Pitcher Brad Brach's inability to finish off batters mystifies Cubs

Brad Brach correctly assured observers in spring training that his velocity would jump from the high 80 mph range to the mid-90s once the regular season started.

And after a rough three weeks, Brach rebounded by posting a 0.84 ERA during a 12-game stretch from April 24 to May 18.

But Brach faces another challenge — finishing off batters after getting ahead in the count.

“The putaway is not there, but the stuff is still good,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday night after Brach allowed four runs on five hits in only two-thirds of an inning that enabled the Rockies to pull away to a 10-3 victory at Coors Field.

Brach has allowed 13 earned runs in his last 6 2/3 innings covering seven appearances. Most of the damage occurred in the sixth, shortly after inducing Nolan Arenado to hit a soft grounder for an RBI single in the fifth.

Brach retired only one of the five batters he faced in the sixth, thanks to his quickness in getting off the mound and fielding quickly to throw home to nail Daniel Murphy at home plate. But he allowed hits to Ian Desmond and Chris Iannetta on 0-2 counts.

“It’s about pitch selection, pitch location but the stuff is there,” Maddon said. “When a guy is not feeling it, there’s not the same finish on the pitch.”

mgonzales@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @MDGonzales

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