Brewers' day-game woes continue

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By Tom Haudricourt
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Thursday, September 19, 2013

MILWAUKEE--The Milwaukee Brewers have become accustomed to poor showings during day games and that trend certainly didn’t change Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.

This time, however, they thought they had company in their misery. Let’s just say the home team was not particularly pleased with the work of plate umpire Chad Fairchild—and that frustration carried over to the very last pitch of the game.

Brewers starter Kyle Lohse, who struggled through five innings in the 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, is the first to admit when he doesn’t have it. This time, however, he cited Fairchild as a partner in crime.

“Not a whole lot of it was me,” said Lohse, who threw 100 pitches and allowed seven hits and three runs before exiting.

“When you’ve got an umpire that says your grumpy face is going to cost you some strikes, you’ve got issues. I wasn’t as consistent as I wanted to be, but I made a lot of really good pitches and I guess I looked funny out there, and wasn’t going to get the calls.”

Lohse said Fairchild made the “grumpy face” comment to catcher Martin Maldonado after Nate Schierholtz smacked a 3-1 fastball for a two-run homer in the third inning that gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead. Lohse thought Fairchild missed some pitches that put the count at 3-1.

“I’ve been around long enough; you’ve got to make pitches,” said Lohse, who allowed a first-inning homer to Luis Valbuena on a 1-1 slider that wasn’t where he wanted it.

“The first one to Valbuena, I missed location and threw a pitch that came right back in to him. The rest of the day, the Schierholtz at-bat, there were a couple of pitches that changed the whole complexion of the game, really.

“When you change the count from 1-2 or 2-2, possibly, to 3-1, I’m not going to walk a guy but I’m not getting that low, outside corner. I’m going to challenge the guy and I got beat there. I’ve still got to make a pitch, and he put a good swing on it. That changes the ball game right there, especially when you’ve got a guy throwing the ball as well as (Chicago starter Jake Arrieta).”

What would have happened had Fairchild made the “grumpy face” comment directly to Lohse instead of his catcher?

“I wouldn’t have lasted five innings,” said Lohse.

“I don’t think I did anything to show him up. I had a lot of calls that I thought could have gone my way. I got the ball back and tried to make another pitch. Obviously, it’s frustrating but it’s my job to go out there and make pitches. I can’t do anything about what’s called or not.

“It’s just hard to adjust to something that’s inconsistent. Just let us play the game.”

The game ended with a Brewer even angrier at Fairchild. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, outfielder Logan Schafer worked the count to 3-2 against Cubs closer Kevin Gregg before taking a pitch that was quite low and should have been ball four. Instead, Fairchild rang up Schafer for the final out.

Schafer tossed down his bat and helmet in disgust, drawing an equipment citation from Fairchild that comes with a fine. The two then exchanged heated words before Brewers manager Ron Roenicke came out to intervene.

Not that the Brewers did much to help themselves throughout the day. They collected only three hits in seven innings off Arrieta, who did not allow a run until Carlos Gomez led off the bottom of the seventh with a home run to center.

Roenicke was resting some banged-up regulars and shortstop Jean Segura was unavailable with a hamstring strain, leading to a more watered-down lineup than usual. Nevertheless, the Brewers fell to 17-34 in day games, including an 8-20 mark at home.

“We’ve been talking about day games for quite a while,” said Roenicke. “There’s no answer to it. We didn’t play well last year in day games. The year before, we did play well.

“It’s hard to explain. If it’s a day that a veteran needs a day off, that’s when I usually give it to him because it’s hard to recover and play that day game after a night game. Some of it has to do with that but other organizations do it, also. So, a lot of times we’re facing a team that if they’re resting somebody, they do it that day.”

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