Fielder helps Brewers past depleted Astros

July 31, 2011

4:06p To be honest, I’m surprised the Astros put up that much of a fight without their two star players.

Astros-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 5-4, to complete their sweep of Houston and keep their winning streak going, which now stands at six. The Astros put up a good fight in the late innings, but they couldn’t pull it off, and having lost two of their best players didn’t help. They traded Hunter Pence to the Phillies two days ago, then traded Michael Bourn to the Braves earlier this morning.

Anyway, the Brewers got to Astros starter Brett Myers early when Yuniesky Betancourt hit an RBI double in the second inning. Then, later in the inning, Jonathan Lucroy laid down a squeeze bunt to score Betancourt from third (he had advanced on an error after his double).

But, trouble came for the Brewers in the fourth inning. Chris Narveson, who had retired the first nine batters he faced, gave up a double and a walk start the fourth inning. Then, ex-Brewers Jason Bourgeois hit a three-run shot to give the Astros a 3-2 lead. The Brewers would tie it, however, in the bottom of the inning on Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI double.

The Brewers then retook the lead in the sixth inning when Yuniesky Betancourt drove in Ryan Braun on a fielder’s choice.

But, in the eighth, the bullpen blew yet another lead. After allowing a double steal, Francisco Rodriguez threw a wild pitch by Lucroy to tie the game, 4-4. K-Rod then struck out J.D. Martinez the pitch after to end the inning.

Then, in the bottom half of the inning, Astros reliever Fernando Rodriguez gave up a lead-off double to Braun. The next batter was Prince Fielder, who was expected to be intentionally walked, since there was a base open. But, for some reason, Rodriguez pitched to him, and Fielder hit a go-ahead single, which gave the Brewers a 5-4 lead that the would not relinquish.

John Axford came in and recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 31st save of the year.

Narveson had a decent start, but didn’t get the win because of K-Rod’s wild pitch. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up three runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out four.

Myers also had a solid start, but he didn’t factor in the decision either. He went six innings while giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits. He walked none and struck out six.

Counsell extends franchise long slump

Craig Counsell was in the starting lineup today at third base to give Casey McGehee a day off. Instead of ending his career-high slump at 0-for-41, he extended it to 0-for-44, which is a new franchise record for the Brewers. The previous one was held by former Brewers pitcher Doug Davis. If you ever saw Davis attempt to swing a bat, you’d see why this is pretty embarrassing for Counsell.

Anyway, Ron Roenicke said he put Counsell in the lineup because of his defense, and that paid off. In the fifth inning, Myers attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but Counsell had it played perfectly. Since there were men on first and second, Counsell threw to Betancourt covering third, who then threw to first to finish a great double play.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers start an extremely important series with the Cardinals tomorrow. Zack Greinke (8-4, 4.50 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and is coming off his best start of the year, when he shut out the Cubs for 6 2/3 innings. He already has a win against the Cards this year, when he threw seven innings of three-run ball. Greinke is 4-2 with a 4.10 ERA in his career against the Cardinals.

Chris Carpenter (6-7, 3.68 ERA) will go for the Cardinals. He hasn’t exactly had success against the Brewers in his career, going 4-4 with a 5.24 ERA against them.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs and Cardinals will play at 7:05 p.m. CT tonight. They are currently two games back and 17 games back, respectively.
  • The Reds crushed the Giants, 9-0. They are still 6.5 games back.
  • The Pirates fell to the Phillies in 10 innings, 6-5. They are now 4.5 games back and keep falling in the standings.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston Astros 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 4 5 2
Milwaukee Brewers 0 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 X 5 11 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 4 0 3 0 0 1 0 .271
Mark Kotsay, CF 4 0 0 0 0 2 2 .242
Ryan Braun, LF 4 2 2 0 0 1 1 .322
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 1 3 1 0 1 0 .296
Felipe Lopez, 2B 3 1 1 0 0 0 3 .222
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 1 1 2 0 0 4 .255
Jonathan Lucroy, C 3 0 1 2 0 0 2 .285
Craig Counsell, 3B 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 .147
Chris Narveson, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 .154
a-Jerry Hairston, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .266
Total 32 5 11 5 0 8 13

a-Popped out for Saito in the 7th.

BATTING

2B: Betancourt (17), Lucroy (11), Braun (25).

RBI: Betancourt 2 (40), Lucroy 2 (43), Fielder (76).

Team RISP: 2-for-8.

Team LOB: 5.

BASERUNNING

CS: Hart (6).

FIELDING

DP: (Counsell-Betancourt-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Chris Narveson 6.2 4 3 3 3 4 1 4.39
Takashi Saito (H, 5) 0.1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2.53
Francisco Rodriguez (BS, 5) (W, 4-2) 1.0 1 1 1 1 1 0 3.20
John Axford (S, 31) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2.50

WP: Rodriguez.

Pitches-strikes: Narveson 86-59, Saito 12-6, Rodriguez 20-10, Axford 9-7.

Groundouts-flyouts: Narveson 9-4, Saito 0-0, Rodriguez 1-0, Axford 0-2.

Batters faced: Narveson 26, Saito 2, Rodriguez 5, Axford 3.

Inherited runners-scored: Saito 2-0.


Brewers continue win streak behind Gallardo’s great start

July 31, 2011

9:03p The Trade Deadline is tomorrow at 3:00 CT, and all Brewer fans are excited to see if Doug Melvin will make anymore trades before then. But, we have other things to be excited about at this point, such as a five-game winning streak that the Brewers are on right now.

