Melvin: Brewers, down 2-1 in NLCS, 'struggling' in first innings

CREATED Oct 13, 2011

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  • Yovani Gallardo. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Next game: Thursday, October 13 at St. Louis in NLCS Game 4
Brewers Gameday with the Jockey Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m. and Brewers Extra Innings after the game on Newsradio 620 WTMJ with coverage on Live at 5, 6 and 10 on TODAY'S TMJ4

ST. LOUIS - The Milwaukee Brewers' backs are against the wall as they enter a critical game four of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin says that the way his team lost Game 3, by a 4-3 final score, came about with mistakes in every facet of their game in the first inning.

The Brewers have been outscored a combined 14-5 in the first innings of their eight postseason games in 2011.

"We've had that against Arizona, too, giving up runs in the first inning in two or three of the games," Melvin told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Greg Matzek and Gene Mueller during "Wisconsin's Morning News."

"You have to try to shut them down early.  The top of their order is getting on base.  The top of our order is struggling a little."

On Wednesday, centerfielder Mark Kotsay committed a base-running blunder during the top of the first inning, leading to a double play which ended Milwaukee's run-scoring efforts that inning.

Then, Kotsay failed to catch a fly ball in the bottom of the first, part of a horrible first inning for ace starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo where he gave up four runs.

"Our 1-2 hitters have not gotten on base like they had earlier on.  They've gotten some guys (on) early," admitted Melvin.

Milwaukee's offense in general has been subpar as well in recent games.

Only once in their last four postseason contests have they scored more than three runs.

Over that span, Milwaukee has a .242 batting average.

"We have (Ryan) Braun who's been swinging the bat OK, (Yuniesky) Betancourt, (Jerry) Hairston, but besides that, we've have to try to get a few guys swinging the bats a little bit better," said Melvin.

In general, the Brewers and Cardinals have had nearly an even matchup all season long, and now, entering a critical game four with Randy Wolf on the mound for Milwaukee against Kyle Lohse, the Brewers must answer to keep the series competitive.

"We've got two very good teams who have played 21 games up until now, 11-10 in games, St. Louis is up by one.  We've seen each other enough times.  We've had enough games.  We just have to go out there and see if we can get them tonight."

Another question the Brewers may need to contend with is if they should start Gallardo in game 6, if the series even gets that far?

Matzek addressed that question with Melvin during "Wisconsin's Morning News."