Villanueva improving thanks to command

Villanueva improving thanks to command

SAN DIEGO -- When it comes to the level of performance that made Carlos Villanueva the Brewers' Pitcher of the Month for April, manager Ken Macha attributes it to one thing: command.

That was the recurring theme of Macha's description of how Villanueva has held opponents to a .114 batting average and recorded 17 strikeouts over 13 scoreless innings so far this year.

"He commands most of his pitches," Macha said. "When you're commanding your pitches, you can pretty much dictate what you want to do. It started from the first day, he had command of all his pitches and keeps you guessing."

Having also performed as a starter last year, going 1-3 with a 6.52 ERA, Villanueva's value as a reliever has been especially clear when Macha is able to extend him beyond a single inning.

"He gave us a couple of two-inning outings on the last road trip," Macha said. "It was pretty evident [Friday] that he's got this downward angle that's pretty good. It helps him with his breaking ball also."