Astros-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Astros again today, 6-2. Early on, the offense appeared to be nearly non-existent, as it has been the past few games. But, the Brewers got to Astros starter J.A. Happ in the middle innings to hand him his 13th loss. Yovani Gallardo, meanwhile, got his 12th win of the season, and looked like the ace he’s supposed to be for the Brewers.

The Brewers didn’t waste any time getting on the board first, as Corey Hart hit a lead-off opposite field homer to start the game. They also scored in the third on Nyjer Morgan’s RBI single, but wouldn’t get anything else until a breakout fifth inning. They got three in that inning, including a sacrifice fly from Casey McGehee and a two-run double from Jonathan Lucroy.

The Astros finally got on the board in the sixth on Angel Sanchez’s RBI single, but it was unearned towards Gallardo because of a Yuniesky Betancourt throwing error earlier in the inning.

The Brewers tacked on one more insurance run in the seventh inning on Prince Fielder’s monster 475-foot homer off of Astros reliever Aneury Rodriguez. The Astros also added another run from J.D. Martinez’s RBI double off a rusty Marco Estrada.

Gallardo continued his dominance of the Astros, going seven innings and giving up one run (none earned) on four hits. He walked none and struck out seven. Estrada and Kameron Loe finished off the game and gave him his 12th win of the season.

Happ continues to struggle for Astros

Happ had yet another bad start today, going just five innings and giving up five runs (two earned) on 10 hits. He walked none and struck out six. It was also his seventh consecutive start where he gave up at least five runs.

Hairston in Milwaukee, already on active roster

Jerry Hairston Jr., who was acquired in a trade with the Nationals earlier today, arrived in Milwaukee during the game with the Astros. He wasn’t available today, but is already on the active 25-man roster, so he’ll be available tomorrow.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers have already taken the series from the Astros, but have a chance to sweep them tomorrow. Chris Narveson (7-6, 4.41 ERA) will take the mound for the Crew and will look to give them their sixth consecutive win. Narveson has yet to get a win against the Astros, as he’s 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA in his career against them.

The Astros will counter with another starter who has really disappointed them this year in Brett Myers (3-11, 4.66 ERA). In his career, Myers is 5-4 with a 3.70 ERA against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals flat-out destroyed the Cubs, 13-5, despite the fact the Cubs got to an early 5-0 lead. They always find some way to lose, though… Anyway, the Cards are 1.5 games back, while the Cubs are 16.5 back.
  • The Pirates lost to the Phillies, 7-4. (It was Hunter Pence’s Phils debut, by the way, but he didn’t do anything). The Pirates are now 3.5 games back and continue to fall in the standings.
  • The Reds defeated the Giants, 7-2. They remain 6.5 games back.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston Astros 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 6 2
Milwaukee Brewers 1 0 1 0 3 0 1 0 X 6 13 1

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 5 1 4 1 0 0 0 .265
Nyjer Morgan, CF 5 0 1 1 0 1 4 .323
Ryan Braun, LF 4 1 0 0 0 2 2 .320
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 2 3 1 0 0 2 .291
Felipe Lopez, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 3 6 .219
Casey McGehee, 3B 3 0 0 1 0 1 3 .230
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 .255
Jonathan Lucroy, C 4 0 3 2 0 1 0 .285
Yovani Gallardo, P 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 .245
a-Mark Kotsay, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .247
Total 37 6 13 6 0 9 19

a-Grounded out for Estrada in the 8th.

BATTING

2B: Gallardo (3), Lucroy (10).

HR: Hart (14), Fielder (24).

RBI: Hart (34), Morgan (24), McGehee (43), Lucroy 2 (41), Fielder (75).

Team RISP: 4-for-11.

Team LOB: 8.

FIELDING

E: Betancourt (13, throw).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Yovani Gallardo (W, 12-7) 7.0 4 1 0 0 7 0 3.69
Marco Estrada 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 0 4.57
Kameron Loe 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4.32

Pitches-strikes: Gallardo 111-78, Estrada 27-16, Loe 22-13.

Groundouts-flyouts: Gallardo 6-5, Estrada 0-2, Loe 3-0.

Batters faced: Gallardo 25, Estrada 5, Loe 4.


Brewers acquire versatile Hairston from Nationals

July 30, 2011

3:29p This actually happened much earlier today, but I’m just getting around to posting it now.

The Brewers acquired versatile veteran Jerry Hairston Jr. from the Nationals earlier today. This is the second move in as many days that GM Doug Melvin has made to make sure the Brewers have insurance at second base due to Rickie Weeks’ injury. Melvin also acquired Felipe Lopez from the Rays yesterday.

Anyway, Hairston provides more insurance than just at second base. In 75 games this season, he’s played 44 at third base, 22 in left field, nine in center field, three at second base, and one at shortstop. That shows how versatile he is in both the infield and outfield.

Aside from insurance at second base with Weeks out, Hairston can also help in center field, where the Brewers recently lost Carlos Gomez to a clavicle injury.

Hairston is hitting .268 this year, but has hit .317 in his career at Miller Park. He’s a .258 hitter for his entire career.

To make room for Hairston on 40-man roster, the Brewers moved lefty reliever Mitch Stetter from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. It’s been confirmed that Stetter will not be pitching again this season, as he’ll be undergoing season-ending hip surgery on Tuesday.

The Brewers gave up Minor League outfielder Erik Komatsu, who was hitting .293 this year at Double-A Huntsville. He was also the reigning Minor League player of the year, but Melvin said that the Brewers have a lot of depth as far as outfielders go, so he was fine with this deal.


Lopez, offense gives Wolf well-deserved win over Astros

July 30, 2011

9:47p Welcome back to the Brewers, Felipe Lopez.

