Every now and then, there will be a game where you know a win’s not possible from the first inning on. This was one of those games.
Indians starter Bert Blyleven, who pitched only 11 innings this spring as he recovered from an injured elbow, dominated Brewers hitters. He was perfect through four innings before Ben Oglivie doubled and Don Money singled him home in the fifth. But those were the only two hits the Brewers would get off of Blyleven.
Brewers hitters would manage two more hits off of Cleveland’s bullpen, and they were lucky to get that one run. But considering Brewers’ pitching spotted the Indians eight runs, including three in the first inning, it was an uphill climb from the start.
Mike Caldwell, who we thought had straightened himself out after a rough spring with a solid opening effort against the Blue Jays, rekindled concern with a disastrous 3 1/3 innings today against the Indians. He allowed six of the eight runs on eight hits and two walks. Caldwell also threw two wild pitches (Jerry Augustine joined the party later on with one of his own).
The team we’ve seen the past two games is not the team that started 3-1. While one can certainly place much of the blame on the pitching (Brewers pitchers have allowed six or more runs in each of the last three games), you aren’t going to win many games when your offense scores two runs or fewer, like they have the past two games.
Another concern? Roy Howell. The veteran third baseman, who has voiced his frustration over limited playing time, threw a tantrum after realizing he wasn’t in today’s lineup. He kicked and threw objects as he headed back to the clubhouse, where he kicked and threw some more. Sorry, Roy, but you don’t deserve to play. And if you can’t accept your role, you need to go. The Brewers couldn’t trade him fast enough. I’d take a bag of balls.
The good news? The Brewers head back to Milwaukee tomorrow for the home opener against the Rangers.
Game Notes: The Brewers expect tomorrow’s home opener to be a sell-out even though rain is in the forecast … Parking lots will open for the home opener at 9 am, stadium gates at 11:30 am … Pregame ceremonies, including the Marquette University band, start at 12:45. Brewers will select a fan to throw first ball.