Aaron Ashby won’t be seeking a repeat result, but the Milwaukee Brewers left-hander will be aiming for a repeat performance when he takes the mound against the host Boston Red Sox in the finale of their three-game series on Sunday.
Ashby (2-8, 4.38 ERA) has lost his past two starts, but pitched well enough to win his last outing.
He held the Colorado Rockies to two runs and five hits in a career-high seven innings on Monday, but the offense didn’t provide any run support in the 2-0 loss in Milwaukee.
Ashby also threw a career-high 111 pitches, 81 for strikes, the most by a Milwaukee pitcher since Jimmy Nelson also threw 81 strikes amid 118 total pitches in a 2-1 complete-game victory against the San Diego Padres in Milwaukee on June 18, 2017.
Ashby threw 45 pitches that were either called strikes or the batter swung and missed, the second most in the majors this season.
It was also Ashby’s first start since signing a five-year contract extension.
“(Ashby) did everything well,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “When he stays in the zone, there’s going to be good results.”
Ashby’s only mistake was a slider down the middle to Elias Diaz, who hit it over the left field fence to lead off the third.
“(Ashby) gave up the two runs because he just threw a couple of pitches in the zone,” Brewers catcher Pedro Severino said. “That’s sometimes the problem when a pitcher throws lots of strikes, but that’s the way that I want to see him throw every day.”
Ashby has never faced the Red Sox in his two-year career in the majors.
He’ll face a Boston team that’s lost seven of nine since the All-Star break to fall into last place in the American League East and is 7-19 in July.
“We take a few steps forward and then a lot of steps back,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We’ve been very inconsistent.”
Making things more difficult, the Red Sox are without two key players.
Trevor Story, who leads the team with 58 RBIs, hasn’t played since July 12 because of a recently discovered hairline fracture in his wrist, which will prevent the middle infielder from swinging a bat for another 10-14 days.
Rafael Devers, who leads the Red Sox in batting average (.324) and home runs (22), hasn’t played since July 22 because of a right hamstring injury, but the third baseman could return during the upcoming three-game series at the Houston Astros.
J.D. Martinez, another important piece of the batting order, does not have a hit in his past 24 at-bats.
Rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski will try to become the first starting pitcher for Boston to record a win after they’ve been unable to do so in the past 29 games, the third-longest streak in MLB history and the longest since the Mariners went 33 games in 1979.
Winckowski (3-5, 5.18) has a 6.75 ERA in July and has lost all four of his starts. He went 3-0 in three starts in June with a 2.12 ERA.
He came off the COVID-19 list before his most recent start and lasted just three innings in an 8-3 loss Tuesday to the Cleveland Guardians, which dropped the Red Sox into last place in the AL East.
He gave up five runs on six hits and a walk, with one strikeout.
Winckowski has never faced the Brewers.
–Field Level Media