Results tagged ‘ Randy Wolf ’

Wolf impressive again amid offensive outburst

MILWAUKEE — On any other night, Randy Wolf’s performance would have been the story of the game. But with the way the Brewers hitters were swinging the bats, a quality start and a 2-for-4 performance at the plate got lost in the shuffle.

 

Making Wolf’s outing even more impressive was the way he responded after his club put up eight runs in the second and five more in the next three innings. Often with such long innings offensively, a team’s pitcher tends to struggle going back out on the mound.

Wolf just got better as the game went along.

“There were some long breaks, but the main thing is, when it’s that kind of score, you’ve got to go out there and feel like it’s nothing, nothing,” Wolf said. “If you go out there and you see it’s 8-1, 13-1… all of a sudden it’s four runs, five runs and they’re creeping their way back.

“As a pitcher, you’ve got to keep you focus and pitch the right way. You really don’t want to totally change your aggressive or change your whole philosophy just because of the score.”

Not only did Wolf pitch well as his team sent 34 hitters to the plate in the second through fifth innings, he did so after fighting through a rough first inning.

Wolf opened the game giving up three singles and a walk in the top of the first. Fortunately, the veteran lefty managed to hold the NL Central-leading Reds to just one run in the inning.

“Wolfy, another good outing for him,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha. “He got help with some defense in the first inning, a tremendous play by [Ryan] Braun getting the ball off the wall to get their leadoff hitter.”

With a fortunate out on his side, Wolf got the next batter to hit a grounder back to the mound. But with just one out to go in the inning, he walked Jay Bruce and surrendered back-to-back singles before striking out Yonder Alonso to end the inning.

That strikeout was the first of four in a row for Wolf and the beginning of a stretch of 11 consecutive batters retired. Wolf did not allow another hit until the a leadoff double in the sixth off the bat of Paul Janish, who replaced Orlando Cabrera at shortstop.

“I didn’t really have the command I wanted early on,” Wolf said. “Luckily, as the game went on I felt better and better and felt more comfortable out there and I was able to mix my pitches and work my fastball in and out.”

Tossing six strong innings while allowing just one run on four hits with seven strikeouts against two walks, Wolf posted his fourth straight quality start in September. This month, Wolf is 3-1 with a 1.21 ERA, allowing just four runs on 18 hits in 29 2/3 innings pitched.

Since his infamous 12-run outing in Pittsburgh, Wolf has gone 6-2 with a 2.57 ERA in his last 11 starts, giving up 21 earned runs over 73 2/3 innings pitched. In his 31 other starts not including that July 21 loss, Wolf is 13-10 with a 3.81 ERA.

“Randy was great again,” shortstop Craig Counsell said. “He’s been on quite a roll, and he’s put together a good season — a really good season.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

More thoughts on golf, pitching from Peterson

When asked a simple question about the changes Randy Wolf has made since the beginning of the season, Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson had plenty to say.

His wealth of information on the subject was particularly interesting considering the subtlety of the change in Wolf’s delivery.
“I wouldn’t even call it a change. I’d call it a very subtle adjustment,” Peterson said.
Nonetheless, Peterson went on for a few minutes about Wolf and the relationship between golf and pitching. Here are some additional thoughts that were not included in today’s story on Brewers.com:
“You try to pinpoint what it is that’s causing him to [struggle]. It’s either something in his delivery or it’s something in his concentration level, and it wasn’t anything in his concentration level. Randy prepares at as high a level as anybody can prepare. He’s totally dedicated and committed.
“The only thing that we really talked about was tempo. One of the things that Randy shared with me in Spring Training was that he wanted to make sure his tempo remained slow.”
“Randy’s an athlete. He’s very athletic, and everything that he does, including his golf swing, really has an athletic upbeat tempo. Yet his delivery is just so slow that maybe if we speed up the tempo a little bit, that will allow him to be more on time and allow him to better execute pitches.
“It’s amazing at this level how subtle the difference can be. If you take a look at games, even as some of our guys have gone through struggles, out of 100 pitches, it’s not 15 pitches that they’re off, it’s maybe three or four, and there goes your whole game.”
“When you hear golfers talk about their golf swings, they can be like elusive mistresses sometimes. You can’t really figure out what it is, but they’ve always got a coach with them. 
“They’ve got a coach right there with them before every tournament. Golf and pitching are very similar in that way. The differences are just so subtle in both.”
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Change in tempo pays off for Wolf

