Junior Guerra and the Milwaukee Brewers take on the San Diego Padres on Thursday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
MILWAUKEE -- Jonathan Schoop is the first to admit his first week with his new team hasn't gone the way he had hoped or expected.
The Milwaukee Brewers acquired the second baseman from Baltimore in the waning moments before the non-waiver trade deadline last Tuesday, hoping he could add some badly needed consistency to what has been an often lackluster offense.
But through six games, Schoop hasn't exactly dazzled. He's committed more errors (four) than he has hits (two) and has struck out 11 times in 25 at-bats.
"It's easy to say, 'Just go out there and hit the ball,'" Schoop said. "I've got to believe it. I need to be ready to relax and believe in myself. I've got to step up my game a little bit and keep believing."
Brewers manager Craig Counsell has remained steadfast in his support of Schoop, who hit 17 home runs for Baltimore before the trade, but gave him the night off Wednesday. Schoop is expected to be back in the starting lineup Thursday afternoon when the Brewers wrap up their three-game series with the San Diego Padres at Miller Park.
"He's in a little funk," Counsell said. "He'll get out of it and be a big producer for us."
Right-hander Junior Guerra (6-7, 3.42 ERA) gets the start for Milwaukee in the finale.
Counsell called Guerra's last start his best outing of the season after he held the Rockies to three runs while striking out six over a season-high eight innings.
After splitting the first two games in Milwaukee, the Padres have a chance to earn their first series victory since taking two of three at St. Louis June 11-13. Left-hander Robbie Erlin will get the start for San Diego. Erlin (2-3, 3.34 ERA) spent most of the season in San Diego's bullpen serving as a long-relief option. He was hit hard in his first two spot starts, allowing a combined 12 runs (11 earned) on 14 hits in seven innings.
He moved back into the rotation when Luis Perdomo was sidelined with a shoulder injury and looked significantly better in his last start when he held the Cubs to a run on two hits while striking out four over five innings.
The difference, he said, was taking a reliever's mentality into his start.
"Be aggressive early and try to make pitches early," Erlin said.
His only appearance against the Brewers came back on March 31 of this season, when he alloweed two runs and three hits in 3 2/3 innings of relief.
Erlin will be followed in the rotation by right-hander Jacob Nix, the team's No. 14 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. Nix, 22, was the Padres' third-round pick in the 2015 Draft. He has a 1.84 ERA between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso this season.
He'll be the second highly-touted pitching prospect to make his debut this week. Right-hander Brett Kennedy got his first big league start Wednesday night as the Padres try to look toward next season.
"These guys have a chance in front of them to be a part of what we do to change the culture, flip it and help create an expectation of winning," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I know there's other people that are higher up on prospect lists, but these guys have performed. There's something to be said about performance. They deserve the opportunity."