Brewers hand win to Cardinals in series opener

August 31, 2011

This is exactly the kind of game that will not help you late in the season or in the postseason.

The Brewers fell to the Cardinals today, 2-1, in the opener of a three-game set at Miller Park. It was just the third time since the All-Star break that the Brewers lost at home, and their overall record at Miller Park is now 50-17. It was a pitchers’ duel for most of the game, but, the pitcher for the Brewers didn’t have much of a say in the turnout.

Shaun Marcum tossed a gem. Just like he did his last time out against the Pirates. But, the results were the same. Marcum took a tough luck loss, as he went seven innings while giving up two runs (none earned) on four hits. He walked three and struck out four.

And those two unearned runs were the only runs the Cards scored. They came in the fifth inning, and, to start that inning, the Brewers committed two consecutive errors. The first one was by first baseman Prince Fielder, who let a ball that should have been a routine grounder bounce through his legs, allowing Skip Schumaker to reach. The next one was a botched play by second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. He took what should have been a routine double play ball and turned it in to an embarrassing play in which the ball bounced off his chest, followed by him throwing the ball to first base like a girl. That throw allowed Rafael Furcal to reach. Both Schumaker and Furcal would come around to score on a RBI single by the pitcher, Edwin Jackson, and a sacrifice fly by Jon Jay, respectively.

But this is the one thing that drives me absolutely insane about the Brewers. They have pitching. They have offense. Both of those are extremely important aspects of the game. But, they don’t have the third aspect, which is defense. You need all of them to succeed. Having two of three doesn’t cut it. And there’s proof that they have bad defense- Casey McGehee (third base), Yuniesky Betancourt (shortstop), and Fielder (first base) all lead the league in errors at their respective position. That’s saying something.

The only other contending team I can think of that manages to get by with horrible defense is the Rangers. But, the reason they have to account for so many errors is because of their shortstop, Elvis Andrus, who leads the Majors in errors at any position. Anyway, I guess I’m losing my point here, but what I’m saying is the Brewers need to pick it up defensively if they want to go deep in the postseason.

Anyway, the only Brewers run came on a Nyjer Morgan RBI double in the sixth inning. In that same inning, the Brewers 3-4-5 combo- Ryan Braun, Fielder, and McGehee- were due up with a guy on second and no outs. So what do they do? Get retired in order by Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson and strand the baserunner. Great.

The Brewers threatened in the ninth against Cardinals closer Fernando Salas with runners on first and second with Mark Kotsay up, but he grounded into a game-ending double play. That followed a botched bunt by Betancourt that practically turned into a double play itself.

Now, I’d be more angry about this loss if the race in the NL Central were tighter. With the loss tonight, the Brewers still hold a whopping 9.5 game lead over the Cardinals in the Central, which I’m still comfortable with for now. Had the Brewers won, the Cards would have fallen to an 11.5 game deficit.

Anyway, now that I’m done venting about the Brewers’ defense, I’ll get into tomorrow’s game. The Brewers and Cardinals play the second game of this three-game set at Miller Park tomorrow night, and the Brewers will send Randy Wolf (11-8, 3.37 ERA) to the mound. Wolf’s last start against the Cardinals was great: he went eight shutout innings and was poised to toss a complete game. Anyway, Wolf is 7-7 with a 3.80 ERA against the Cards in his career.

The Cardinals will counter with Jake Westbrook (10-7, 4.75 ERA), who hasn’t really impressed me any time I’ve seen him pitch. Westbrook is 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in his career against the Brewers, and both of those losses came this year.


Lopez to report to Triple-A Nashville

August 30, 2011

This is yesterday’s news, but, since there’s nothing else to post about right now and I forgot to post it yesterday, what better time than now?

It was reported yesterday that Brewers infielder Felipe Lopez accepted his assignment to the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds, and started playing for them today. The Brewers designated him for assignment on Wednesday after he was very unimpressive at the Major League level.

The Brewers acquired Lopez from the Rays before the Trade Deadline because they were in need of an extra infielder due to the injury to Rickie Weeks. They were also interested in his versatility, as Lopez can play pretty much any infield position. But, that versatility couldn’t make up for his lack of offense- he hit for just a .182 average during his time with the Brewers this year.

