The success of CC Sabathia has sparked the Milwaukee Brewers since they acquired the big left-hander last month, but while Sabathia has thrived, some of Milwaukee’s other starters have quietly struggled.
Parra got off to an impressive start in his first full season, running off six straight victories from May 30-June 28 and winning his first start after the All-Star break to move to 9-2 with a 3.68 ERA.
Since then, however, Parra (9-6, 4.12 ERA) is 0-4 with a 5.70 ERA in five starts. He matched a season high by allowing 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings at the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, when he gave up four runs in a 5-3 loss.
“I had the best stuff I’ve had all year, but that doesn’t mean I had the best command I’ve had all year,” Parra said.
“Right now, everything is finding a hole and I’m paying for a lot of mistakes,” the left-hander told the Brewers’ official Web site. “… With this team being where we’re at, fighting the way we are, that’s not going to do it.”
Parra has also struggled against Houston. He’s 2-2 against the Astros in four career starts - all this season - but has compiled a 5.91 ERA, allowing 31 hits in 21 1-3 innings.
The Brewers (72-55) have lost four of six since an eight-game winning streak, including Tuesday’s 5-2 defeat to the Astros (64-62).
Milwaukee played again without Ryan Braun, who has appeared in only three games since Aug. 9 due to a back problem. It’s unclear if Braun will be ready to play Wednesday.
In the last week, the Brewers are 2-0 when Sabathia pitches but just 1-4 when any other starter is on the mound. As a result, they’ve fallen six games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central while their lead in the wild-card standings is 2 1/2 games over St. Louis.
Even the Astros sit just 7 1/2 back, although they would need to pass five clubs to make the playoffs.
Houston has gotten to that point by going 14-5 in August. The Astros were playing so well that manager Cecil Cooper predicted a three-game sweep in Milwaukee, but after losing to Sabathia Monday, they will instead have to settle for a chance at a series victory.
They’ll send their own struggling southpaw to the hill as Wandy Rodriguez (7-5, 4.15) looks to bounce back from his shortest outing of the season.
Rodriguez, who’s 1-2 with an 8.68 ERA in his last four starts, lasted just 2 1-3 innings against Arizona on Friday, walking six and allowing four runs in a 12-2 loss.
“My control was the problem,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t have location. It’s very difficult for me if I can’t throw the ball where I want to.”
Rodriguez has pitched well lately against the Brewers. He gave up one run and three hits in six innings of a 3-1 win at Miller Park on July 25, and has allowed two runs in 13 innings in his last two starts against them. Before that, he had lost four straight decisions versus Milwaukee.
The division rivals have each won seven games in the season series this year, with Wednesday the final meeting. Milwaukee went 13-5 against the Astros last year, its first season series win over Houston since the Brewers joined the NL in 1998.