MILWAUKEE -- Brewers reliever Brandon Kintzler's next appearance will be his 60th this season, surpassing the personal high he set last year between Triple-A Nashville and the big leagues. With five more innings, he will set a career high in that category, too.
Yet Kintzler, who has emerged this season as the Brewers' eighth-inning specialist and entered Wednesday with a 2.76 ERA, said he was still feeling strong.
"I've made a lot of appearances, but a lot of them have been low pitch counts, not that stressful," Kintzler said. "I've been recovering fine. … If you want to be a successful seventh- or eighth-inning reliever, these are things you're going to have to do. Say we're in the playoff chase next year, these kinds of things are going to prepare you."
On Wednesday, he was off-limits. Kintzler needed 37 pitches for a stressful inning against the Pirates on Tuesday, his highest pitch count in a single inning this season.
The bullpen has been a strength for the Brewers all season, but lately has become a stress point for manager Ron Roenicke. Losing Francisco Rodriguez in a July trade to Baltimore forced a reorganization of roles, and the options were further limited last week when John Axford was traded to the Cardinals. With Michael Gonzalez slumping, Roenicke had hoped to use Tom Gorzelanny in the seventh inning, but Gorzelanny is now sidelined by a tight shoulder. Burke Badenhop was unavailable earlier this week because of a stiff neck.
Roenicke is searching for reliable options beyond Kintzler and closer Jim Henderson
"Somebody is going to pick it up, because I can't keep running those guys out there all the time," Roenicke said.