Brewers 'in little bit of a funk' with bats

Brewers 'in little bit of a funk' with bats

ST. LOUIS -- Is it a team slump? The result of running into three solid starting pitchers? Or simply the normal ebb and flow of a Major League Baseball season?

Whatever the driving force, the Brewers' bats remained mostly silent Saturday in a 3-0 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium that dropped Milwaukee 10 games under .500 (35-45) for the first time this season. The Brewers have scored two runs over their last 28 innings at-bat, including no runs over the past 16 innings in this series.

"It's just a long season, man," said left fielder Ryan Braun, who had one of the Brewers' seven hits Saturday but also grounded into one of their four double plays. "Inevitably, every team goes through it. It's a frustrating game, a challenging game; it's all about dealing with failure and adversity, individually and as a team, multiple times throughout every season.

"It's always a matter of getting hits with runners in scoring position. We've gotten some guys on base, we just haven't been able to get hits when it seems like it matters."

The Brewers' latest challenge has spanned three consecutive losses to Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers and Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals. In those three losses, the Brewers are 15-for-91 (.165) with 13 singles, one double and one home run.

With runners in scoring position in those games, the Brewers are 0-for-16.

"We're in a little bit of a funk offensively," manager Craig Counsell said. "Today it was the double plays. Anytime we got a little bit something going, we hit into a double play, really. Just in one of those couple-day stretches where we're just struggling to get things going and to create opportunities."

The Brewers will try to avoid a three-game sweep Sunday against Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha. Since taking two of three from the Cardinals in April 2012 at Busch Stadium (both of the victories went to extra innings), the Brewers have not won a series against St. Louis.

This season, the Cardinals have won six of the eight matchups by a combined score of 48-14. Of the Brewers' five shutout losses in 2016, three have come against the Cardinals.

"Yeah, it's not fun," Braun said. "It's obviously frustrating. But they're a good team, and they've been a good team for a long time. They're very fundamentally sound. They do a lot of things well. They turned some tough double plays the last couple of days. They have pitchers who don't hurt themselves; they don't walk guys. The situational hitting on their side is always great.

"They just do a lot of little things well to put themselves in position to win. And we know when we play against them that you don't have a lot of room for error."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. 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.