5/5/2014 7:03 P.M. ET
Crew seeks better production from heart of lineup
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers' current run production problem is not nearly as dire as last season, when manager Ron Roenicke was without his three-, four- and five-hole hitters.
But it has a familiar feeling.
With usual three-hole hitter Ryan Braun on the disabled list with a strained right oblique, and cleanup man Aramis Ramirez fighting one of the worst slumps of his career, the Brewers struggled to score while dropping three of four games in Cincinnati for their first road series loss of the season. The Brewers scored three, three, two and two runs in those four games, while batting .186 as a team.
The middle of the lineup has something to do with that.
"No doubt about it," Roenicke said. "With 'Brauny' out of there and 'Rami' not driving in runs like he was earlier -- every time we had a guy in scoring position, he was driving him in."
Ramirez entered Monday's game against Arizona with two hits -- both homers -- in his last 40 at-bats, including an 0-for-28 drought that was the longest of Ramirez's career. Along the way, he missed two games after being struck by a pitch on the left elbow in St. Louis.
"He was a little bit off before he got hit in the elbow," Roenicke said, "but once he got hit in the elbow, it took him a while to get it back. [On Sunday], he didn't swing well, but the day before he did swing it well."
Ramirez is not the only Brewers' player who came home scuffling. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy had one RBI on the seven-game road trip before getting Monday off. Left fielder Khris Davis went 5-for-26 (.192) on the trip. Leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez's on-base percentage on the trip was .273.
Roenicke and his coaches have discussed whether there are things they can do to spark the group. One option was dropping Gomez to the three-hole, but he remained batting first Monday. Second baseman Scooter Gennett hit third.
"There are always discussions about how we can do it a little bit better," Roenicke said. "I don't know if there's ever a perfect answer."
Gomez suspension appeal slated for Friday
MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Gomez will aim for a reduction of his three-game suspension in an appeal hearing with Major League Baseball on Friday, but that does not necessarily mean he will miss the Brewers' weekend series against the New York Yankees.
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said there is typically a lag of several days between an appeal hearing and a ruling, while officials finalize a written report and send it through the proper league and players union channels. If that is the case, Gomez could continue playing over the weekend while the Brewers host the Yankees for the first time since 2005.
The Brewers are off Monday before -- coincidentally -- hosting the Pirates from May 13-15. When Milwaukee and Pittsburgh last met on April 20 at PNC Park, Gomez and Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole got into a heated discussion after a Gomez triple that led to both benches emptying. Four players were suspended as a result of the ensuing scuffle, though only Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado (five games) accepted his punishment without appeal.
The others -- Gomez (three games) and Pirates players Travis Snider (two games) and Russell Martin (one game) -- all exercised their right under the Collective Bargaining Agreement to appeal. Martin is currently on the disabled list, but Brewers officials expressed curiosity Monday about whether Snider's hearing would also be held Friday.
"I'm appealing because I don't feel it's fair," Gomez said after discipline was handed down. "Why do I have three games when I didn't start nothing? It's what it is. I'm appealing because it's not fair and I'm not the one who started the fight and I'm not the one that started throwing punches first, either. I'm going to appeal it and wait until the result."
Cole is lined up to pitch either the first of second game of the Pirates-Brewers series next week.
Suspensions are rarely reduced upon appeal, but it is not unheard of. In September 2007, then-Brewers reliever Seth McClung convinced MLB to completely revoke a three-game suspension he had incurred after plunking the Cardinals' Albert Pujols with a pitch. Even McClung said he was surprised by the outcome.
• Jean Segura had the stitches removed from his right cheek on Monday. The shortstop suffered a deep cut there on April 26 when he was struck in the face by Braun's bat in the dugout.
• The Mariners' Triple-A club released right-hander Mark Rogers, who had made only two appearances for the Tacoma Raniers. Rogers, a former first-round Draft pick of the Brewers who was poised to begin 2013 in Milwaukee's starting rotation before having shoulder problems in Spring Training, had hooked on with the Mariners in January.