Another day, another late game loss for the Brew Crew.
The Brewers scored early in the second inning on a cold, windy day in Chicago, but the bullpen was unable to hang onto a tie game. John Axford continues to show his inability to stay at the big leagues by giving up a double, a pair of walks and three earned runs, while taking the loss. The 6-3 loss against the Cubs came with an upside, though. A day after their second season win, the Brewers starting rotation delivered another quality start; this time by the young Wily Peralta.
It was the perfect night for the hard-throwing right-hander from the Dominican Republic. With his short sleeves and easy demeanor, Peralta looked much more comfortable in the cold weather than someone from Santa Domingo should (where the average winter minimum is 70 degrees).
The game plan was simple. With the temperature in lower 40s and wind blowing in from the outfield, Peralta stuck with his two seam fastball 70% of the time. His “variation” included a four seam fastball that he threw the other 17% of the time. And the plan worked. The flyballs dropped into the outfields and occasional groundballs got past the sluggish infielders. Peralta worked the first six innnings with five strikeouts, one walk and gave up no earned runs.
Then the bottom of seventh inning came and Peralta was facing the Cubs lineup for the fourth time. We’ve long known that hitters get better as they face the same pitcher third or fourth time in the same game.
Perhaps Wily Peralta was buoyed by the success of the previous innings. Perhaps he was struggling with grip of the offspeed stuff. But, as the figure below shows, he stuck with fastball and got burned with a single, a double and two earned runs. Perhaps he should’ve been pulled out earlier. Although remember that the bullpen needed three pitchers to record four outs, while giving up three earned runs.
Reason for Optimism
As the sting of a 2-6 record continues to burn, we can look at the Peralta outing as a beacon of hope. He was the sole Brewer to make Keith Law’s top 100 prospect list for 2013, and as we witnessed last night, he has top-of-the-rotation stuff that can shut down a major-league lineup. If the Brewers have a winning 2013 season, it’ll be because of Wily Peralta.
Pitch FX tool, Brooks baseball: www.brooksbaseball.net
World Weather: http://worldweather.wmo.int/132/c00281f.htm#climate