Although it’s early in the season, the Milwaukee Brewers have been on the wrong end of some really tough losses already.
The Brewers will try to avoid a three-game sweep by the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon when they close their series at Citi Field.
Milwaukee (3-8), which reached the playoffs last season for the first time since 1982, is off to its worst start since going 2-9 in 2002. This run, however, may be more frustrating by how close they’ve come in many of the losses.
The Brewers have dropped four one-run games this season, including two in this series against the Mets (6-5). New York won 5-4 Friday on Luis Castillo’s two-out RBI single in the ninth, then emerged with a 1-0 victory Saturday.
Both teams received outstanding outings from their starting pitchers Saturday. Johan Santana scattered five singles and struck out seven in seven innings, while Brewers counterpart Yovani Gallardo did likewise over six. But a fielding error by Brewers second baseman Rickie Weekes in the seventh contributed to the Mets plating the game’s lone run on a fielder’s choice by Jose Reyes.
“Can’t hang your head on a couple of bad loses,” Brewers center fielder Mike Cameron said. “The good thing is we’ve been in the games to give ourselves a chance to win. We just got to find a way to get over the hump.”
The Mets came into the weekend having dropped their previous two series. The bullpen, which was responsible for two of the four losses during that stretch, has not allowed a run in six innings of work during this series.
“So far, everything is working the way we want it to,” said closer Francisco Rodriguez, who earned his third save of the season Saturday.
New York looks to complete the sweep against struggling Jeff Suppan (0-2, 12.91 ERA), who has gotten off to a rough start.
After lasting four innings against San Francisco in his season debut, Suppan pitched 3 2-3 innings against the Cubs last Sunday, allowing five runs and two hits while walking six—including three with the bases loaded—in the 8-5 loss.
The Brewers decided earlier this week to give Suppan, who also lost his first two decisions in 2006 and 2007, an extra day of rest, pushing his start back from Saturday.
“It’s only been a couple of starts, and it’s not like other people haven’t had two bad starts in a row,” manager Ken Macha said.
The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA in nine career starts against the Mets. David Wright, whose 10-game hitting streak ended Saturday after he went 0-for-3, has hit Suppan well, going 5-for-12 with two home runs.
The Mets also had to make a change to their rotation this week after Mike Pelfrey was diagnosed with forearm tendinitis.
Nelson Figueroa (3-3, 4.57), called up from Triple-A Buffalo after Pelfrey was scratched, will take the ball for New York and make his season debut. Figueroa pitched in 16 games for the Mets last season—six as a starter.
The right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.81 ERA in three starts and five relief appearances against the Brewers. He faced them three times last season—once as a starter—and was 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA over nine innings pitched.