WASHINGTON — The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t get the Chase Anderson they’ve come to expect at the moment they needed him most. It wasn’t the Anderson that has lit up the scene since the All-Star break and it wasn’t the Anderson anyone has ever seen in his career.
A day after the Brewers used their entire bullpen in a 14-inning roller coaster, Anderson exited Sunday’s 16-8 loss to the Washington Nationals after being tagged for a career-high 10 runs in 2⅓ innings, capping a wild weekend in the nation’s capital that saw Milwaukee drop two of three and not do itself any favors in both the NL Central Division and wild card races.
“This loss is definitely on me, and I take full responsibility for that,” Anderson said. “But I know I’ll be better next time and try to bounce back and move on.”
Sunday was a stark deviation from the norm for the right-hander, who entered the day with a 2.84 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break and a 3.78 mark for the season. That number jumped to 4.54 against Washington.
What bothered Anderson most was his durability, especially given the circumstances. Milwaukee stranded the bases loaded in the first inning, and then Anderson allowed the first two he faced to reach in the bottom of the inning. Anderson then recorded two straight outs before conceding back-to-back home runs to Matt Adams and Victor Robles.
“He gave up four in the first, and that’s a tough way to start,” Brewers manager Crag Counsell said. “We never got a chance, really.”
For Anderson, success will manifest itself when he is finally able to pitch into the seventh for the first time this season.
“My goal is to pitch deeper into games,” Anderson said. “If I give up two or three runs, that’s OK, but I really want to pitch in the sixth and seventh inning, and I know what I need to do to do that. … My goal is to go out next time and throw up seven and seven zeros.”
Anderson’s afternoon also highlighted the ongoing peaks and pitfalls that the pitching staff seems unable to eradicate. The Brewers entered Saturday having held opponents to three or fewer runs in five of their previous eight games. In the final two games against Washington, Milwaukee gave up 30 runs.
On Sunday, that trend was exacerbated by the long ball. While Milwaukee launched four of its own — including a pair from Mike Moustakas — the Nationals tied a club record with eight homers, which also matched a Brewers record for most in a game, which has now happened four times. The last time Milwaukee gave up eight homers in a game also was at Nationals Park on July 27, 2017.
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“We’ve had a bunch of good days in a row of pitching, and for whatever reason, the last two days, it’s homer ball out there,” Counsell said. “For both teams.”
“Homers are up all over the league, and this place shows that,” Anderson said. “This place used to be a pretty good place to pitch, and now it’s more of a bandbox, if you ask me. If you get it, it’s going to go, for sure. But if you mishit it, it’s got a possibility to go, too.”
The trouble didn’t stop after Anderson. Enter Aaron Wilkerson, who was notified at 12:30 a.m. of his callup (along with right-hander Jay Jackson) during a 13-inning game for Class AAA San Antonio and boarded a flight around 5 a.m. It was a scheduled start day for Wilkerson, so he was able to provide 4⅓ innings to help keep Milwaukee’s bullpen fresh ahead of a big series in St. Louis. The right-hander allowed five runs on eight hits (four homers).
Even Hernan Perez could not be spared when the utility man entered in the eighth inning for his third appearance on the mound this year. He allowed his first runs of the season in the eighth inning on a Brian Dozier two-run home run.
Washington's Juan Soto hit two homers Sunday and became the third player in major league history with 50 home runs before his 21st birthday. Soto, who turns 21 on Oct. 25, joined Mel Ott (61) and Tony Conigliaro (56). After the game Counsell took a shot at explaining Soto's success.
"He's got excellent plate discipline," Counsell said. "He makes great decisions on balls and strikes — that's the biggest thing. There aren't many that have that discipline at the plate."
From the infirmary
Brewers catcher Yasmani Grandal was out of the lineup after Counsell said the two-time All-Star lost an excessive amount of weight during Saturday’s 5 hour, 40-minute game. Grandal entered in the eighth as a pinch hitter. ... Outfielder Lorenzo Cain injured his oblique on Friday and was unavailable both Saturday and Sunday. Counsell is hoping he will be available on Monday.
The Brewers open a series against NL Central leader St. Louis on Monday night. Milwaukee will send out Zach Davies (8-5, 3.74 ERA), while the Cardinals will start Dakota Hudson (11-6, 3.82 ERA)