Astros-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 4-0. Randy Wolf got his first win since June, and the Brewers offense actually gave him some run support today. Lopez, who I mentioned earlier, was a big part of the Brewers’ charge, going 2-for-4 in his first Brewers appearance since 2009.

The Brewers couldn’t really muster anything off of Astros starter Jordan Lyles until the fifth inning, when Casey McGehee got an RBI single from a swinging bunt. George Kottaras followed that up with an RBI single of his own to give the Brewers a 2-0 nothing lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

The Brewers tacked on a few more runs off the Astros’ bullpen when Corey Hart hit a two-run single to extend the lead to 4-0.

Wolf exited after seven innings due to a pitch count of 117, his second highest of the year, but had a stellar outing nonetheless. He gave up four hits while striking out five and walking three. The bullpen, Takashi Saito and Kameron Loe, combined for two perfect innings to finish off the game and give a break to Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford, who had both been used for three consecutive games.

Lyles, meanwhile, had a solid start, but is still searching for his first career win. He went six innings and gave up two runs on six hits while walking none and striking out three.

Lopez makes strong return to Brewers

Lopez made his first start with the Brewers since 2009 today, and he didn’t disappoint, going 2-for-4 with two singles. He also made a decent defensive play in the eighth inning to rob Jose Altuve of a bloop single.

Brewers GM Doug Melvin reacquired Lopez in a trade with the Rays in exchange for cash considerations yesterday. It was part of an emergency move because the Brewers regular starting second baseman, Rickie Weeks, went on the DL with a severely sprained ankle. Lopez appears to be the best option as the starting second baseman until Weeks’ return.

Lopez hit .320 during his time with the Brewers in 2009.

Pence traded to Phils mid-game

This was definitely one of the more awkward moments of the game. In the middle of the game, the Astros announced that right fielder Hunter Pence had been traded to the Phillies in exchange for four prospects. But, Pence was in right field at the time, so his replacement, Jason Michaels, had to go out and tell him that he’d been traded. So he shook hands and waved to everybody as he left the field for the last time on the worst team in baseball. Tomorrow, he’ll go onto the field for the first time with the best team in baseball.

SLOW curve…

I’ve been waiting for this to happen for a long time, and it finally happened today. Wolf lobbed a 58 MPH sweeping curve as a strikeout pitch to Michael Bourn, and it was the first time I’ve seen Wolf throw a curve below 60 MPH. I was waiting to see whether it would be Wolf or Zack Greinke, who both have part-eephus curveballs, to throw a curve below 60 MPH. I guess Wolf won that.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play the second game of a three-game set with the Astros tomorrow. They’ll send Yovani Gallardo (11-7, 3.89 ERA) to the mound, who will be in search of his 12th win of the season. Gallardo has completely dominated the Astros in his career, going 8-2 with a 3.32 ERA against them.

The Astros will counter J.A. Happ (4-12, 6.12 ERA), who is having the perfect definition of an awful season. He’s given up at least five runs in seven of his last eight starts, and has an 8.63 ERA over that span.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Pirates were hammered by the Phillies, 10-3. They now fall to 2.5 games back.
  • The Cardinals defeated the Cubs, 9-2. They are 1.5 games and 15.5 games back, respectively.
  • The Reds are locked up with the Giants in the 13th inning, 3-3. They are currently seven games back.

Recap of the past few days…

July 29, 2011

3:29p Sorry for not posting for the past few days. I was out of town again and wasn’t able to post. I usually put up some kind of notice before I go, but I forgot to this time, so my apologies for that. But, a lot has happened in the past few days for the Brewers, and they’re starting to stir as the Trade Deadline approaches.

Weeks to 15-day DL

The biggest piece of news is the worst: Rickie Weeks, the Brewers’ starting second baseman, was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday morning. He sustained a severe ankle sprain in the game against the Cubs the day before yesterday, and it was not fun to watch. He was trying to leg out an infield single, and he was safe. But, on his last stride towards first base, he stepped on the wrong part of the bag, and his ankle completely twisted the wrong way. He went flying off the bag in pain and laid on the ground for a while. Weeks was eventually escorted off the field by Ron Roenicke and the medical trainer, but he couldn’t walk by himself and couldn’t put weight on the ankle.

Now, this is NOT the time of year that we need key guys getting hurt. First it was Carlos Gomez, our right-handed center fielder, and now Weeks. We can’t keep losing guys when we’re in the middle of a pennant race.

Anyway, the Brewers have a few options to replace Weeks at second base for the time being. Eric Farris was called up and sent back down to Triple-A within a day, but he remains a candidate to fill in for part of the time. The Brewers also acquired Felipe Lopez, who played for the Brewers in 2009, from the Rays in exchange for cash considerations, and his contract was purchased from Triple-A earlier today, so he’s also an option. Then, there’s versatile infielders Craig Counsell and Josh Wilson, who are both capable of playing second, but their offense is a question mark, especially since Counsell is mired in an 0-for-41 slump.

Brewers sweep Cubs, gain lead in Central

Despite Weeks’ absence for the last game of the series, the Brewers swept the struggling Cubs out of town yesterday, and gained some breathing room in the NL Central. They now lead the Pirates and Cardinals, who are in a tie for second right now, by 1.5 games. The Reds, meanwhile, are quickly falling out of contention. They were just swept in four games by the Mets and are now 6.5 games back. Sadly, we can’t count out the Reds yet, since they have the easiest schedule for the rest of the year out of any of the contending teams in the Central.

Brewers FINALLY get rid of Nieves…

It was music to my ears when I heard this. The Brewers traded, or sold, whichever you prefer, catcher Wil Nieves to the Braves. They supposedly did it to give Nieves a better chance to return to the Majors this year, and to clear a spot in Triple-A Nashville for catching prospect Martin Maldonado.