For the Brewers final off day of the 2010 season, we have a look at what veteran left-hander Randy Wolf has done since a 12-run outing in late July that has led to his impressive late season performance.
According to Wolf and pitching coach Rick Peterson, it had everything to do with his tempo. Below is a preview of the story that will be on Brewers.com later today:

MILWAUKEE — A year ago, Randy Wolf put together a career-best season with the Dodgers.
From start to finish, Wolf was one of the league’s most consistent pitchers as he posted a handful of career-best numbers, including 214 1/3 innings pitched and a 1.101 WHIP.

 

Opening the 2010 season with the Milwaukee Brewers, that consistency seemed to escape Wolf. He looked nothing like the pitcher he was for Los Angeles, stumbling out to a 4-6 record with a 5.31 ERA through 13 starts in the first two months of the season.

“I just knew something wasn’t right,” Wolf said of his struggles.

Over that stretch, Wolf mixed in impressive outings, as he tossed six scoreless innings at Pittsburgh on April 20 and seven scoreless against the Astros on May 25. More frequently, however, Wolf struggled, as he did in allowing eight runs over 4 2/3 on June 9 to the Cubs.

As he watched his club’s newly acquired veteran left-hander struggle, Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson struggled himself as he searched for an answer.

“You’re trying to pinpoint what exactly it is. Why exactly is he struggling? What’s different from the year before and this year?” Peterson said.

“So I went and I looked at all the pitch f/x information going back three years, taking a look at his vertical and horizontal movement on all his pitches, and the velocities on all his pitches. They were all the same. It was actually identical.”

If his stuff was the same early in 2010 as it was throughout the last three seasons, why were Wolf’s numbers so much more inconsistent?

Following his rough outing on June 9, Wolf bounced back, going 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA over his next seven starts. Wolf’s next start after that stretch, July 21 at Pittsburgh, was his worst yet. Entering with a 4.56 ERA, Wolf surrendered a career-high 12 runs on 13 hits over 5 2/3 innings pitched, causing his ERA to jump to 5.20.

While that Pittsburgh outing certainly was forgettable, the silver lining was that it marked the date Peterson and Wolf finally figured out what change was necessary.

“The difference, from this year to past, was that he just wasn’t making pitches,” Peterson said. “For whatever reason, he was missing location consistently. Everything else was the same, but that makes a huge difference.

“What I think had happened was that his slow tempo had worked for a long period of time, but now it was almost so slow that it was affecting his release point and his ability to execute pitches.”

For more on Wolf’s adjustments since that rough outing Pittsburgh on July 26, watch for the full story on Brewers.com later today.

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Good news for Wolf: No fracture

An MRI scan of Brewers left hander Randy Wolf’s left wrist confirmed what an x-ray revealed Sunday, that Wolf has no fractures after being struck by a Hunter Pence line drive in Sunday’s loss at Houston. 

