ARLINGTON, Tex. — On April 18, the Brewers were 3-6 and had lost their fifth game in a row. Two of the three wins were against the hapless Toronto Blue Jays. Needless to say, it was a jarring start to the season.
Five games and five wins later, the Brewers are 8-6. While pitching may not have been on display today, that didn’t make it any less enjoyable of a win. After scoring 14 and 15 runs in the first three games and nine runs in the fourth, the Brewers averaged just over three runs per game over the next nine games, including the last four wins.
Even though we knew this team could hit, it was nice to get the reminder. And it wasn’t just hitting. It was timely hitting. These were the Brewers of old. Start out behind, take a lead, extend that lead to 5-2, lose that lead, regain the lead and finally put it away.
On the mound, the struggles centered around Bob McClure. McClure couldn’t survive the fifth, allowing six earned runs on five hits and four walks.
But Dwight Bernard and Rollie Fingers held the game together. That’s right, even Dwight Bernard, who allowed only three hits in 2 2/3 scoreless innings. It was Bernard’s first clean outing since April 10, but it was key to this win.
Rollie Fingers is back to being Rollie Fingers. He pitched two shutout innings today, allowing only a hit. Since scaring the crap out of Brewers fans in his first three appearances, Fingers has allowed only two hits in five scoreless innings. Yeah, Rollie’s fine.
But offense was the story of this game. Robin Yount had four hits. Cecil Cooper had three and drove in three, including the game winner. Even Roy Howell had a couple of hits and Jim Gantner capped the scoring with a home run.
It was an entertaining game. It was nice to see the offense. It was reassuring to see the bullpen hold things together. It’s a reminder that this team is talented and deserves to win.
But Bob McClure’s performance is also a reminder of what could be this team’s downfall: Starting pitching.
Game Notes: Cecil Cooper’s three hits raised his batting average to .459 … Bernard’s win was his first with Brewers and first since 1978 with Mets. His parents were in crowd to see it … Jim Gantner, who was recently slumping, has seven hits in his last four games … Ted Simmons flew back to St. Louis for a cortisone shot in his elbow, which he does every six weeks.