WASHINGTON -- Despite worsening numbers amidst the heaviest workload of his young career, Mike Fiers will remain in the Brewers' rotation -- for now.
After Fiers lasted only three innings and surrendered three runs on five hits in the Brewers' sweep-clinching 9-7 win over the Pirates on Thursday, existing concerns about the 27-year-old's innings count persisted. Between Triple-A Nashville and Milwaukee, Fiers has thrown 172 1/3 innings this season. In 2011, he threw only 128 innings, plus an additional 28 1/3 in a Venezuela Winter League to bring him to 154 1/3 for the year.
Fiers pitched to a 1.77 ERA over his first 10 starts this season, but over his most recent 10, his ERA has gone from 1.88 on Aug. 1 to 3.38.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, however, denied that Fiers was struggling through any fatigue. Roenicke also said he hasn't talked with general manager Doug Melvin about the possibility of shutting Fiers down, "which tells me that he's going to keep pitching."
"I talked to [Fiers on Friday]. He doesn't think it's anything physical," Roenicke added. "That's what's bothering him. He says, 'Why am I throwing the ball all over the place now?' So it's either the thought process or something mechanically out of whack.
"He says it's not fatigue. Again, you ask guys things, sometimes they tell you everything and sometimes they don't. I believe when he tells me he's fine."
Facing questions regarding Fiers' rising pitch count and diminishing innings totals per game -- Fiers hasn't pitched more than five innings in any of his four starts since Aug. 29 -- Roenicke noted that Thursday's start was the young pitcher's worst to date. If Fiers can focus on getting through at least the fifth inning, the Brewers' skipper believes his bullpen is deep enough to keep Milwaukee in contention.
"I'm OK if he only goes five right now. We've got enough arms in the bullpen. I'm OK with that, if [his starts] are not five runs. If he goes five innings and gives up two [runs], I'm fine with it. Heck, I'll take that for the next three [starts], that's fine."