Now, even the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen is cracking.
After a rare meltdown by their relievers, the Brewers look to end their recent home struggles against the Florida Marlins as the teams open a four-game set Thursday night at Miller Park.
Milwaukee (29-24) had a 2-1 lead over Atlanta in the seventh before four relievers combined to give up eight runs in the last two innings of a 9-3 loss on Wednesday.
The NL Central-leading Brewers lost two of three to the Braves and have dropped 14 of 19 overall after a 24-10 start. They have lost six straight series after winning 10 of their first 11.
“This series is over,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “We’ve got another one tomorrow.”
Even as the team slumped through May, the Brewers bullpen had remained strong. They had been 5-1 over their previous 18 games when leading after seven innings, and 25-1 overall.
On Wednesday, though, Milwaukee wasn’t able to come through after being five outs from winning its first series since sweeping a three-game set with Washington from May 7-9.
The Brewers, hosting Florida (26-27) for the first time this season, have lost four straight at home to the Marlins and are 7-14 against them in Milwaukee since July 31, 2001.
Claudio Vargas (3-1, 4.01 ERA), who will start for the Brewers on Thursday, is 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts against the Marlins.
Vargas, though, was solid in a start against Florida on April 10, yielding two runs in six innings while striking out nine before Milwaukee won 3-2 in 13 innings. The right-hander, though, is 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA in his last three starts after being reached for four runs and a season-high 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-3 defeat to San Diego on Saturday night.
Florida’s Wes Obermueller (1-3, 5.28 ERA) will be making his first start against the Brewers, with whom he played from 2003-05.
Obermueller was terrible in his last outing, giving up seven runs and eight hits in four innings as Florida lost 7-2 to the New York Mets on Saturday night, raising his ERA more than one-and-a-half runs.
The Marlins are coming off a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs, capping the first leg of their three-city, 11-game road trip with a 9-0 rout on Wednesday night. Florida, which has won 10 of its last 15 overall, can reach .500 for the first time since May 4 with a victory in this game.
“This starts the road trip, now we’ve got to continue it in Milwaukee and go from there,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Marlins’ official Web site.
Dan Uggla homered twice Wednesday for his third multihomer game of the season. He went 5-for-12 (.417) with three doubles against the Brewers in their three-game series in April, but hit just .091 (1-for-11) at Miller Park as a rookie in 2006.