Brewers' staff struggling to find early groove

Brewers' staff struggling to find early groove

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Brewers played only six innings at Target Field on Monday before the rain set in, cutting short a 7-4 loss to the Twins. And yet the runs and hits continued piling up at a rapid rate against a Milwaukee pitching staff that has been battered in the early going.

"We can't give up this many runs, certainly, and expect to win," said manager Craig Counsell. "That's clear."

It's a small sample against the backdrop of a challenging early-season schedule that has seen the Brewers face a parade of clubs hopeful of contending: the Giants, Astros, Cardinals, Pirates and even the Twins, despite Minnesota's 0-9 start before its current four-game winning streak.

Here's a look at how Brewers pitchers have fared:

• Including the Twins' seven runs on Monday, Milwaukee pitchers have surrendered 75 runs in 2016, matching the '03 club for third-most in franchise history through a season's first 13 games. Only the '10 Brewers (76 runs) and 1999 Brewers (79 runs) allowed more.

• Brewers pitchers have surrendered at least seven runs five times in those 13 games, most in the Majors.

• Because Brewers hitters have only produced 43 runs, fourth-fewest in franchise history through 13 games, their run differential is a Major League-worst minus-32. Only one group in franchise history was outscored by a wider margin, and that was just last year, when a minus-40 differential through 13 games produced a 2-11 start that precipitated manager Ron Roenicke's dismissal two weeks later.

• The Twins' 14 hits on Monday boosted the batting average of Brewers opponents to .304, worst in the Majors, and marked the fifth time an opponent has logged double-digit hits. Only Angels pitchers have surrendered double-digit hits in more games this season, with six.

"Our starters have got to get us into the game so we can shorten the game for the bullpen," Counsell said. "That's the big thing. We're going to have to keep trying to get a little better there."

The starting pitcher Monday, Chase Anderson, had not surrendered a run in either of his first two Brewers starts, but was touched for five runs (four earned) on 11 hits, including a pair of long home runs, in five innings against the Twins. His ERA after three starts is 2.25.

He cited poor fastball command. As for the Brewers' bigger picture, Anderson said it's all about momentum.

"We're such a young team, young staff. We're trying to find our rhythm and get on a roll," Anderson said. "One guy throws a good outing, the next guy throws a good outing, and you just kind of build off each other. We're still looking for that."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.