Milwaukee Brewers: Villanueva's Struggles Continue In Loss To Cards

Ryan CardarellaCorrespondent IJuly 10, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 18:  Carlos Villanueva #12 of the Milwaukee Brewers deals a pitch against the New York Mets on April 18, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Once considered one of the most valuable Brewers in the bullpen, reliever Carlos Villanueva has been a sore spot in an otherwise stellar group for Milwaukee this season.

Villanueva struggled again Thursday, taking the loss in the Brewers 5-1 setback to the St. Louis Cardinals in the rubber match of the three-game set. This wasted a spectacular start from recently promoted starter Manny Parra.

Carlos gave up two runs without recording an out against the Cards, sticking him with his fifth loss on the season while raising his ERA to a putrid 5.08.

Brewer fans clearly remember Villanueva bailing out Milwaukee on several occasions last season in the role of long reliever, often logging three or four solid innings to save the rest of the 'pen after Jeff Suppan or Dave Bush got lit up early.

So far this season, Villanueva has struggled to adapt to his role as more of a one inning guy, and has been giving up runs in bunches.

Manager Ken Macha can't rely on DiFelice and Coffey (who also struggled Thursday but has been solid all year) in the middle innings every game.

Here's hoping Carlos can settle down a bit after the break and pitch the way he's shown capable of in Milwaukee.

Otherwise GM Doug Melvin may have to be in the market for another reliever as well as a starter if Villanueva can't find his 2008 form.