Fiers' wildness extends Crew's pitching woes
KANSAS CITY -- Here's one signal of the Brewers' rotation struggles this season: They have a premium catcher in Jonathan Lucroy and a capable defensive backup in Martin Maldonado, yet they lead the National League in wild pitches, a total that grew to 34 with three in Wednesday's 10-2 loss to the Royals. Ten of those misfires have come in 16 games in June, putting the Brewers on a pace for 82 in 162 games. The dubious club record is 71, set in 2010.
"I think Jonathan is the best in the game at blocking balls, so I would say that's more fluky," manager Craig Counsell said. "Wild pitches, they're bad misses is what they are. They're on the pitcher.
"Our starters ... We have to get more from our starters. That stretch where we played well was from sound starting pitching and defense. Now you get in holes like this, and it's not going to be pretty. You're not going to win games."
Wednesday's loss was the Brewers' third in as many days to the Royals (by a combined score of 25-9) and fifth in a row overall (by a margin of 36-11). Before that the Brewers had won consecutive series against the contending Twins and Pirates.
Now the team is back in a pitching funk that continued Wednesday with Fiers, who surrendered six runs on eight hits in five innings, struck out only two batters and became the first Brewers pitcher to throw three wild pitches in a game since Manny Parra set a franchise record with four against the Twins on June 23, 2010.
Fiers tipped his cap to the Royals, who did their scoring in bunches with three runs in the second inning (with help from two of the wild pitches) and three more in the fifth. Fiers took the blame for spiking curveballs too far from home plate for Lucroy to block.
Six Royals players drove in a run against Fiers.
"I looked back at the video, and I had a lot of these guys with two strikes, and then they were able to get on," Fiers said. "I need to find a way to finish them off."
The outing derailed Fiers' recent surge, as he had a 2.97 ERA over his previous seven starts.
"We have to put this behind us and focus on the next game," he said. "That's all you can do."