The Brewers signed Nieves this offseason to have a backup catcher in case something happened to Jonathan Lucroy or George Kottaras. And, sure enough, Lucroy got injured in Spring Training, so Nieves became the Opening Day catcher. Then, when Lucroy got back, the Brewers optioned Kottaras because they thought Nieves was a better defensive catcher than him. Turns out he was awful offensively and defensively. The Brewers finally outrighted him to Nashville after he hit .109 at the Major League level. He also flopped in Nashville, batting .170 until the Brewers traded him.

Anyway, here’s the funny part about this trade: GM Doug Melvin received $1 from the Braves in return for Nieves. That’s right- one dollar, about what you’d pay for a snack from a vending machine. That’s because the Braves have to pay for the remaining $775,000 of Nieves’ salary. But still, one dollar?

I think I’ve covered all of the important things I didn’t post about while I was away (that is, if you consider getting one dollar in exchange for a catcher important). But, there are a few more things I’d like to say before I end the post.

First off, the Brewers are starting a three-game series with the Astros tonight. (We must be blessed to get the Cubs and Astros consecutively at this point in the season.) Randy Wolf (6-8, 3.62 ERA) will go for the Brewers and is seeking his first win since June, and tonight is the perfect time to get it. Wolf, a former Astro, has done well against his former team in his career, going 7-5 with a 3.15 ERA against them.

The Astros will counter with rookie starter Jordan Lyles (0-5, 4.55 ERA). His record is somewhat deceiving, as he’s actually had a few decent starts this year, but hasn’t gotten any run support. This will be his first career start against the Brewers.

Anyway, one more thing before I go- the Cardinals made somewhat of a big trade yesterday, acquiring pitchers Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, and outfielder Corey Patterson from the Blue Jays. But, they had to give up a key piece of their outfield- Colby Rasmus. They also parted with relievers P.J. Walters, Brian Tallet, and Trever Miller. Anyway, that doesn’t really have anything to do with the Brewers, I just thought I’d throw it out there.


Bullpen shines as Brewers edge Cubs

July 27, 2011

11:38p A few quick trade rumors surrounding the Brewers: they’ve discussed trades for Clint Barmes (Astros), Coco Crisp (Athletics), and Jerry Hairston Jr. (Nationals). Of those three, I’d say I like Crisp the best.

10:08p That had to be the most stellar performance I’ve seen the Brewers’ bullpen give in quite some time.

Cubs-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Cubs today, 3-2, in what turned into a pitcher’s duel after the first inning. Chris Narveson ran into some trouble in the sixth inning, but the bullpen bailed him out instead of adding on to the Brewers’ Major League leading bullpen losses.

The Cubs struck quickly in the first, when Aramis Ramirez crushed a first-pitch fastball from Narveson over the fence for a two-run shot to give the Cubs an early 2-0 lead. But, the Brewers quickly answered in the bottom of the inning, as they solved Cubs starter Ryan Dempster for the first time in over two years. After Corey Hart hit a lead-off double, Ryan Braun hit a broken bat fly ball that dropped into right field for a double. Then, after a Prince Fielder single, Casey McGehee hit a two RBI triple to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead. (Yes, McGehee, arguably the slowest man on the team, hit a triple.)

Anyway, it was a pitcher’s duel from there. Narveson and Dempster both settled down, but Narveson ran into trouble in the sixth, as the usual Narveson start goes. Geovany Soto led off with a single, and Marlon Byrd followed with a double. Thankfully, since Soto is painfully slow, he didn’t score and there were runners on second and third with no outs. Narveson would go on to walk Carlos Pena to load the bases, still no outs.

Then, who does Ron Roenicke bring in?

Sure enough, Kameron Loe.

You’d think Roenicke had learned his lesson by now about not bringing Loe into one-run games, but this time, Loe actually did his job. With the bases loaded and no outs, Alfonso Soriano grounded out to McGehee, who got a force out at home. Then, Loe induced an inning-ending double play to cap off an inning in which it was a miracle that the Cubs couldn’t even muster a run.

Anyway, Narveson went just five innings, but took the win, nonetheless. He gave up two runs on eight hits while walking one and striking out three.

Dempster’s night ended after six innings, as he gave up three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out seven.

From there, the Brewers bullpen did their part. After Loe got out of that huge jam, LaTroy Hawkins threw a scoreless seventh inning. Then, in the eighth, Francisco Rodriguez made Cubs hitters look like complete fools (that’s just how elite he is). John Axford worked around a Rickie Weeks error in the ninth to seal the win, giving him his 28th save of the year. It also extended his save streak to 25, which ties a franchise record.

Brewers finally solve Dempster

Coming into today, Dempster was 15-3 with a 2.50 ERA against the Brewers in his career. He was also 11-1 with a 2.52 ERA against them since 2008, and owns the most wins against the Brewers among active pitchers. But, three runs was all the Brewers needed to get past him today, as the Cubs couldn’t offer any support.

And, here’s another strange fact: In his previous 33 innings against the Brewers, he had given up just three runs against them. But, he gave up three runs in just one inning today.

K-Rod makes Miller Park debut

Rodriguez made his debut at Miller Park today (the Brewers haven’t had a home game since acquiring him), and he was greeted by a standing ovation as he came on the field. He responded to it well, as he made the Cubs look foolish at the plate, as I said earlier. He struck out two in a perfect eighth inning.

