MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t wait to get rid of Randy Lerch. He was removed from the rotation after a start on July 30. He made his last relief appearance on August 2nd. After a pretty decent spot start as part of a double header on August 12th, Lerch was sold to the Montreal Expos. Today, Doc Medich made his debut as Lerch’s replacement.
The verdict? Not impressive. He allowed only two runs through 5 1/3 innings, but the Blue Jays had six hits and walked six times. As a veteran arm, Medich is supposed to stabilize the bullpen. So far, not so good.
The play of the game was in the Brewers’ half of the sixth inning. After Ned Yost led off with a single, Paul Molitor came to the plate. He squared to bunt, pulled the bat back and slapped it down the third base line. Rance Mulliniks made a nice play to stab the ball and throw to second for the force. Damaso Garcia turned and fired to first. First base umpire Larry Barnett called him out. Manager Harvey Kuenn busted out of the dugout to argue the clear mistake, but to no avail. There were two outs and no one on.
Robin Yount then launched his 20th home run of the season over the left field wall. It was a solo shot to tie the game at two instead of giving the Brewers a 3-2 lead.
Jim Slaton, who relieved Medich in the top of the sixth, was terrific. For the first 2 2/3 innings of relief, Slaton didn’t allow a baserunner. Then, with Rollie Fingers unavailable with a sore pitching elbow, Slaton walked Alfredo Griffin to lead off the ninth. After a sacrifice bunt and a flyout, Ernie Whitt hit an RBI single with two outs for the eventual game winning run.
After winning the first three games of a five game series with the Blue Jays, the Brewers blew the final two. Suddenly, there are questions. Is Doc Medich the answer? Though Fingers’ injury is not thought to be serious, can this team win without him?
“At this point, we’ll stay with what we have,” Kuenn said in regards to the starting rotation. “You never can tell. Maybe we’ll make another deal.”
Only players with the team before August 31st are eligible for the postseason, so if a deal is going to be made it needs to be made soon. After seeing Medich today, one needs to be made soon.
The good news is that Fingers received a cortisone shot and is expected to be back for the Oakland series, which starts on August 17 following a day off.
Game Notes: The Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles to pull back to within 4 1/2 games of the Brewers in the AL East. … Damaso Garcia was picked off for the third time in the series. … In the sixth inning, Cecil Cooper recorded a single, his 1,000th hit as a member of the Brewers. … Prior to the game, Jerry Miodzik of Port Edwards was named the winner of the Rollie Fingers Look-Alike Handlebar Mustache Contest. Fingers picked the winner from 11 finalists, and there were more than 600 entries from across the state. … Gorman Thomas hit his 32nd home run of the season.