And, on top of that, the Brewers found that they had tons of options to fill in at second base during Weeks’ absence, such as Jerry Hairston Jr., Craig Counsell, and Josh Wilson. All of the names I just mentioned are above average defensively (except maybe Hairston), while Lopez is just plain lazy on the field. None of them are huge hitters, either, but are all hitting over .182 (except Counsell, but that’s courtesy of a 0-for-46 slump).

Anyway, I just finished watching Randy Wells of the Cubs toss a two-hit shutout against the worst offensive team in baseball. Who is that? None other than the reigning World Champions. There’s a reason that the Giants are now 4.5 games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West. That reason? Getting shut out by pitchers with ERAs a mile over 5.00.

So, yeah, the reason I wrote this is because the Brewers had an off-day today. I know off-days are great for players, but they are the exact opposite for die-hard fans. Anyway, I’ll see you guys tomorrow for a Shaun Marcum vs. Edwin Jackson matchup in Milwaukee (a game that I’ll actually be at).


After Greinke’s great start, Brewers get shaky win

August 28, 2011

This win certainly didn’t come easy, but, as you’d expect, the Brewers found a way to pull this one out.

The Brewers defeated the Cubs today, 3-2, and completed a three-game sweep of them at Miller Park. It appeared that the Cubs were going to go easily from the start, as Zack Greinke didn’t even give up his first hit until the fifth inning. But, it turned out that the Brewers would have to get around some late drama to win this one.

But, before I get into any of that, let me say that Greinke had a great start, and definitely rebounded from his awful start in Pittsburgh his last time out. Greinke went 7 2/3 innings while giving up a run on four hits. He walked two and struck out seven. The 7 2/3 innings also tied Greinke’s longest start of the year.

Ryan Braun hit a RBI double in the first inning to get the Brewers on the board first (how many times have I said that over the past week?), which followed a Corey Hart single. That would be it until the fifth inning, when Hart stayed hot and hit a two-run home run to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead.

But, things got interesting in the eighth inning. Greinke gave up a one-out double to Blake DeWitt, and after retiring one more batter, Ron Roenicke pulled him in favor of Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod came in and promptly gave up a RBI double to Darwin Barney to cut the Cubs’ deficit to 3-1, but he retired Aramis Ramirez to get out of the inning.

John Axford came on to close it out in the ninth, but made it a shaky save. Carlos Pena nearly hit a homer leading off the inning, but it lost carry at the warning track. Then, Tyler Colvin didn’t miss his homer and took Axford deep to cut the deficit to 3-2. Axford then lost his command for a batter and walked Marlon Byrd, and the next batter, Alfonso Soriano, practically hit a go-ahead two-run homer that, like Pena’s, died down at the warning track.

But it didn’t stop there. With two outs and Byrd still on first, Casey McGehee made an error at third base that I thought for sure was going to blow the Brewers the game. But, Geovany Soto grounded out to end the game. (McGehee actually bobbled that ball too, but still made the out.)

Anyway, now that I’m done talking about how shaky Axford’s save was, let me give some positives about- it was his 40th save of the year. He now becomes the second closer in Brewers history to notch 40 saves, the first being Francisco Cordero (44 saves in 2007). It was also Axford’s 37th consecutive save, which continues to add on to a franchise record.

McGehee’s defense in the ninth inning today was just awful, as I mentioned earlier. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Taylor Green get his first Major League start the day after tomorrow just because of McGehee’s performance in the ninth. I don’t know if Green is as good defensively as he is offensively, but I don’t think anyone could be as bad as McGehee was in the ninth today.

The Brewers have an off-day tomorrow, but, after that, they’ll face the Cardinals, who they currently have a 10.5 over in the NL Central. So, with a few wins in this series, the Brewers can pretty much knock them out. Here are the probables for the series:

Edwin Jackson (10-9, 3.95 ERA) vs. Shaun Marcum (11-4, 3.38 ERA)

??? vs. Randy Wolf (11-8, 3.37 ERA)

??? vs. Yovani Gallardo (15-8, 3.37 ERA)

MLB has yet to announced the starters for the last two games of the series, but I do know that the Brewers won’t have to face Jaime Garcia or Chris Carpenter, the best pitchers in the Cardinals’ rotation. So I guess that means that we’ll be facing Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook, but I don’t know in which order.


Offense backs Gallardo’s career-high 15th win

August 28, 2011

The magic number for the Brewers this year just keeps getting better and better. That’s something I haven’t been able to say very often over the course of the past few years.

