MILWAUKEE — Heading into the season, the Milwaukee Brewers were confident that they had the kind of depth to manage a season’s worth of injuries.
Barely a month into the season, though, they’ve had to tap into that resource way more than they would have liked.
“We’re getting to a point where it’s a little bit too much,” manager Craig Counsell admitted. “We’re losing good players. We’ve lost our primary catcher, our primary left fielder, our closer … we’ve lost some significant pieces. I do think we’re constructed to handle that, but you want your guys out there.”
The Brewers will rely on their depth again Tuesday when Junior Guerra takes the mound in the second game of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park.
After a good showing in spring training, Guerra began the season at Triple-A Nashville, where he made one appearance and won after allowing just one run in 5 2/3 innings.
When the Brewers made a flurry of moves last week as the team looked to reinforce an overworked bullpen and rotation still trying to get settled, Guerra got the call and provided a much-needed lift. He allowed one run, four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“He pitched a really good game,” Counsell said. “That was the big thing. We had come off an extra-inning game the night before and he gave us a very efficient and quality start.”
Another strong outing like that would offer some breathing room to a Brewers offense that’s still missing outfielder Christian Yelich, went two games without outfielder Ryan Braun (back) and first baseman Eric Thames (groin), and also lost catcher Manny Pina to the disabled list (calf).
“I feel like we’re getting healthier,” Counsell said. “I think we’ve been pitching pretty well. We’ve been keeping runs off the board so we’ll try to keep doing a good job of that.”
The Reds haven’t exactly been clicking on all cylinders, either. They arrived in Milwaukee off to their slowest start since 1931 but snapped an eight-game losing streak Monday night with a 10-4 romp over the Brewers.
“A win is salve regardless of how early or late you are in the season,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “A win makes everyone feel better. It’s a long time coming, but it certainly feels good to win.”
It will be up to Sal Romano (0-1, 5.87 ERA) to keep it going. He has given up at least three runs in each of his three starts this season and couldn’t get out of the fifth inning his last time out when the Cardinals collected four runs (three earned), five hits and four walks in a 13-4 loss.
Two of the runs came in the opening inning, and Romano knows he needs to set a better tone.
“Physically, I felt good,” he said. “That first inning has really been a problem. I know it’s only been three starts. But I’ve got to finish the inning.”
All three of his career starts against Milwaukee came last year. He took the loss in all three, posting a 7.24 ERA with 15 strikeouts and seven walks in 13 2/3 innings.