The Milwaukee Brewers have had a number of reasons to be frustrated during their season-high four-game losing streak. In their most recent defeat, the blame fell on the offense.
After getting shut out to fall to .500 for the first time this season, the Brewers look to bounce back as they continue a three-game series against the Florida Marlins at Dolphin Stadium on Wednesday night.
Milwaukee (16-16) has found many ways to lose games lately - blowing big leads, falling in extra innings and struggling at the plate while dropping four straight. It was the bats that failed the Brewers on Tuesday night, when they managed only two hits and struck out eight times in a 3-0 loss in the series opener.
In losing eight of its last 11, Milwaukee has hit .232 while getting held to 3.5 runs per game.
“It’s beyond frustrating,” outfielder Ryan Braun - batting .267 after winning last year’s NL Rookie of the Year award with a .324 average - told the Brewers’ official Web site.
“I’m sick of saying, ‘It’s early.’ You can only say that for so long. You can only say, ‘It’s early,’ you can only say, ‘We’ll be all right,’ for so long. It’s time for us to start swinging the bats the way we’re capable of.”
Despite Braun’s admission that the team is frustrated, the Brewers are trying to stay patient.
“That’s all you can do, really,” said first baseman Prince Fielder, batting .257 with four home runs after hitting .288 with 50 homers in 2007.
Milwaukee’s pitching hasn’t been above reproach either, particularly the bullpen, which is near the bottom of the NL with a 4.49 ERA.
Closer Eric Gagne has been one of the primary reasons for those struggles, posting a 6.14 ERA and blowing five of his first 14 save opportunities since signing a one-year, $10 million contract with Milwaukee in December. But manager Ned Yost insists the 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner will remain his closer for the time being.
“There’s nothing wrong with his mechanics. There’s nothing wrong with his stuff,” Yost said. “The rational thing to do in these situations is not go crazy and just continue to allow him to work through it.”
Gagne could get his next opportunity against the Marlins (18-14), who got a two-run homer from Mike Jacobs in Tuesday’s win - their third in four games. It was the ninth homer of the year for Jacobs, who’s 5-for-12 with two homers and five RBIs in his last three games.
Jacobs is 3-for-6 with two doubles lifetime against Milwaukee starter Dave Bush (0-3, 6.46 ERA), who’s making his first start since a one-week stint with Triple-A Nashville.
The right-hander was recalled Saturday, and pitched a scoreless inning of relief in a 6-2 loss at Houston that day. He’s 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two career starts against the Marlins.
Rookie right-hander Burke Badenhop (0-2, 7.20) will take the mound for Florida, hoping to build on his first quality start of the year. Badenhop held the Los Angeles Dodgers to three runs and five hits while striking out six in six innings on Thursday, failing to get a decision in the Marlins’ 5-3 defeat.
He’s making his first career appearance against the Brewers.