Gomez enthusiastic about returning this year

Carlos Gomez had successful surgery today on his left clavicle that he fractured last week in Arizona and is optimistic about still returning this year. His timetable says that he should be able to return in about six weeks if he doesn’t encounter any setbacks leading up to that point. Gomez injured the clavicle while making a highlight reel catch against the Diamondbacks to save a run.

Anyway, here’s a quick update on the rest of our players on the DL: Brandon Kintzler and Mitch Stetter are both to undergo surgery, and Manny Parra probably won’t pitch at all this season due to his many setbacks.

Next up for the Crew…

The Brewers will play the second game of this series with Chicago tomorrow. Zack Greinke will go for the Brewers, and he is coming off a solid start against the D-backs, even though he took the loss. Greinke has had one career start against the Cubs, and that was earlier this year. He got shelled for eight runs (six earned), but struck out 10. I should also mention he had awful defense behind him that day.

Carlos Zambrano will go for the Cubs, who, like Dempster, is known as a Brewer-killer. In his career, Zambrano is 13-9 with a 3.85 ERA against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Pirates are currently in extra innings with the Braves, tied 3-3. If the Pirates lose, the Brewers will move ahead of them in the standings.
  • The Reds lost to the Mets, 8-6. They are five games out.
  • The Cardinals beat the Astros, 3-1. They are in first place and 22 games out, respectively.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago Cubs 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 10 1
Milwaukee Brewers 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 3 8 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 .262
Nyjer Morgan, CF 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 .320
Ryan Braun, LF 4 1 3 1 0 0 0 .326
Prince Fielder, 1B 3 1 1 0 1 1 1 .287
Rickie Weeks, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 3 4 .270
Casey McGehee, 3B 3 0 1 2 1 1 2 .227
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 .253
Jonathan Lucroy, C 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 .280
Chris Narveson, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .162
a-Craig Counsell, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .159
Total 31 3 8 3 2 11 12

a-Struck out for Hawkins in the 7th.

BATTING

2B: Hart (13), Braun (23).

3B: McGehee (1).

RBI: Braun (69), McGehee 2 (40).

Team RISP: 3-for-9.

Team LOB: 6.

FIELDING

DP: (McGehee-Weeks-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewer

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Chris Narveson (W, 7-6) 5.0 8 2 2 1 3 1 4.41
Kameron Loe (H, 15) 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.50
LaTroy Hawkins (H, 14) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2.08
Francisco Rodriguez (H, 3) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3.21
John Axford (S, 28) 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 2.66

Narveson pitched to 3 batters in the 6th.

Pitches-strikes: Narveson 87-57, Loe 6-4, Hawkins 16-12, Rodriguez 11-8, Axford 19-13.

Groundouts-flyouts: Narveson 5-4, Loe 2-0, Hawkins 1-1, Rodriguez 0-1, Axford 1-0.

Batters faced: Narveson 24, Loe 2, Hawkins 4, Rodriguez 3, Axford 4.

Inherited runners-scored: Loe 3-0.


A few trade rumors…

July 26, 2011

4:42p Well, since the Brewers have an off-day today, there isn’t much for me to write about in a post today. But, the idea came to me earlier today that I should put up a few possible trade rumors surrounding the Brewers. Some of these are surprising, but some actually make sense.

Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers

This is one that somewhat surprises me. The Brewers supposedly have a mild interest in Hiroki Kuroda, a starting pitcher for the Dodgers, who is currently there on a one-year deal.

Now, there are many teams who are reportedly interested in Kuroda, and most of them are more interested than the Brewers. A few teams drawing interest towards Kuroda are the Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Rangers, and Cardinals. All of those teams could use a starter to fill in a hole in the back-end of their rotation.

But, Kuroda has a full no-trade clause, meaning he can decline any trade offers. The Dodgers claim he can persuaded to waive that clause, however. In fact, Kuroda recently said that he would consider waiving the clause if he were to be traded to the Yankees or Red Sox (big surprise there).

Anyway, the three hottest teams pursuing Kuroda are the Tigers, Indians, and Rangers. So I’m guessing the Brewers aren’t really trying too hard to get him, and I can see why. We already have five established starters in Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson. Not to mention a few guys in Triple-A who can be called up to help the rotation, if needed. That’s why I was surprised to even see the Brewers on the list of teams pursuing Kuroda.

Kuroda is 6-12 with a 3.19 ERA this season. His ERA is actually lower than every member of our starting rotation, yet all of our guys have more wins than him. That’s why I’m surprised Kuroda isn’t more eager to get traded so he can actually get some run support.

Carlos Beltran, Mets

Carlos Beltran is obviously rumored to go to a lot of different teams, with the Giants and Phillies among the top suitors for him. But, the Brewers and Reds, both of the NL Central, have slight interest in him, and could make a surprise move to acquire him.

But, there are a few things that don’t make sense to me about the Brewers going after him. We have Corey Hart under control for the next few years as our right fielder, and Beltran said that he doesn’t want to move back to center field, his former position. Beltran is more of a consistent hitter than Hart, obviously, but, if the Brewers traded for him, it would be a half-season rental, because Beltran automatically becomes a free agent at season’s end. This, like the Kuroda rumor, doesn’t make much sense for the Brewers.

Center field depth

This isn’t exactly a rumor, but something the Brewers may be looking for before the trade deadline.

Carlos Gomez recently went down with an injury that may have very well ended his season last week in Arizona. Ron Roenicke claimed that he would be back on the field before season’s end, but, until then, the Brewers need a decent right-handed center fielder to platoon with the left-handed Nyjer Morgan. Brett Carroll has taken over for Gomez for the time being, but I don’t know how long he’s going to last with us, considering his career .205 average.

