Brewers confident in back end of bullpen

Brewers confident in back end of bullpen

Brewers confident in back end of bullpen
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers starter Zack Greinke was sensational over seven scoreless innings on Saturday, and wondered aloud whether it might he difficult this season to pitch much deeper into games.

Greinke was not exactly complaining.

"It's almost tough. The late end of our bullpen is so good," Greinke said. "It's hard to get past that seventh inning because you want to bring in Frankie [Rodriguez] and [closer John Axford]."

Greinke was out after 91 pitches on Saturday. Rodriguez pitched the eighth inning, and Axford would have had the ninth had the Brewers not extended their lead to 6-0. Newcomer Jose Veras pitched instead.

"I understand what he's saying," manager Ron Roenicke said of Greinke, "and our point of view is, if we get past the seventh inning, we feel very good about winning that ballgame, with Frankie coming in and then 'Ax'.

"But I would say, if we were into the middle of the season, we would have let Zack go another inning, and then we would have seen what happened that inning to see if he goes farther. I think he'll have his chances."

Roenicke, though, will err on the side of pitch-count caution as long as his bullpen stays solid. He pointed to Yovani Gallardo's 111-pitch, complete-game effort in his second 2011 start, which was followed by a five-game stretch in which opponents hit .389 against the right-hander.

Was the slump directly attributable to that one deep outing? It's unclear.

"But I want these guys strong for September and October," Roenicke said. "With our bullpen, I don't know why we would push a guy."