Is Peralta's spot in the rotation in jeopardy?

May 15th, 2016

MILWAUKEE -- Is the Brewers' Opening Day starter on the verge of losing his rotation spot?

In the wake of Wily Peralta's latest loss, Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell could not definitively say.

"We'll talk about it," Counsell said Saturday, when asked whether Peralta would continue to start. "We have to look at the big picture of everything. It's certainly got to be better."

The priority, Counsell said in a continuation of the discussion Sunday morning, is, "What do we have to do to help Wily? That's the first issue. That precedes anything. What do we need to do to get him going and get him productive?"

Peralta surrendered six runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings against the Padres, putting the Brewers in a 6-2 hole after Wil Myers and Matt Kemp hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth. The Brewers fought back to tie the game in the eighth but lost in 12 innings, 8-7.

Through seven starts, Peralta is 2-4 with a 7.30 ERA. He has surrendered a WHIP of 1.992, the worst mark in the Majors and on pace for the second-worst WHIP in club history for a starting pitcher with at least 40 innings. Bill Parsons had a 2.112 WHIP in 59 2/3 innings in 1973.

Since posting a 3.52 ERA in 2014, when Peralta won 17 games, he has a 5.42 ERA in his last 28 starts.

"Every hitter, I felt I was behind," Peralta said. "It's hard to pitch like that. That's what's going to happen; I'm going to get hit. You can't do that."

What is the answer?

"Keep working," he said. "Try to do the best I can to execute next time. It's all about executing a pitch."

The Brewers have a number of choices available:

• They could continue to pitch Peralta on schedule and let him work through his troubles.

• They could bump back Peralta's next start, affording an extra bullpen session. An off day in the schedule Monday would allow the Brewers to give Peralta six full days off, or they could skip him entirely and use a series of relief pitchers for one game this week.

• They could move Peralta to the bullpen for a period of time.

• They could option him to Triple-A, like the Brewers did with struggling starter Taylor Jungmann last month. Peralta has one Minor League option remaining, and is shy of the five years of Major League service a player needs to refuse an optional assignment.

Peralta said he has been watching video of his 2014 outings, searching for positives to work on during bullpen sessions between starts. So far, he and first-year pitching coach Derek Johnson have not found solutions.

Only twice this season has Peralta completed six innings. Both were quality starts, but one only qualified because of Peralta's own throwing error, and he surrendered 10 Marlins hits in the other.

"We're searching for answers right now," Counsell said. "We have to figure out how we can improve it or get it better. It's got to be better."