Search for a versatile infielder

The Brewers are reportedly looking for a versatile veteran infielder. They had been going after Jeff Keppinger and Wilson Betemit, but the Astros dealt Keppinger to the Giants, and the Royals dealt Betemit to the Tigers. And, even before talks with those two began, the Brewers were talking to the Dodgers about Jamey Carroll. But, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that talks didn’t really advance further than the Brewers just expressing interest in Carroll. So the Brewers could still be on the search for an infielder.

Possible search for another reliever

The Brewers could also search for another reliever, which I wouldn’t mind at all. They obviously have already acquired Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets, but they may go for a left-handed reliever, as the Brewers’ bullpen is currently dominated by all right-handers. Zack Braddock, Mitch Stetter, and Manny Parra, all of the Brewers left handers with Major League experience, have endured serious setbacks. Braddock was optioned once again to the Minors because he was extremely ineffective this season. He is apparently being bothered by something that the Brewers refuse to say publicly. At the beginning of the year, it was a sleeping issue (based off a disorder similar to that of Zack Greinke), but it appears to be something different this time. Stetter is trying to fight his way back from a hip injury, but you can imagine that a hip injury is tough to overcome due to the way he throws. Lastly, Parra keeps having setback after setback during his rehab appearances and probably won’t even throw again this season.

Anyway, that’s the situation for the Brewers, as far as lefties out of the ‘pen go. I don’t know who they’ll try to acquire to fix the situation, or if they even will at all.

Also, Mike Adams has come up in rumors surrounding the Brewers. Adams, currently with the Padres, came up through the Brewers system and pitched for us from 2004-06. He is having a great year with the Padres right now and has a 1.20 ERA. He would be a great addition to our bullpen (I wouldn’t mind him replacing Kameron Loe).

Anyway, that’s about all the rumors I know of right now. The deadline is the 31st, so it’s coming up fast. The only big move they’ve made so far is the trade for Rodriguez, but Doug Melvin doesn’t screw around when it comes to making blockbuster trades, so we could expect more.


Wilson’s missed pop up haunts Brewers in loss

July 24, 2011

5:38p The Brewers still can’t win a series on the road.

Brewers-Giants Wrap-Up

The Brewers lost to the Giants today, 2-1. It handed them yet another series loss on the road, and they finished 5-6 on a tough road trip through the NL West. The Brewers have not had a series win on the road since a sweep of the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium in the beginning of June.

Yovani Gallardo had a solid start, going seven innings and giving up two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out five. It was actually a miracle that he even made it through seven innings, considering he needed 61 pitches to make it through the third.

Madison Bumgarner was slightly better than Gallardo, however, going 7 2/3 innings and giving up one run on eight hits. He walked none and struck out eight.

The only Brewers run came on Ryan Braun’s first inning home run. Gallardo held the Giants scoreless until the third, when he gave up a double to Bumgarner, who scored on Jeff Keppinger’s single.

Then, the Brewers’ astounding defense came into play in the fourth, when Josh Wilson completely missed a pop up and allowed Aubrey Huff to reach first. He probably lost it in the sun, but it doesn’t matter, because that play would wind up costing us the game. Huff eventually got around to third, then scored on Mike Fontenot’s sacrifice fly.

And that was the only scoring in the game. Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson finished the game for the Giants to give them the win.

Carroll makes Brewers debut

Brett Carroll made his Brewers’ debut today. He almost did last night, but was yanked from the on-deck circle due to a pitching chance.

Anyway, Carroll didn’t get a hit, but he made a highlight reel catch in center to rob Nate Schierhotlz of a base hit.

Fielder declines to take day off

Manager Ron Roenicke wanted to give Prince Fielder a day off today for two reasons: one, he’s in the midst of his worst slump of the season, and two, Bumgarner, a lefty, was on the mound. But, Fielder elected to play, and went 2-for-4 at the plate. This is a sign that he’s probably just about out of his slump that started after the All-Star Break.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers have a scheduled off-day tomorrow, but will return to Miller Park on Tuesday to take on the Cubs. Chris Narveson (6-6, 4.45) will take the mound for the Brewers in the first game of the series. He’s coming off a no-decision against the Diamondbacks, but he went seven scoreless innings and threw just 87 pitches. He appeared set to toss a complete game, but the bullpen blew it for him after he was pulled. Anyway, Narveson has dominated the Cubs in his career, going 5-0 with a 3.38 ERA against them.

Sadly, Narveson won’t be the only pitcher in that matchup who has dominated the opposition over their career, as Ryan Dempster (7-7, 5.00 ERA) will go for the Cubs. Dempster is having a down year so far, but that doesn’t change the numbers he has against the Brewers: 15-3 with a 2.50 ERA. This should be a pretty big pitchers’ duel.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Reds will take on the Braves at 7:05 CT. As of right now, they are four games back.
  • The Pirates defeated the Cardinals in extra innings today, 4-3. The Brewers, Cardinals, and Pirates are now in a three-way tie for first in the Central.
  • The Cubs defeated the Astros in extra innings today, 5-4. They are 11.5 games and 20 games back, respectively.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee Brewers 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 0
San Francisco Giants 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 X 2 7 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 .262
Josh Wilson, 3B 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 .263
Ryan Braun, LF 4 1 2 1 0 1 2 .321
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 0 2 0 0 1 1 .287
Rickie Weeks, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 2 3 .273
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 0 1 0 0 3 1 .252
Jonathan Lucroy, C 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 .280
Brett Carroll, CF 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Yovani Gallardo, P 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 .239
a-Casey McGehee, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .226
Total 32 1 8 1 0 10 12

a-Struck out for Gallardo in the 8th

BATTING

2B: Gallardo (2).