The Brewers defeated the Cubs today, 6-4, and have taken the series from the Cubs at Miller Park. The win set a few milestones for this season- first off, the Brewers won their 80th game, something they failed to do in 2010 during a disappointing 77-85 campaign. They’ve become the second team in the National League this year to win 80 games (the Phillies were the first). The second milestone was Yovani Gallardo’s 15th win of 2011, which sets a new career high for him.

Gallardo had a great start tonight, going seven innings while giving up one run (none earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out 10. The only two walks he gave up came in a seventh inning in which he got into a bases loaded jam, but struck out the side to get out of it. It was also Gallardo’s second 10-strikeout game of 2011, and both of them have come against the Cubs.

Ryan Braun got the Brewers on the board in the first inning with a RBI double off Cubs starter Ryan Dempster. A few batters later, Casey McGehee crushed his 11th homer of the year with Braun still on second to give the Brewers an early 3-0 lead against Dempster, who typically dominates the Brewers.

Alfonso Soriano got the Cubs on the board in the second with a RBI single, but it was unearned towards Gallardo because of an error he committed earlier in the inning. It was an odd play, actually- Carlos Pena, the Cubs’ cleanup hitter, was down 0-2 against Gallardo, then he laid down a bunt that Gallardo clearly wasn’t expecting. So I almost don’t blame him for not making the play- how often do you see a cleanup hitter lay down a bunt, especially on an 0-2 count?

Anyway, the Brewers answered back in the bottom of the second on Corey Hart’s RBI triple. They also scored in the third on Prince Fielder’s mammoth solo homer. Then, in the seventh, the Brewers tacked on one more on Hart’s solo home run. Hart finished a single shy of the cycle, which isn’t something you hear too often, because you’d think a single is the easiest to get.

But, LaTroy Hawkins practically blew the Brewers’ 6-1 lead in the eighth inning. He loaded the bases, then gave up a base-clearing double to Soriano. Francisco Rodriguez came in and bailed him out of the inning after that, however. That set the stage for John Axford’s 36th consecutive save (39th overall) in the ninth inning.

Taylor Green arrived at Miller Park today, but hasn’t gotten his first Major League at-bat yet. He was in the dugout, and I assume he was available to pinch-hit. But, he wasn’t needed, since the Cubs used all left-handed relievers and Green is a left-handed batter himself. Ron Roenicke said that Green, a third baseman, could be used to start in place of McGehee against tough right-handed pitchers.

Anyway, I was wrong about Green’s numbers at Triple-A last night. He was actually hitting with .336 with 22 homers and 88 RBIs, which are better than the numbers I thought he had. So I guess a promotion was inevitable with how badly Green was tearing up the Minors.

The Brewers will go for a home sweep against the Cubs tomorrow in a day game. Zack Greinke (12-5, 4.22 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’ll look to rebound from an awful start in Pittsburgh his last time out in which he gave up seven earned runs. Greinke has had two starts against the Cubs this year- one was great, the other not so much. In the good start, he went 6 2/3 scoreless innings, which remains his only scoreless start while with the Brewers. He gave up six earned runs during the other start, however, so we’ll see which one was the fluke tomorrow.

The Cubs will counter with Casey Coleman (2-6, 7.59 ERA), who’s still filling in for Carlos Zambrano while he sits on the disqualified list. Coleman has been up and down between the Majors and Minors this year, but has been extremely inconsistent for the Cubs, as shown by his 7.59 ERA. Coleman is 0-1 with a 7.43 ERA in his career against the Brewers.


Braun, Wolf push Brewers past Cubs

August 27, 2011

When the Cardinals win, the Brewers win. When the Cardinals lose, the Brewers win. That’s just the way things seem to work nowadays. And it’s led to a 9.5 game lead in the NL Central for the Brewers.

Cubs-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers beat the Cubs today, 5-2. The Brewers’ seemingly dormant offense finally broke through in the fourth inning after having been shut out for 12 consecutive innings (going back to them being shut out by the Pirates the day before yesterday). The Cardinals also defeated the Pirates today, so the distance between them and the Brewers remains 9.5 games.

Randy Wolf had a decent start and won his 11th game of the year. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits. He struck out three and walked two. Wolf also lowered his ERA to 3.37, which is now the lowest out of the five starters in the Brewers’ rotation.