Instead, Wolf was diagnosed with a bruise and will be re-evaluated by the Brewers’ medical staffers today to determine how much time, if any, he will miss. His next scheduled start would be Friday Saturday, again against the Astros but this time at Miller Park.
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X-rays negative for Wolf, MRI coming Monday

Brewers left-hander Randy Wolf was struck above his left hand by a line drive in Sunday’s game against the Astros and forced to make an early exit. 
Wolf was working on a gem, having allowed only five hits and no runs through his first six innings of work, when Astros outfielder Hunter Pence lined a pitch back up the middle leading off the seventh. Brewers head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger came out for a look and Wolf immediately exited. 
He was taken to a local hospital for x-rays, which were negative. Wolf will travel back to Milwaukee for a Monday morning appointment with Brewers head physician William Raasch, who will perform an MRI scan.
The 33-year-old is in the first season of a three-year contract and was working on his second consecutive quality start. He limited the Reds to two runs on five hits six days earlier in Milwaukee, and with only 75 pitches through his first six innings on Sunday, might have had a chance for his first complete game since 2008. 
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Brewers pitchers raking at plate

MILWAUKEE — Facing the Brewers, the No. 9 spot in the batting order is hardly an easy out. Yovani Gallardo reaffirmed that Tuesday night, going 1-for-1 with a solo homer and a walk.

 

With a .219 batting average, Brewers pitchers lead the National League. Milwaukee’s pitching staff is tied for first with 33 hits and 14 runs. Brewers pitchers also rank first in home runs (3), RBI (14), doubles (8), on-base percentage (.261), slugging percentage (.331), and OPS (.592).

Along with their success, the Brewers staff has even coined a phrase to describe it.

“These guys have got a quote in here in the dugout,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha, “they say, ‘Pitchers rake.’”

While the hurlers’ ability to swing that bat has come in handy quite a bit of late, Macha would like to see them improve on another aspect of the game at the plate: bunting.

The Brewers rank last in the NL with just eight sacrifice bunts, while they have four times as many hits.

“We’ve been working on our bunting,” Macha said. “We’ve got more hits than we do sacrifice bunts. So we’ve been putting some time in on the bunting because eventually we’re going to need to move [a runner] up.”

Still, on the current homestand, Brewers pitchers have been even better at the plate than their season average of .219. More than double that even.

With eight hits in 18 at-bats, the pitching staff had posted a .444 batting average entering Wednesday’s final game of the homestand. Along with that .444 mark, the Brewers have gotten two RBI, five runs, a walk and a home run out of the pitcher’s spot.

Each of the Brewers five starters — Gallardo, Randy Wolf, Dave Bush, Chris Narveson and Manny Parra — has contributed at least one hit while all of them except Bush have either scored a run, driven in a run, or both.

“We have some pretty good [hitting] pitchers,” Gallardo said. “We have a lot of fun up their hitting. Wolfy, Bushie, Narveson and Manny, we take it serious. For certain situations you can only help yourself out. I think that’s what we try to do.

“We joke around out there when we hit BP, but you never know when it’s going to come in handy.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

Turning point for the pitching?

The Brewers won Sunday with a five-run outburst in the ninth inning, but manager Ken Macha was even more pleased with what he saw over the first eight. 
Randy Wolf pitched through the seventh inning in his second consecutive quality start, and deposed closer Trevor Hoffman delivered a 1-2-3 eighth inning in what Macha called one of the all-time saves king’s best outings of his down season. Hoffman’s replacement, John Axford, stayed sharp with a perfect ninth inning as the Brewers — with the final two innings of Saturday’s loss notwithstanding — continued a promising pitching trend that has some still holding out hope of a mid-season revival.
With Wolf’s outing, the Brewers have seven quality starts in their last nine games. The starters own a 3.34 ERA in that span.
“You can see the difference. They’re keeping us in games and we’re winning more games,” left fielder Ryan Braun said. “Everybody is throwing the ball great. The pitching has really come together, which is exciting to see because there’s a lot of season left.” 
The hitters pushed the Brewers over the top on Sunday, of course. Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart delivered two-run doubles and Prince Fielder added an RBI double of his own to finish a 3-3 road trip on a high note. 
“It was a pretty good road trip, 3-3,” Macha said. “You always have those would-have, could-haves, but I think the starting pitching on this trip was pretty good. That’s something we need to build on as we go home for a pretty long homestand.”
Jordan Schelling will have it covered for MLB.com while I step away for a couple of weeks. I’ll be back in time for July 4, when we’ll find out who will represent the Brewers in Anaheim at the All-Star Game. 
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Macha shakes up lineup for series finale

MILWAUKEE — As the Brewers continued to excel on the field, manager Ken Macha continued to tweak the club’s lineup on Sunday.

