PITTSBURGH -- Chase Anderson said he'll be fine once he finds his fastball command. Matt Garza said he'll be fine once he commits to offspeed stuff earlier in outings. And Brewers manager Craig Counsell, confronted with the ongoing struggles of those two starting pitchers, said the team will plow forward without altering its rotation.
"We're going to go with those guys right now," Counsell said after Garza's five-inning outing in Thursday's 5-3 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park.
With Opening Day starter Wily Peralta and No. 3 starter Taylor Jungmann already toiling in the Minor Leagues, Counsell and the Brewers are not exactly flush with alternatives. Still, Counsell acknowledged the team needs more from Anderson and Garza, saying, "to get some wins, you need to pitch a little better, for sure."
In his past six starts, Anderson is 0-4 with a 9.13 ERA and has completed five innings once. He has surrendered five home runs in those games, 19 walks versus 17 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings, and opposing hitters have a .337 average.
In his past five starts, Garza is 1-4 with a 9.08 ERA and has completed six innings once. He has surrendered four home runs in those games, 12 walks versus 15 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings, and opposing hitters have a .336 average.
On Thursday, Garza's outing was ruined by one pitch. Outfielder Matt Joyce, a late addition to the Pirates' lineup because All-Star Starling Marte had a migraine, followed consecutive one-out walks in the first inning by hitting a misplaced fastball for a three-run home run. It left his bat at 108 mph, according to Statcast™, before rifling through the hot air to the right-field seats.
"They say this game is a game of inches; it broke right two inches, homer. If it breaks left two inches, then he jams himself and pops it up," Garza said. "You put your team in a hole, 3-0, against the night [Pirates starter Francisco] Liriano had tonight, you are fighting an uphill battle.
"I've been doing that the whole year. Searching for my arm strength, searching for my breaking stuff, and tonight I had it all. I had the curveball, I had a good slider, I had a good changeup. I just waited too long to use it. I waited too long to go soft, and I paid for it."
The rest of his outing was more in control. The Pirates scored an unearned run in the third with help from an error charged to right fielder Hernán Pérez. They scored again in the fourth with four consecutive one-out singles, the first three of which were softly hit.
The Brewers fell to 1-6 in Garza's starts since the right-hander returned from a 2 1/2-month stint on the disabled list for a lat strain.
"I was throwing the ball 93 [mph] instead of 91. It wasn't a bad, bad outing," he said. "You just keep going and keep digging. It's there. I've seen it. I saw it and felt it today."