If you did, don’t fret. Monday’s contest was almost the exact same.
On the heels of their starting pitcher looking dominant early on Sunday before faltering to hard contact and having a 2-0 lead turn into a 4-2 loss as the offense went silent after the first couple of innings at American Family Field, the Brewers did that exact same thing all over again Monday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Pirates opened the three-game series with the Brewers with a 4-2 victory, punishing a series of mistakes from Brewers starter Corbin Burnes in the middle innings and shutting down the Milwaukee offense after it scored on two sacrifice flies in the second.
At 76-61, the Brewers are 2 ½ games ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central race.
Here are three takeaways.
Corbin Burnes made a few too many mistakes
There was no question about why Burnes was hit around this time. It was simply poor location.
Andrew McCutchen’s double – an 0-2 pitch which was only the 16th changeup Burnes has thrown to a righty this year – to lead off the third was on a changeup that could not have been more center-cut if walked 60 feet, 6 inches up to the plate.
“If I just get the changeup to the bottom of the zone, he struggles with the changeup at the bottom, especially back-foot,” Burnes said. “Last time we were here we threw him a changeup that locked him up and was called a ball that should’ve been a punch out. But today I just threw it right down the middle. If I throw it right down we probably get a swing and miss. Probably just trying to do too much there.”
Jack Suwinski’s two-run homer to tie in a couple of batters later was a cutter that was middle-middle.
Ke’Bryan Hayes’ go-ahead homer was a curve down the middle. Bryan Reynolds’ ensuing double was another hanging curve. McCutchen’s second double of the game, this one scoring Reynolds, was a slider located – you guessed it – over the heart.
“Just location. Just bad location,” Burnes said. “Early on we got the swing and miss with the sliders and the curveballs when we needed to. They were executed where we wanted. Second time through, I threw changeup right down the middle. Slider right down the middle. The (curve) to Reynolds right down the middle. Just bad pitches.”
Burnes was otherwise pretty sharp. He sequenced his cutter and slider well over the first three innings before almost abandoning the latter. His control was solid; it was his first start without allowing any walks since June 7.
His command in the zone, though, just faltered a few too many times. And even against an offense like the Pirates’, that can burn any pitcher at this level.
A team’s record when a starting pitcher throws is often out of the pitcher’s control, but the Brewers are now just 15-13 when Burnes starts – and no matter how you choose to breakdown who’s at fault for that, it’s a suboptimal record.
Brewers’ feast-or-famine offense strikes again
It isn’t difficult to spot the trend for the 2023 Brewers. When they score even a modest handful of runs, they usually win.
But quiet nights from the offense are also quite commonplace.
Since the start of August, the Brewers are averaging seven runs per game in wins.
When they lose, they are averaging 1.7 runs per game.
An offense, obviously, is going to have better numbers in wins than losses, but that type of disparity is drastic – and difficult to make total sense of.
“That’s baseball,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I wish we could do it every night. I think guys want to do it every night. But the other side’s trying to not let that happen.”
Still, it’s become a trend at this point. When the offense is good, it’s good. And when it’s bad, it’s bad.
On Monday, the offense got off to a strong start, waiting out Pirates starter Luis Ortiz as he struggled with his command and putting a couple of runs up in the second.
But after that, crickets. A couple of quasi-threats. A couple of double plays. The game was decided by the end of the fifth inning.
“When your offense goes you’re usually winning the game,” outfielder Sal Frelick said. “We came out on fire which was great, but just weren’t able to sustain that. The past week or two, all the games we’ve won, our offense has been putting the pedal to the metal – after getting a few not stepping off a little bit like we did tonight.”
Over the final five innings, the Pirates faced the minimum three hitters four times. It led to one of this season’s most common refrains from the manager.
“We just didn’t do enough offensively,” Counsell said. “Simple as that.”
Another concerning trend from the offense
Individually, the Brewers have a number of hitters who have been swinging the bat well recently. William Contreras pushed his hitting streak to 14 games Monday. Mark Canha has been on fire. Carlos Santana, Monday aside, has been good. Tyrone Taylor and Willy Adames have improved after earlier struggles.
The biggest name absent from that list is Christian Yelich.
Yelich had another tough night Monday, going 0 for 3 with a walk, strikeout and rally-killing double play.
Since his OPS reached a season-high .857 following the game on August 4, Yelich is slashing .208/.316/.267 (average/OBP/slugging) for a .583 OPS, with just one homer compared with 31 strikeouts.
Yelich’s OPS has dipped to .802, the lowest it’s been to close a day since June 30.
Safe to say that a Yelich turnaround over the final 25 games would go a long way on this offense.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers lose to Pirates as Corbin Burnes falters, offense struggles
Source: Yahoo Sports