta and game, season dwindling

The Brewers played an odd game yesterday, losing 2-1 to the Reds in what can best be described as a stomach-punch of a game. Until the 9th inning, it was the Carlos Gomez show, as he showed that he can take over a game on both sides of the ball by homering for the Brewers only run, making some outstanding catches in center field, and stealing a base after a single because that's a Carlos Gomez thing. Brewers starting pitcher Wily Peralta was dominant for 5 1/3 innings but left early with what is being called bicep tendinitis, which fortunately for the Brewers is a fairly minor injury but unfortunately is one that will likely keep him from starting again this season (Tyler Thornburg time).

The bullpen successfully bridged the gap to end-of-game reliever John Axford, who blew away Zack Cozart and Joey Votto (!) before serving up a first-pitch tater to Todd Frazier, and then followed that up by giving up a base hit to Jay Bruce and a walk-off triple to Dioner Navarro. Dioner Navarro should not hit triples off of John Axford. An ugly yet fitting end to the game for Axford, who has been better the last couple months but no one will remember that thanks to this game.

To me, the strangest part of this game was the performance of Reds starter Matt Latos. For those unfamiliar with Latos, he's essentially the Reds' version of Yovani Gallardo, a solid #2 starter the Reds gave up too much for who will look unhittable in some games but very hittable in others. Latos usually sits 92-93 mph on his fastball, but in this game was sitting around 90 mph and threw pitch after pitch right over the heart of the plate. Latos had no problem throwing strikes, but left a lot of pitches up and drew only seven swings-and-misses total (just three strikeouts), none on fastballs.




The Brewers responded by hitting a majority said meatballs right to the Reds' fielders with the exception of Gomez, who hit a ball to a place where it's impossible to put a fielder. By looking at the box score, it looks like Latos was fairly dominant, but watching the game it was pretty clear something was off. It means little to the Brewers now but it's something to keep an eye on for the Reds heading into the postseason.

And speaking of the postseason, this loss puts the Brewers four games back with six to play, and while the current 2nd wild card incumbent Cardinals have two tough matchups against the Reds and Nationals, they would have to go 2-4 at best for the Brewers to even tie them, and the Dodgers have moved ahead of the Brewers to boot. The season is likely over, but the team gave it a great run over the last month. There's still plenty to watch for on the Brewers (Aramis chasing the team's doubles record, Braun kicking ass, a likely Thornburg start, quest to finish above .500), even if the season didn't end the way we wanted.


Thanks to Brooksbaseball.net for the PITCH/fx data!

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