First from Brewers' 2012 Draft class to play in Majors has shaky first start
By Brandon Curry
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Craig Counsell reeled off rookie starter Tyler Wagner's strengths before his Major League debut Sunday against the D-backs, which ended in a 7-6, 17-inning win that snapped the club's seven-game losing streak.
Counsell said the 24-year-old is a strike-thrower, that he got a lot of ground balls while at Double-A Biloxi, and before he could continue, he had to stop himself.
"I'm not going to say that. You probably know what I was going to say," Counsell said.
Counsell was going to say that Wagner had given up very few home runs this season while in the Minor Leagues -- one to be exact. With the frequency Brewers' pitching had been surrendering homers recently, it's difficult to blame him.
While Wagner did get the first two batters of the game to ground out, D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt smacked a 92-mph fastball into the right-field bullpen in the very next at-bat. The homer would open up a scoring run that would knock Wagner from the game less than three innings later.
"It's obviously not what I hoped for," Wagner said. "But it's a learning experience. I'm excited to get back out there."
Wagner, the first player from the Brewers' 2012 Draft class to play in the Major Leagues with the club, allowed five earned runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings. The sinker-baller was able to get ground balls for the most part, but many of them were finding the outfield grass at Miller Park.
"I thought he struggled a little bit getting his changeup going for a second pitch," Counsell said. "I don't think he ever really got that pitch going to get them off the sinker a little more and slow them down."
Counsell announced after the game that Wagner will be sent back down to Double-A Biloxi, so the club can have another arm for the bullpen on Monday in St. Louis. The Brewers announced they are bringing up right-hander Tyler Cravy from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
This wasn't the original plan the team had for Wagner, but after playing 17 innings, the circumstances changed.
"It's rough," Wagner said of being sent back down. "You try to understand the situation that you've been put in. But there's nothing you can do."
Brandon Curry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.