Wilson's command escapes him in costly eight-run inning

June 9th, 2024

DETROIT -- Brewers right-hander had been a model of consistency this season, but the Tigers got to him for seven runs over 4 1/3 innings in Milwaukee’s 10-2 loss at Comerica Park on Sunday afternoon.

Wilson entered Sunday with a 2.76 ERA as a starter, and an overall ERA of 3.35 -- he made eight relief appearances early in the season -- but all five batters he put on base in a costly fifth inning ended up scoring, and Detroit made its six hits against him count.

“For inning two, three [and] four he was great,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said of Wilson, who trailed 2-0 after four and was keeping his team in the game against Detroit ace Tarik Skubal. “He had his cutter and his sinker [working]. But in the first inning and [the fifth] you can’t, if you’re Bryce, walk people. That’s not his ticket to being an effective starter. The walks hurt him and he doesn’t have overpowering stuff.”

Both batters he walked scored, and the Tiger he hit twice, Mark Canha, came home both times.

Riley Greene smoked an RBI double off Wilson in the first inning, but he settled down nicely for three scoreless innings and appeared like he had found his groove.

Then that lack of control got Wilson in trouble in the fifth.

Wenceel Pérez started the eight-run inning by beating out a bunt. Then Matt Vierling lined out to right before Wilson hit Canha for the second time and Greene walked. Gio Urshela knocked in a pair with a single, and Justyn-Henry Malloy walked to re-load the bases.

Murphy removed Wilson at that point after 89 pitches (57 strikes). Hoby Milner then entered and allowed all three inherited runners to score by giving up two singles and a three-run homer to Jake Rogers.

Wilson spoke over the weekend about using his changeup more -- particularly against left-handed hitters -- but threw just one against a Detroit starting lineup that featured only three lefties.

That one changeup ended up going to the warning track on Greene’s first-inning double.

Wilson explained why he didn’t throw more changeups: “It was three lefties, and changeups aren’t the best pitch to Pérez. [Zach] McKinstry, I felt I could get out with the cutter and curveball. There was really nowhere else to throw it.”

Asked how hitting Canha factored into his day, Wilson said, “A lot, considering they were both with two strikes. I’ve probably hit him four or five times in my career, and it’s the same pitch every single time. Awesome dude. Played with him last year [on the Brewers]. I’m not doing it on purpose, for sure … It would’ve been great to at least make him earn his way on.”

• Murphy opted to rest starting catcher William Contreras, who had started the first 64 games this season and 101 straight dating back to 2023. The last primary catcher to exceed that streak was Salvador Perez of the Royals with 122 straight from 2020-21. Contreras was a designated hitter for 23 of those 101 games.

• Contreras and shortstop Willy Adames, who did start on Sunday, set the franchise record for teammates starting consecutive games to start a season on Saturday with 64 apiece. Contreras also had the fourth-longest streak in the Majors by all positions broken Sunday as veteran Gary Sánchez started behind the plate.

• Andruw Monasterio played first base on Sunday for the first time in the Majors, when Murphy decided to give starter Rhys Hoskins a break and slot him in at DH. Monasterio has previously played third base (61 games), second base (39), shortstop (five) and left field (one).

“He’s had really good at-bats in limited time and we need him in there,” Murphy said of Monasterio at first.

He was challenged defensively in the first inning, knocking down a liner hit down the line by McKinstry. He quickly retrieved it before putting the tag on McKinstry.

“[Andruw] is a great bench player for us,” noted Murphy. “It was the first time he ever played first base, and that was a great thing. [He] filled in big. You give him four at-bats, and he’s going to do some things. He’ll conduct a professional at-bat for a young player. I’m glad he’s on our club.”