LOS ANGELES -- It could have been a great road trip. Instead it was a good trip that ended with a historically bad loss, sure to amplify concern on the outside about whether the Brewers have the pitching to get where they want to go.After serving up seven homers and
LOS ANGELES -- It could have been a great road trip. Instead it was a good trip that ended with a historically bad loss, sure to amplify concern on the outside about whether the Brewers have the pitching to get where they want to go.
After serving up seven homers and setting a dubious franchise record for runs allowed in a 21-5 loss to the Dodgers, the Brewers boarded a red-eye flight home after winning five of eight games on a trip to San Francisco and L.A. That's pretty good for a traditionally tough West Coast swing -- but it's how the Brewers got to those results that left them sour.
Milwaukee won the first three of four games against the Giants and had an early lead in the finale. They won the first two of four games against the Dodgers and didn't trail in the series until the seventh inning of Game 3.
But that finale slipped away in San Francisco, and the Dodgers powered back to earn a series split in L.A., sealing it by hitting seven home runs while setting a Dodger Stadium record for runs scored in a Thursday night rout that began with each team sending its top starting pitcher to the mound.
Clayton Kershaw gifted the Brewers a run in the first inning with a pair of wild pitches, but was otherwise typical Kershaw.
Jhoulys Chacin was hit hard, and he was not alone. The Brewers had not allowed 20 runs in a game since 1996 against the White Sox. They had never allowed more than that.
"We lost, and we move on to tomorrow," said manager Craig Counsell.
It's that simple?
"Yeah, it is. It is that simple," he said. "That's what we do. We lost, we move on to tomorrow. We split the series. We had a 5-3 road trip, played a good road trip against some tough teams."
The Dodgers hit at least one home run against the first four men the Brewers sent to the mound: Chacin, Matt Albers, Taylor Williams and utility man Hernan Perez, who entered the night with a perfect ERA in three career pitching appearances but was tagged for five of the Dodgers' nine runs in a seventh inning marred by sloppy defense. Catcher Erik Kratz was the only Brewer to pitch and keep the baseball in the yard.
Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig hit two home runs apiece for the Dodgers, but it was Cody Bellinger's grand slam in the third inning that turned the game.
"I think the two series that we've had have been some close games and some blowouts, and that's what happens when you have two good offenses going against each other," said Bellinger. "They're a good team and we are, too, so it's going to be cool to see what happens down the road."
Christian Yelich and Jesus Aguilar went deep for the Brewers. Aguilar's was a three-run shot in the seventh that briefly pulled Milwaukee back within single digits.
New Brewers infielder Jonathan Schoop struck out in all three of his at-bats before departing in a double-switch and is 0-for-8 with six strikeouts since being traded to the Brewers.
Chacin was charged with nine runs (eight earned) on five hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. If the playoffs began tomorrow and the Brewers got in -- they are one game behind the Cubs in the National League Central and currently lead the NL Wild Card race -- there is a chance Chacin would get the baseball in the first game. In his last 20 starts before Thursday, he had a 3.08 ERA.
That made Thursday's matchup against Kershaw an intriguing one on paper, but it didn't exactly turn into a duel.
"I feel like they always have a good lineup; now they have good guys like [Manny] Machado and [Brian] Dozier," Chacin said. "I feel that they are going to be the team to beat in the National League, and hopefully we play against them again."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Disputed walk: Bellinger's slam followed errors charged to Schoop and Orlando Arcia and a hit batsman, and a disputed walk that frustrated Chacin. He had fought back from 3-0 to run the count full against Wednesday's Dodgers hero, Yasmani Grandal, then spun a slider to the low inside corner. Plate umpire Brian Knight called it ball 4 to an animated Chacin's dismay. Two pitches later, Bellinger turned a 2-1 Dodgers lead into a 6-1 lead.
"No excuses," said Chacin. "I just felt that the pitch was right in the middle and he didn't call it. It could have gone a different way. But I couldn't make pitches to the next guy, and when you see it's 6-1 against Kershaw, that's really not something you want to do."
Dozier greets Albers: Dodgers non-waiver Trade Deadline pickup Dozier greeted Albers with a three-run home run, the start of another tough night for the reliever, who has allowed eight earned runs on seven hits (including three homers) in his three outings off the disabled list. He has recorded four outs in those games. He said he is healthy.
"We're going to take a look at it, obviously," Counsell said. "The thing is, he's getting ahead in counts fairly easily. He's actually getting to two strikes very easily with quality strikes. All the damage and the action, really, has been with two strikes, and he's just been unable to kind of get a putaway pitch or a finishing pitch."
For the second time this season, the Brewers endured a loss so lopsided that both Perez and Kratz were called upon to pitch. Only once in the first 49 years of the franchise did multiple position players -- true position players, so two-way threat Brooks Kieschnick is excluded -- pitch in the same game for Milwaukee. Sal Bando, Jim Gantner and Buck Martinez combined to pitch five innings of an Aug. 29, 1979, loss to the Royals.
"We're down 10 in the [seventh], and my thinking is, I'm going to prioritize the next three days over today at that point," Counsell said. "You never want to get to that point, but we were at 21 [games] in a row before the break, we're in 17 in a row after the break, and so getting guys in the bullpen rest when we're down 10 is more important than having them pitch."
HE SAID IT
"Hopefully they fall asleep on the plane and it'll be real easy because we've got a long night ahead of us. We'll sing lullabies on the plane to them and put them to sleep." -- Counsell, on how a team moves past a loss like this
Right-hander Junior Guerra traveled home to Milwaukee ahead of the team, so he's fresh for Friday's 7:10 p.m. CT series opener against the Rockies at Miller Park. It will be the home fans' first look at the Brewers' three non-waiver Trade Deadline acquisitions -- infielders Mike Moustakas and Schoop, and reliever Joakim Soria, all of whom joined the team during its long West Coast trip. Righty German Marquez starts for Colorado.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.