Day-game woes continue for Brewers

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By Tom Haudricourt
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wednesday, August 21, 2013

MILWAUKEE--Vampires fare better in the sunlight than the Milwaukee Brewers on most days.

Toss in the double whammy of it also being a getaway day and the Brewers had little chance Wednesday of prevailing against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.

Pounding starter Tom Gorzelanny early and often, the Cardinals bolted to a seven-run lead then held on for an 8-6 victory that made them 10-3 against the Brewers this season.

The defeat left the Brewers with a 13-29 record in day games this season and 6-23 when leaving for another city after the game. In the final games of series, they are 8-32.

What gives with those dismal trends?

“I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to it,” said manager Ron Roenicke. “It (day games) is something we haven’t been good at for about five years. I think one of the last five we’ve done well in day games.”

Rather than continuing to give young Tyler Thornburg starts (0.50 ERA in three games) or call up another prospect from the minors, the Brewers chose to keep Gorzelanny in the rotation. The left-hander put up a strong argument by posting a 2.57 ERA in his first seven starts after beginning the season in the bullpen.

But Gorzelanny’s last two starts have been dismal. Including the 10 hits and seven runs he allowed in 3 2/3 innings against the Cardinals, he has been tagged for 16 hits and 12 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings (12.97 ERA), including four home runs.

The Cardinals ripped Gorzelanny for six runs in the second inning, including a two-run double by pitcher Jake Westbrook and home runs by Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig. Westbrook would not be able to protect the big lead, allowing the Brewers back in the game on Aramis Ramirez’s three-run homer in the third and two more runs in the fifth, when rookie Khris Davis collected one of his three hits.

The defeat left Gorzelanny with a 37-46 record and 4.61 ERA as a starter in the major leagues.

“Hopefully, his next one he gets it going again,” said Roenicke. “We need to get him going again.”

Asked about the commitment of keeping Gorzelanny in the rotation, Roenicke said, “I don’t want to say I’m committed to it. That will be a decision when (general manager) Doug (Melvin) and I talk.

“Right now, his next (start), yes. Hopefully, we get him back pitching well. His stuff looked fine, looked crisp. It was just when he missed, they didn’t miss.”

Gorzelanny has made clear his preference to start over pitching in relief but knows he doesn’t help his cause with days like this.

“You make mistakes and you pay for them, especially against good-hitting teams,” he said. “It was bad pitch selection.

“Every start is important, no matter what time of the year it is. I like being a starter. It’s something I have done most of my career. I want to be the best I can in any position.”

The good news was that the Brewers’ offense didn’t roll over after falling behind by so many runs early, finishing with 14 hits. The bad news was the hitters had many chances to pull the game out but couldn’t get over the hump.

By going 3 for 14 (.214) with runners in scoring position—a department in which the Cardinals thrive—the Brewers left 14 men on base, a season high.

“We’re battling and we’re getting people on base but we didn’t get the big hit today,” said Roenicke. “It’s not like it was bases loaded and no outs. I’m happy we’re still battling; I’m happy we’re still getting people on base and giving us a chance to win a ball game or tie it.

“Any time you’re that far behind and you battle back and get the tying run to the plate, I think it’s a good day.”

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