As much as Guillermo Mota has struggled, manager Ned Yost insists the reliever's problems can be fixed.
"We're going to keep working with him and make him better," Yost said. "We know what he's doing wrong."
What he has been doing wrong, in the eyes of many, is losing games. Mota is 2-5 with a 5.82 ERA in 33 appearances and has been at the center of some horrific bullpen collapses in recent weeks.
Mota has surrendered eight runs in three innings in four outings in July after staggering to a 6.48 ERA in June. Since June 6 in Colorado, when he allowed four eighth-inning runs without recording an out to turn a 4-1 lead into what became a 6-4 defeat, these are Mota's numbers over 12 outings: 101/3innings, 18 hits, 17 runs, 14 earned runs, four walks and five strikeouts.
Mota is 0-2 with a 12.20 ERA over that stretch. He has been so bad that there were recent concerns that he was tipping pitches to hitters. Now, the company line is that his back side is "collapsing."
"It's a simple correction," Yost said. "When you collapse on your back side, when you're big and tall like him, it flattens everything out instead of staying tall on your back side and having good, strong downhill action on your pitches."
Brewers 11, Rockies 1
Right-hander Dave Bush loves pitching at home. Bush struck out a career-high 13 hitters and limited Colorado to four hits and one run over eight innings with no walks. Bush is 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA in nine starts at Miller Park, compared with a 1-6 mark and 6.94 ERA in nine starts on the road.
The Brewers broke open the game with six runs in the fourth inning, matching their biggest outburst of the year. Ryan Braun finished with three RBIs, and J.J. Hardy, Prince Fielder and Gabe Kapler added two each.
Notes and quotes
--Catcher Jason Kendall, who has started 82 of the Brewers' 92 games, got the day off Thursday. "Kendall would never come out (if given his choice)," Yost said. "He never wears down. He's amazing. He's like the Energizer bunny."
--Third basemen Bill Hall and Russell Branyan, who platoon at the position, have combined for 22 home runs (12 for Hall and 10 for Branyan). That's the most HRs at that position of any team in the majors.
--Center fielder Mike Cameron was given the day off and replaced by reserve Gabe Kapler, who promptly went 3 for 4 with three doubles and two RBIs.
--Bush recorded his 500th career strikeout when he whiffed Colorado reliever Luis Vizcaino in the fifth inning.
--Lefty Randy Choate was activated from the 15-day disabled list and sent outright to Class AAA Nashville. Choate, who broke a finger on his pitching hand in spring training, had been on a minor league rehab assignment with Nashville.
It is always windy in Chicago, but an extra burst of air came when manager Dusty Baker and general manager Walt Jocketty exhaled upon hearing the word on right-hander Aaron Harang's strained forearm muscle. Jocketty said Harang will be placed on the disabled list, but he'll miss just one turn after the All-Star break and be eligible to pitch July 22.
"The MRI was negative, classified as just a strain of the forearm," Jocketty said. "So that's good. We'll shut him down, put him on the disabled list, let him rest. He was told not to throw for a week, but we're confident he'll get right back into it."
Harang missed a start Saturday in Cincinnati against the Nationals, then pitched Tuesday in Wrigley Field and give up six runs, five hits and seven walks in 41/3 innings before reporting that the soreness in his forearm had returned the next day.
Reds 12, Cubs 7
With the wind blowing out, the Reds hit seven home runs, two by David Ross, including a homer in six straight innings from the second through the seventh. Also homering were Edwin Encarnacion, Ken Griffey Jr. (605th career), Brandon Phillips, Adam Dunn and Joey Votto. Bronson Arroyo gave up five runs and seven hits over five innings to win his third straight and even his record at 7-7.
Notes and quotes
--Righty Homer Bailey will be called up from Class AAA Louisville on Sunday to pitch against the Brewers and newly acquired southpaw CC Sabathia, even though Bailey has not won a game in the minors or the majors since April 30. He was 0-3 with an 8.76 ERA in three starts with the Reds last month, and he is 0-5 with a 5.96 ERA in his last 10 starts for Louisville.
--Left fielder Dunn has 38 career home runs against the Cubs, the most by any active player but a long way from the 79 hit against the Cubs by Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
--Infielder Jolbert Cabrera is expected to be ready shortly after the All-Star break after doing rehab at Class A Dayton for the compound dislocation of his left index finger. He was hurt while sliding into second base at Yankee Stadium on June 21.
--Second baseman Phillips homered in the third inning against the Cubs, then singled and stole second in the fourth, the ninth time in his career he has hit a home run and stolen a base in the same game.
--Third baseman Encarnacion hit his 14th homer after hitting only six before last year's All-Star break en route to 16 for the season.
By the numbers