KANSAS CITY — The Brewers’ four-game winning streak ended on one painful pitch.
Royals’ centerfielder Amos Otis isn’t supposed to be a fastball hitter. Rollie Fingers knew that when he delivered a heater up around his neck on the first pitch to lead off the ninth in a 2-2 game. Maybe Otis knew that Fingers knew that he wasn’t a fastball hitter. Because he obviously knew what was coming.
Otis tomahawked that pitch into the bleachers to end the game.
It was painful on many levels…
It was painful for Rollie Fingers, who has entered five tied games and lost four of them. In fact, the last time the Brewers lost was also against the Royals. In the ninth inning. With Rollie Fingers on the mound. In a 3-2 Royals win. You don’t want to say confidence in Fingers is wavering, but he hasn’t been the lockdown closer that he was a year ago when he was virtually unhittable.
It was painful for Moose Haas, who again pitched well enough to win but didn’t. Haas went 7 2/3 innings today, allowing only two runs on seven hits and no walks. He is now 1-1 with four no-decisions, including three that were lost by Fingers. Moose has allowed five runs in his last 23 2/3 innings pitched while getting five runs of support. He’s walked only one batter in 42 innings, yet he can’t buy a win.
We can blame Rollie, but you can’t beat a power-packed Royals squad when you score only two runs. You’re not going to score many runs when your four, five, six and seven hitters go a combined 0-for-15. This lineup is supposed to be potent. They love the home run ball. They dig stepping on home plate. But they aren’t doing it nearly enough lately to compensate for an only average pitching staff.
It’s only one loss. The Brewers are still in second place, only 3 1/2 games back of the Red Sox. And you can’t expect to beat a talented team like the Royals every time.
But this loss still stings.
Game Notes: Bob McClure, who had been hit on the elbow by a line drive in his last start, will throw on the side tomorrow. Jim Slaton is expected to start in his place … Mark Brouhard left the game in the sixth inning with a stiff calf muscle. A calf injury knocked him out of action for much of the final month of last season.