HR: Braun (20).

RBI: Braun (68).

Team RISP: 0-for-2.

Team LOB: 5.

FIELDING

DP: (Wilson-Weeks-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Yovani Gallardo (L, 11-7) 7.0 6 2 2 1 5 0 3.89
Takashi Saito 1.0 1 0 0 2 0 0 3.00

WP: Gallardo.

Pitches-strikes: Gallardo 121-81, Saito 21-8.

Groundouts-flyouts: Gallardo 4-6, Saito 1-0.

Batters faced: Gallardo 27, Saito 5.


Close plays, missed chances cost Brewers in loss to Giants

July 24, 2011

Update 10:42a A little more clarification on the ejections and umpires. Bochy wasn’t actually ejected; it was the Giants’ bench coach, Ron Wotus, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. And I figured out that the home plate umpire was not West, but Sam Holbrook. I guess that means Holbrook was the one making the bad calls. But that doesn’t change anything I said about West later in this post. Anyway, sorry for any confusion, and hopefully it’s cleared up now.

11:14p There are a few things that have made me angry during the Brewers’ time in San Francisco. That includes their loss today, but it’s more than that, and I’ll get to that later.

Brewers-Giants Wrap-Up

The Brewers lost a close game with the Giants today, 4-2. Randy Wolf was on the mound, and had another solid start, but the Brewers’ bats seem to always shut down whenever he pitches.

The Brewers struck first in the fourth inning, when Ryan Braun hit a solo homer off of Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong. Rickie Weeks followed up with a double, then Casey McGehee hit a hard single to left field. Weeks tried to score, and he did, but not according to home plate umpire Joe West. Left fielder Cody Ross’ throw was on the money, but catcher Chris Stewart completely missed the tag, and yet Weeks was called out. But West was making questionable calls all night, which was another thing that I wasn’t too impressed about, but I’ll get to more on that later as well.

The Giants immediately answered in the bottom of the fourth, as Nate Schierholtz, who would be a nightmare for the Brewers the rest of the game, hit a two-run double off of Wolf to make it 2-1, Giants.

The Brewers tied the game in the fifth, however, on Nyjer Morgan’s RBI double. But, in the bottom of the inning, the Giants regained the lead on Aubrey Huff’s sacrifice fly.

The Giants added another run on Andres Torres’ RBI single in the eighth inning. Brian Wilson and his shoe polish beard came into finish the game for the Giants, who sealed the 4-2 victory over the Brewers.

Morgan “flips off” fans in center

He didn’t, actually. That’s what put me over the top about this.

While Morgan was playing center yesterday, he made a great catch to rob whoever was batting of extra bases. Morgan then put up two fingers to signify that there were two outs in the inning, but the fans in the center field crowd, who must have been blind, took it the wrong way. They all assumed that Morgan had flipped them off. Morgan, who is an emotional player and likes to have fun on the field, played along and continued to taunt the fans (which the deserved for being that stupid). Ever since then, Morgan has been booed whenever he makes a play or comes up to bat in a game in this series.

Anyway, Giants beat reporter Henry Shculman made the whole situation worse by tweeting and blogging that Morgan flipped off the center field crowd, which probably got him some extra boos today. Shculman also said that Morgan would probably be suspended for a game or two. I noticed Shculman’s tweet earlier today, and said that he was only signifying that there were two outs (and many others did as well). His reply? “That debate was so yesterday.” I guess Giants fans and affiliates have a little less class than I thought.

By the way,  I don’t normally do things like this on my blog (meaning referring to tweets and things on other blogs). But this was just flat-out stupid and I had to say something.

Anyway… I could go on about past experiences where the Giants didn’t have too much class, such as an incident between Prince Fielder and Barry Zito, and some offensive comments by Giants GM Brian Sabean regarding Buster Posey’s season ending injury. But that would get me WAY off topic…

West is the greatest home plate umpire ever.

Not.

West, who was umpiring home plate for today’s game, was making extremely questionable calls early on in the game, and continued throughout. He actually screwed over Vogelsong on a lot of pitches, which led to him having to throw 103 pitches just to get through the fifth inning. In fact, Giants manager Bruce Bochy (or another coach in their dugout, I couldn’t really tell due to the camera angles) was ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes, which isn’t allowed.

Anyway, back to West. He’s made a pretty bad reputation for himself this year as one of the worst umpires in baseball. This wasn’t the first time he’s made a scene in a game this year. I remember earlier this year when he was umpiring a Boston game, and Red Sox manager Terry Francona got into an argument with another one of the umpires in the crew. West, of course, had to get into the argument, because, as Francona said after the game, “he’s always getting in other people’s business.”

I’ll stop my ranting after this, but I just want to say one more thing about how bad umpires have been this year. Former Brewer Bill Hall, while he was in a game for the Astros, was at bat, and the umpire was giving him some bad calls. Now, we all know that Hall takes awhile to get set before he steps back into the batter’s box after a pitch, but he took a few extra moments before getting back into his stance. While he was taking his time, the home plate umpire came up to him and said, “Get the **** back in the batter’s box.” (I censored the word because I’m not going to go as far as putting swears on my blog.) Yeah. An UMPIRE said that. Hall clearly wasn’t too happy with that, and, after the game, he made a statement that went something along the lines of “all umpires think that fans come to the games to watch them and try to attract attention to themselves.” Which is completely true. I could name a few umps who appear to think this way, such as West, Bob Davidson, Angel Hernandez… I could go on. But, when did all this craziness with umpires start? Well, I noticed it immediately after Jim Joyce blew Armando Galarraga’s perfect game. Which makes perfect sense, if you think about it.

