The Milwaukee Brewers needed some errors yesterday by the Chicago Cubs to help them plate runs. Today, the Cubs cleaned up their defense and Edwin Jackson pitched a gem, resulting in a goose egg for the Crew’s run column.
Jackson stymied the Brewers’ bats, striking out 11 and giving up only four hits through seven innings. His fastball was well located and his slider was tight, and he made the Brewers look foolish on offense.
Matt Garza went seven innings as well, but his string of bad first innings continued. He gave up all three runs in the first, leaving pitches up in the zone for Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo to capitalize on. After the first inning, Garza settled down, just like he has in seemingly every other start. He allowed four costly hits and struck out seven.
Garza has pitched extremely well after his first inning of work, and these slow starts are so infuriating. Garza pitches from innings two through seven like an ace, but the first inning always looks like he’s making his major league debut. Of course, three runs over seven innings is still a solid outing and does keep the Brewers in ballgames. It just turned out today that the opposing pitcher was absolutely dirty and untouchable.
I’m not sure what’s up with Garza. It cannot possibly be nerves; Garza is a seasoned veteran pitcher. So what in the world is his problem with first innings? Beats me. I just wish it would stop. These first innings are killing his ERA and record.
As for the bats, the Brewers have gone up against the Cubs’ best pitchers the last two days. Even though the Cubs are a sub-par team, they still have talent. However, the Brewers have more talent and need to win these types of games to stay ahead in the NL Central. St. Louis is going to be nipping at Milwaukee’s heels all year, and the Brewers need to cash in on the struggling teams they face. I don’t think the Brewers are in a funk offensively as a team. Jackson was just absolutely spot on with his pitch location. When he made some mistakes, the Brewers put the ball in play. He just didn’t make many mistakes.
Milwaukee just needs to shake this shutout off and come back with guns blazing tomorrow. These divisional games against sub-par foes must be taken advantage of, or the Brewers will find themselves out of first place and forced to chase the ever-dangerous Cardinals for the NL Central.