George Kottaras got the Brewers on the board in the fourth inning with a solo shot off Cubs starter Rodrigo Lopez. That cut the Cubs’ lead in half, who had gotten two runs off Wolf courtesy of a lead-off solo homer by Starlin Castro and a RBI double by Jeff Baker.

Ryan Braun and the Brewers broke the game open and took the lead in the fifth inning on a RBI double. Two more runs scored after that thanks to an embarrassing throwing error by second baseman Darwin Barney. The Brewers also tacked on one more run in the seventh inning on a Prince Fielder RBI single.

Anyway, here’s a pretty big roster move for the Brewers: they’ve sent reliever Tim Dillard down to Triple-A, and brought up third baseman Taylor Green. This was somewhat of a surprise move, since Green was expected to join the team when rosters expand on September 1st. But I guess the Brewers wanted him up right now.

Green was putting up monster numbers in the Minors this year- he was batting .334 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs, so I guess he was due for callup at some point. But, I don’t know what kind of role he’s going to play for the Brewers right now. He could occasionally (or more than that) fill in for struggling third baseman Casey McGehee, who’s just been having a downright awful season from the start. Maybe that was the strategy behind this move, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I’m excited to see Green in action in the Majors, nonetheless.

As far as the DL for the Brewers goes, center fielder Carlos Gomez and second baseman are both making progress. Gomez said today that he’s ready for a rehab assignment, and that assignment would probably be for Class A Timber Rattlers. Weeks isn’t quite ready for a rehab assignment yet, and is pretty much just working on defense at this point, but he shouldn’t be far behind Gomez.

The Brewers will be going for a series win against the Cubs tomorrow in another night game. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.51 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a decent start against the Mets in which he gave up two runs in seven innings. Gallardo has dominated the Cubs in his career, going 3-1 with a 3.31 ERA against them.

The Cubs will counter with Ryan Dempster (10-9, 4.60 ERA), unfortunately. The reason I say unfortunately is because this guy is the definition of a Brewers-killer. He’s 15-4 with a 2.56 ERA against the Brewers in his career.


Recap of Brewers-Pirates series

August 25, 2011

I’m back. Sorry for not getting up posts for a few days, but I was out of town. Anyway, I should probably reflect a bit on the Brewers-Pirates series in Pittsburgh that took place while I was away.

The Brewers split that four-game series. That’s alright, I guess, but when the Brewers are playing the Pirates, you’d expect an easy four wins for the Brewers. But, the law of averages had to come into play eventually, meaning the Pirates couldn’t do this horrible against the Brewers forever.

Anyway, the offense for the Brewers was on and off all series. In the first game of the double-header, they made a mockery of the Pirates’ bullpen by scoring six runs off them in an 8-1 victory. But, the Pirates countered in the night game of the double-header, tagging Zack Greinke for seven runs in a 9-2 loss for the Brewers. Seven of their nine runs came in a never-ending seventh inning off Greinke and reliever Frankie De La Cruz.

But, the Brewers had a seven run inning of their own the next day. They crushed Ross Ohlendorf, who was making his return from the DL, for seven runs in the second inning, which was part of an 11-4 blowout win.

During the final game of the series, the offense pretty much disappeared. The Pirates won, 2-0. Pirates starter Aaron Thompson was making his Major League debut, and he did alright, I guess. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings, but didn’t give up a run. He allowed a lot of baserunners, but the Brewers weren’t executing with runners in scoring position at all. That was their 11th shutout loss of the year- all of which have come on the road.

Anyway, here are a few more things that took place while I was away.

Narveson moves to bullpen for the time being

Chris Narveson will be in the bullpen for the next two series or so. He’s typically the No. 5 guy in the Brewers’ rotation, but, due to scheduled off-days during the next stretch, they won’t need a fifth starter. That means they’ll be working with a four-man rotation (Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, and Randy Wolf). This move also gives the bullpen a lefty, something the Brewers’ bullpen has been lacking nearly all season.

