The Milwaukee Brewers decided last week to go with an all-rookie rotation for the remainder of the season, and so far, the kids are all right.
Milwaukee will look to pick up a third straight victory behind a rookie pitcher Wednesday night against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
This plan was more of a matter of circumstance than it was by design for the Brewers. Jimmy Nelson and Wily Peralta were the lone remaining veterans in the starting rotation, but both were shut down last week in light of recent injuries. Nelson was cleared of a concussion after being hit in the head by a liner Sept. 17 against St. Louis, but hasn't pitched since, while Peralta has been bothered by oblique tightness.
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Meanwhile, Milwaukee (67-90) has won two in a row and four of six since adjusting its rotation after losing 12 of its previous 15. Rookie starters have combined for a 2.84 ERA over 19 innings in the last four victories, and Jorge Lopez gave up three runs over five innings in his major league debut in Tuesday's 4-3 win.
"It was fun. He did a nice job," manager Craig Counsell said.
The next first-year arm up is Zach Davies (2-2, 4.67 ERA), who comes off perhaps his best showing yet. He limited the Chicago Cubs to two hits over six shutout innings in a 4-1 victory last Wednesday. Davies only walked one after issuing nine free passes in his previous two starts.
"They (rookies) need to prove to themselves that they can have success up here," Counsell said. "I think a night like tonight when he does what he's good at, it works."
San Diego (73-84) has dropped three of four and hasn't been much of a challenge for opposing pitching, hitting .214 with 11 runs scored in that span. Matt Kemp's status is unclear after he left in the fifth inning Tuesday with a sore right hand after hitting the 100 RBI mark earlier in the night for the first time since 2011.
"The other day when I was swinging it started irritating me," Kemp said. "Every time I swing I feel a little pain. I wanted to go on. I'd rather have 80 RBIs and go to the playoffs."
Wil Myers was 1 for 4 after missing Sunday's loss to Arizona due to a sore wrist.
Andrew Cashner (6-15, 4.21) has recorded quality starts in three of his past four outings despite walking batters at a dangerously high rate. He's issued 16 free passes over 23 2-3 innings in that span. Cashner has always been vulnerable to walks, but even his 2.8 walks per nine innings previously pales in comparison to the 6.1 figure in his last four.
He is 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA in four career starts against Milwaukee, including a 4-1 road loss Aug. 4. He allowed two runs over six innings with four walks.
The Brewers rank near the bottom of baseball with a walk every 14.4 plate appearances, though they've drawn nine in their last two games.