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Brewers crying about Wolf’s troubles

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McClatchy Tribune
June 10, 2010
— Pitching performances such as this were supposed to cease with the release of Jeff Suppan.

Left-hander Randy Wolfís troubling season continued Wednesday night with a bombs-away performance against the Chicago Cubs, who tattooed him for five home runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 9-4 victory at Miller Park.


Wolf allowed two home runs apiece to Cubs centerfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher Geovany Soto. He was driven from the game in a three-homer barrage in the fifth inning, including a two-run shot by Derrek Lee on a hanging curveball and the second blasts of the night by Byrd and Soto.


After surrendering 24 home runs in 34 starts last season, Wolf has been tagged for 15 in 13 starts in 2010. He fell to 4-6 with a 5.31 earned run average, and the Brewers are 5-8 in his starts.


ďHe hasnít given us a chance to win that many games when he has started,Ē said Brewers manager Ken Macha.


ďIf youíre going to get out of this hole weíve dug and get back into it, youíre going to need consistent starting pitching. Obviously, we didnít get that today.Ē


This is not what the Brewers had in mind when they signed Wolf to a three-year, $29.75 million free-agent deal over the winter. Having just absorbed $10 million of the $42 million they lavished on Suppan 3Ĺ years ago to release him, club officials have to be a bit nervous about this investment.


Wolf is producing worse results in nearly every category than he did in 2009 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Last season, he allowed an average of 7.48 hits per nine innings, 1.01 home runs, 2.35 walks and 6.73 strikeouts.


Through 13 starts this season, Wolf is allowing an average of 10.15 hits per nine innings, 1.73 home runs, 4.5 walks and 5.65 strikeouts.


So, whatís going on?


ďThis is awful,Ē said Wolf, never one to sugarcoat a poor performance. ďItís one of those times when you feel like youíll wake up and itís a bad dream. But itís not. Itís reality. I have to deal with it and try to get better.


ďIím making a lot of mistakes out there and Iím not getting away with any of them. Iím better than that. Iíve just got to find a way to get better than that.


ďI havenít pitched well yet in my mind. Itís frustrating because I donít feel any different than I did last year. The results definitely arenít there. Iíve got to do something to get better results than Iím getting right now.Ē


Wolf has been missing far too often with location of his pitches. Both of Byrdís homers came on two-strike fastballs that Wolf tried to get inside but left over the plate.


Beyond the hanging curveball to Lee, he put a first-pitch fastball and 1-0 changeup in bad spots to Soto.


ďI donít have the stuff to get away with a lot of mistakes. I never have,Ē said Wolf, whose lone highlight was socking a booming two-run double off Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano in the fourth inning that pulled the Brewers even, 3-3.


ďI have to do a lot better at minimizing my mistakes and putting guys away and not missing over the plate. I just didnít do that today. I got my teeth kicked in. Thatís the easiest way to put it.Ē



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