 

After batting catcher George Kottaras second on Saturday because of Kottaras’ high on-base percentage, Macha made another move Sunday to get more guys on base. Macha moved his entire batting order up one spot after Rickie Weeks with the exception of shortstop Alcides Escobar, who was in the ninth spot, behind pitcher Randy Wolf.

“We’ll try this out,” Macha said. “We tried something out yesterday and I think that had some fruits to it. I think it’s just an interesting look. I thought about putting Kottaras there and I thought about this a little bit too.”

As a result, left fielder Ryan Braun became the ninth Brewers hitter to bat second on the season. It’s just the third time Braun has batted second and the first time since he was a rookie.

Behind him, Prince Fielder batted third for the third time this season, Casey McGehee became just the third cleanup hitter this season and Hart batted fifth for the second time on the year.

McGehee was the first Brewers hitter other than Braun or Fielder to bat cleanup since Hart did so on July 1, 2008. The Brewers won that game, 8-6, in Arizona.

Wolf is the first pitcher this season to be in the lineup anywhere other than the No. 9 spot. The only time any other hitter has batted ninth was during the three-game Interleague set with the Twins at Target Field.

With Escobar batting ninth, Macha and McGehee were quick to point out the lineup looks a bit different after the first time through. In fact, it looks a lot more like the team’s usual lineup.

“Looking at the lineup, at the beginning of the game it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re batting cleanup,’” McGehee said. “But it’s really the same. I’m still hitting in front of and behind the same guy. Then hopefully you get Escobar on base and all of a sudden Rickie’s basically hitting second after the first go round. So I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.”

As with the Kottaras move on Saturday, the thought process behind Macha’s decision came down to on-base percentage.

At .402 and .393, Fielder and Braun rank fifth and ninth in the National League in on-base percentage.

“If we score first, we’ve got a high percentage of wins. In the first inning, they’re going to have to face Prince and Brauny. That gives us a chance to score early,” Macha said. “I just want those guys to get on base. Corey’s hot right now, McGehee’s up in the league leaders in driving in runs — I just want the guys to get on base.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Macha shakes up lineup

In an apparent attempt to keep a hitter with a high on-base percentage batting second, Brewers manager Ken Macha threw a few wrinkles in his lineup once again on Sunday.

After batting catcher George Kottaras second on Saturday, another Brewers hitter got the nod in the two hole on Sunday. With Kottaras on the bench as Jonathan Lucroy catches for Randy Wolf, left fielder Ryan Braun was bumped up from batting No. 3 to No. 2
The rest of the lineup remained the same, but with everyone moving up a spot as well, including Wolf. Shortstop Alcides Escobar was ninth, behind the pitcher’s spot.
Here’s the lineup:
Weeks  2B
Braun  LF
Fielder  1B
McGehee  3B
Hart  RF
Gomez  CF
Lucroy  C
Wolf  P
Escobar  SS
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Lucroy makes first Major League start

After making his Major League debut over the weekend in Minneapolis, catcher Jonathan Lucroy is in the starting lineup tonight for the first time in his big league career as the Brewers return home to host the Astros.

When Lucroy was called up on Friday, manager Ken Macha suggested Lucroy’s best chance to start would be with veteran lefty Randy Wolf — who is tonight’s starter — on the mound. Lucroy will bat eighth for the Brewers, behind shortstop Alcides Escobar.
Here’s the rest of the lineup:
Weeks  2B
Gomez  CF
Braun  LF
Fielder  1B
McGehee  3B
Hart  RF
Escobar  SS
Lucroy  C
Wolf  P
– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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