Sabathia watches no run support for McClung in 4-3 loss
C.C. Sabathia made it to Miller Park Monday night for his first game in a Brewers' uniform...but, after the fanfare died down, he saw the Brewers imitate the Indians--provide little run support for their starting pitcher. Seth McClung was out-dueled by Rockies' starter Ubaldo Jimenez--both kept their opponent off the board for the first three innings. But the Rockies plated a run in apiece in innings 4-7 (McClung was charged with two of them), to give the Rox a 4-0 lead after 7 innings.
The Crew came back in the bottom of the 8th...sort of. Taylor Buchholz came in to pitch for Jimenez...First, Gabe Kapler hits a squibbler down the first-base line that Rockies' first baseman Joe Koshansky bobbled to allow Kapler to reach first on an error. Buchholz gave the Crew their second gift of the inning after throwing a wild pitch to advance Kapler to second; the third gift came when catcher Chris Iannetta and third baseman Garrett Atkins both watched Craig Counsell's pop-up in front of home plate fall to the ground. Buchholz then walked J.J. Hardy on five pitches to load the bases for Ryan Braun. In what can only be termed a perverse sense of justice from a higher power wanting to undo the imbalance of the inning, Braun's line drive up the middle caught the pitcher's mound, thus causing the base hit to turn into a soft grounder, which the Rockies' infield turned into a double play--but Kapler scored on the play, while Counsell advanced to third. Prince Fielder then proceeded to smash a 2-run home run to deep center to bring the Crew to within one, but that was the end of the scoring for the Brewers for the night.
Sabathia gets the start Tuesday night. Sabathia's addition, coupled with Jeff Suppan going on the 15-day DL, has enabled Ned Yost to adjust the rotation to McClung, Sabathia, Bush, Sheets, and Parra. Parra was moved back in the rotation by a few days to enable him to start against the Reds, a team stocked with left-handed hitters, according to Adam McCalvy at mlb.com. As such, Parra was able to get in an inning of relief work Monday night. McClung and Sabathia are then slated to pitch this weekend against the Reds heading into the All-Star break, giving Sheets a full five days worth of rest before pitching in the All-Star game.
When the Brewers return from the break, Ned Yost gets to align his rotation anyway he sees fit, as the Crew doesn't play again until Friday in San Francisco. If Sheets only pitches one inning Tuesday night, he should be okay to go next Friday night against the Giants. Sabathia would likely go second, possibly followed by either the right-handed Dave Bush or McClung. Yost will likely keep his stretch-run rotation a secret as long as possible, and might want to surprise folks by moving Parra into the #3 spot, after the left-handed Sabathia, in hopes of gaining an edge (teams would not be able to utilize righty vs. lefty platoons as much...in other words, righties that would have otherwise gotten a day off will have to play back-to-back games). With four games against the second-place Cardinals right after the Giants' series, Yost will want to align his rotation so Sheets and Sabathia each make a start against the Redbirds, possible if Sheets and Sabathia pitch in the first two games in S.F. so they'd pitch the last two games in St. Louis. With Albert Pujols, Ryan Ludwick, and Troy Glaus all being right-handed hitters, Yost could likely opt for Parra to start on Sunday versus the Giants, leaving the righties McClung and Bush for the Cards' series.