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Orioles look to break into win column vs. Brewers

Sep 29, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Adrian Houser (37) throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s shortened spring training might be affecting the Milwaukee Brewers, whose lauded rotation is still rounding into form.

The Brewers aim for their second straight win on Monday when they visit the Baltimore Orioles, who are off to their first 0-3 start since 2007.

Right-hander Adrian Houser (10-6, 3.22 ERA in 2021) will take the mound for Milwaukee, which opened the season with consecutive losses to the Chicago Cubs before winning the series finale 5-4 on Sunday.

Mike Brosseau’s first career pinch-hit homer snapped a tie in the seventh inning and helped Milwaukee avoid its first 0-3 start since 2015.

The Brewers’ top three starters — Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta — combined for 12 2/3 innings, 13 hits, 13 earned runs, 10 walks and 12 strikeouts against the Cubs.

Houser is looking to build on a strong campaign last season, when he went 7-1 with a 2.65 ERA over his last 19 games (17 starts).

Willson Contreras is 2-for-12 against Houser, who is making his first appearance against the Orioles.

Baltimore is hoping for spark in the home opener after losing three to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Orioles have lost 15 straight to Tampa Bay.

The Orioles were outscored 15-4 in the series and struck out 37 times while going 2-for-24 with runners in scoring position.

“They have really good pitching, but we didn’t do a very good job swinging the bats. We didn’t make them work much,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We can improve our two-strike hitting, put more pressure on their defense. We have some guys scuffling early. I’d like to see them break out. We’re putting too much pressure on ourselves.”

Tyler Wells, who made his first major league start for the Orioles on Sunday and failed to complete two innings, said the team remains optimistic.

“Honestly, it’s just a focus for each and every one of us to get better,” Wells said. “Right now, I think the end result is the least of our concerns. We’re three games into the season, and that’s never going to tell a full picture.”

Baltimore will turn to left-hander Bruce Zimmermann (4-5, 5.04 ERA in 2021) against the Brewers. The 27-year-old struggled in spring training, allowing seven earned runs over eight innings.

Milwaukee is eager to build on its first victory Sunday. Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez homered in the victory while Christian Yelich had two hits and drove in a run.

The 30-year-old Yelich is looking to bounce back after hitting .248 with nine home runs in 475 plate appearances last season.

Yelich went 3-for-8 in the opening series against the Cubs. The 2018 NL MVP is focused on the fundamentals following two disappointing years.

“Every day, I’m just trying to be the best version of myself and help our team,” Yelich said. “That’s all I feel like I owe anyone is my best and my best effort. Because that’s all you can really control.

“Do I want to play well? Of course. Who doesn’t? But the way you prepare, the effort that you give, the level of preparation, those are things you can control and that’s what I owe everyone in here and everyone in here owes each other regardless of contract status.”

–Field Level Media