Brewers still stranding too many runners
Hitting slump continues in scoring situations
PITTSBURGH -- The at-bats were better, manager Ron Roenicke said. Unfortunately for the Brewers, the results were mostly the same Friday night.
The Brewers' early season offensive woes followed them to PNC Park, where they began a three-game series against the Pirates with a 6-3 loss that dropped their record to 2-8.
Milwaukee's lineup put together eight hits, but only one with a runner in scoring position. And that one came from shortstop Jean Segura with two outs in the ninth inning, after Pittsburgh had already bolstered its lead with a three-run eighth.
"It's better, but it's the same thing," Roenicke said. "We get those guys out there and we're not picking them up. They get their guys out there and they're picking them up. That's the ballgame."
That's the story of the season so far for the Brewers, who have been outscored 54-26 through their first 10 games. They've hit only three home runs -- six players in the Majors have more -- and stolen only one base.
To succeed, the Brewers need their offense to lead the way. More specifically, they need their best hitters to do so. That wasn't the case on Friday night against right-hander Vance Worley and four Pirates relievers.
Segura finished 2-for-5 with an RBI, bringing his average to .333, and Roenicke praised him afterward. But Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun, Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez -- the club's Nos. 2-5 hitters -- combined to go just 1-for-16 with a walk and four strikeouts.
"You have to have your frontline guys ... that are doing some damage, and right now we're not," Roenicke said. "They're going to hit.
"It's hard night after night seeing when we do get opportunities that we're not coming through."
The Brewers had a few key opportunities go to waste in Friday's series opener. They took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but it came on an RBI groundout by Gerardo Parra with two men on and one out.
After smashing two outs to the warning track, Braun came to the plate in the fifth with two runners on and one out, only to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Parra drove in Khris Davis, who went 3-for-4, in the sixth to keep the game close. But the Pirates took a four-run lead in the eighth, and that was too far out of reach for the Brewers.
"I'm seeing some good at-bats from some guys. That's encouraging," Roenicke said. "But still, we need to put this thing together and have them in a row so when you get that opportunity to score, you're coming through with another hit and trying to add on and get some more runs.
"Two runs a game, three runs a game -- that's not going to do it."