Anyway, I’ve gotten way too far off topic with these last few topics, so I’m going to get back to the Brewers now. My apologies for all this ranting.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play a rubber match against the Giants tomorrow in the finale of their three game set. Yovani Gallardo (11-6, 3.96 ERA) will go for the Brewers, hoping to become more consistent as the ace of the staff. Gallardo has had success against the Giants in his career, going 5-2 with a 3.02 ERA against them. I should also mention that Gallardo won the first game of his career against the Giants.

The Giants will counter with Madison Bumgarner (5-9, 3.72 ERA), who has been victim of even less run support than Wolf, and his having a much better year than his record shows. Bumgarner is 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals knocked around the Pirates, 9-1. They are tied with us for the division lead and one game back, respectively.
  • The Cubs defeated the Astros, 5-1. They are 12.5 games back and 20 games back, respectively.
  • The Reds blew out the Braves, 11-2. They are four games back.
  • Zack Cozart and Scott Rolen of the Reds were both placed on the DL today. (By the way, I’m going to start putting news about other teams under this section of my posts, if you’re wondering what this is doing here.)

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 7 0
San Francisco Giants 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 X 4 10 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 3 1 1 0 1 1 0 .258
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 .327
c-Brett Carroll, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
d-Mark Kotsay, PH-CF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Ryan Braun, LF 3 1 1 1 1 2 0 .319
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 .285
Rickie Weeks, 2B 3 0 2 0 1 0 0 .275
Casey McGehee, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 1 3 .227
Yuniesky Betancourt, S 3 0 1 0 1 0 2 .252
George Kottaras, C 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .207
a-Jonathan Lucroy, PH-C 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .283
Randy Wolf, P 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .194
b- Josh Wilson, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .283
Total 30 2 7 2 4 7 9

a-Lined out for Kottaras in the 7th.

b-Grounded out for Wolf in the 7th.

c-Batted for Morgan in the 8th.

d-Flied out for Carroll in 8th.

BATTING

2B: Weeks (25), Morgan (10).

3B: Hart (2).

HR: Braun (19).

RBI: Braun (67), Morgan (23).

Team RISP: 3-for-6.

Team LOB: 5.

BASERUNNING

SB: Weeks (9).

CS: McGehee (2).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Randy Wolf (L, 6-8) 6.0 7 3 3 3 6 0 3.62
LaTroy Hawkins 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.15
Kameron Loe 0.1 2 1 1 1 0 0 4.60
Marco Estrada 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.50

Pitches-strikes: Wolf 101-62, Hawkins 18-12, Loe 13-7, Estrada 3-3.

Groundouts-flyouts: Wolf 4-6, Hawkins 1-0, Loe 0-1, Estrada 1-1.

Batters faced: Wolf 28, Hawkins 4, Loe 4, Estrada 2.

Inherited runners-scored: Estrada 2-0.


Marcum, Betancourt help Crew take down Giants

July 23, 2011

12:03a Sorry I haven’t posted the past two games. As I keep saying, these west coast games are a pain to cover. But, I’ve got some time on my hands late at night right now, so I figured I should get up an article on this game.

Brewers-Giants Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Giants today, 4-2. Yuniesky Betancourt, who, before this road trip, was mired in an all-season slump, stayed hot and drove in two runs. Jonathan Lucroy also drove in two runs.

Shaun Marcum got the win, improving to 9-3 and continuing his success against the NL West. He went seven innings while giving up two runs on four hits. He walked none and struck out five. Matt Cain was on the losing end, going six innings while giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits. He walked one and struck out two.

John Axford came in to finish the game and recorded his 27th save of the season.

(Sorry this isn’t the long and in-depth coverage I usually give of the game. I’m sort of tired right now and don’t want to spend too much time on this.)

Bottom half of the order continues to deliver

The bottom half of the Brewers’ lineup has heated up since the All-Star break, and they continued that today. Lucroy and Betancourt both drove in two runs, accounting for the four runs that the Brewers scored today.

Over the past few series, Betancourt, who struggled early on, has improved his batting average by 13 points, which is very tough to do at this point in the season.

Axford continues save streak

Axford got his 27th save of the season today, and his 24th consecutive save. He is one away from tying the franchise record of consecutive saves, which is currently 25. Also, his 24 consecutive saves mark his total amount of saves he had last year in his rookie season.

This doesn’t have anything to do with the save streak, but Francisco Rodriguez looked good today, tossing a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts. He bounced back from a rough outing in Arizona the day before yesterday, when he blew a lead of two runs.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will take on the Giants again tomorrow and will send Randy Wolf (6-7, 3.58 ERA) to the mound. He’s had some success against the Giants in his career, going 9-5 with a 2.77 ERA against them. That includes a complete game shutout he tossed against them last year at AT&T Park.

The Giants will counter with their best story of the year- Ryan Vogelsong (7-1, 2.02 ERA). He’s pitching in the Majors for the first time since 2006, and is making the most of it- he currently leads the NL in ERA at 2.02. His numbers against the Brewers are pretty ugly- 1-3 with a 6.98 ERA. I’m guessing those numbers are mostly from his days with the Pirates, but he’s a far different pitcher than he was then, so the Brewers can expect a challenge tomorrow.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs defeated the Astros, 4-2. They are 13.5 and 20 games back, respectively. (Yeah… We can pretty much count them out of the division at this point.)
  • The Cardinals beat the Pirates, 6-4. Both of them remain looking up at the Brewers in the Central, as they are both one game back.
  • The Reds lost to the Braves, 6-4. They are five games back and are falling out of contention. (That’s a good thing, because we don’t need another team to worry about at this point in the season.)

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