But, I don’t know how much I like this move. It’s true that Narveson is only an average starter- he’s 9-6 with a 4.31 ERA- and isn’t a superstar ace, meaning they can go without him for awhile. But, during the next two series, the Brewers will be playing the Cubs and Cardinals- two teams that Narveson has had a ton of success against in his career. In my opinion, a more logical move would have been to move Wolf to the bullpen for a little while, because Wolf hasn’t had nearly the success against the Cubs and Cardinals that Narveson has. But, Narveson is the only guy in the rotation with recent bullpen experience (Greinke was in the Royals bullpen a few years back), so I guess that’s what this move was based off of.

Parra has ANOTHER setback…

Brewers pitcher Manny Parra had yet another setback yesterday. He’s going to need to undergo surgery to replace a screw in his elbow that’s been giving him some trouble recently.

Parra has been having setbacks all year, though. He probably would have made the Opening Day roster as a lefty out of the bullpen, but had back problems in Spring Training that kept him from that. Since then, he’s had simultaneous issues with both his back and elbow, and definitely won’t pitch again this year, not even in the Minors. But, if he can avoid undergoing major surgery (such as Tommy John Surgery), he could be ready to go by Spring Training in 2012.

In 2010, Parra had a disappointing season as a starter, and went 3-10 with a 5.02 ERA overall. But, he had success out of the bullpen that year, putting up a 2.93 ERA during appearances out of the ‘pen. And, since the Brewers already have five capable starters, Parra would have fit perfectly into the bullpen, being a lefty.

Parra will be arbitration eligible for the second time in his career this offseason, but, if he has yet another setback, I can’t imagine the Brewers will offer him arbitration. I’m even surprised with the patience they’re giving him at this point.

Anyway, that’s about all I have right now. The only other thing I missed was that Marco Estrada will be moving back to the bullpen after making his last start on Tuesday, and De La Cruz is probably going to be sent down, but that’s a pretty minor situation. The Brewers have an off-day today and will begin a series with the Cubs tomorrow, so, before I finish, here are the probable pitching matchups for the series:

Rodrigo Lopez (4-4, 4.97 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.45 ERA)

Ryan Dempster (10-9, 4.60 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.51 ERA)

Casey Coleman (2-6, 7.59 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (12-5, 4.22 ERA)


After blowing giant lead, Brewers rally against Isringhausen

August 21, 2011

6:37p The Brewers streak of great pitching ended today, but, their offense came to life when they needed it most.

Brewers-Mets Wrap-Up

The Brewers pulled one out today against the Mets, 11-9, in back-and-forth game where both teams made incredible comebacks. Randy Wolf, who was seemingly cruising early on and being backed by multiple home runs, ran into trouble in the seventh, and the bullpen failed to pick him up. Wolf went 6 1/3 innings while giving up five runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out three. But, the story of the day was the offense.

The Brewers jumped on Mets starter (and ex-Brewers) Chris Capuano in the first inning, when Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer to give the Brewers an early lead. The Mets answered in the bottom of the inning on Jason Bay’s RBI single, but the would be the only tally against Wolf until the seventh.

In the third inning, Prince Fielder crushed a three-run shot off Capuano to extend the Brewers lead to 5-1. The Brewers also got two runs in the sixth on Yuniesky Betancourt’s two-run homer to extend the lead even more. At that point, with the way Wolf was pitching, I thought the game was over. But I was wrong. By a long shot.

The Mets suddenly stormed back in the seventh with a five-run inning. Wolf was removed after giving up two runs in the inning and was replaced by Takashi Saito, but he couldn’t hold down the Mets, either. The lead was cut to 7-6 for the Brewers.

But that wasn’t the end of the Mets incredible rally. Ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez came in to pitch the eighth, and wasn’t exactly given a warm welcome back to Citi Field. But it wasn’t his fault, either. With a guy on first, Josh Thole hit a line drive to center fielder Jerry Hairston. Hairston horribly misjudged the ball, and it bounced off his glove. Thole was given a double for some reason, and the game was tied, 7-7. Then, Angel Pagan, who shouldn’t have even been batting, hit a two-run shot off K-Rod to give the Mets a 9-7 lead.

But, the Brewers, who’ve done a great job of finding ways to win lately, weren’t done yet.

Jason Isringhausen was on for the save, but he struggled with his command right out of the gate. He walked the first two batters, Jonathan Lucroy and Nyjer Morgan, before giving up a single to Corey Hart to load up the bases. Isringhausen would then walk pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay to cut the Brewers deficit to 9-8.

And that would be it for Isringhausen. He left the game without retiring a batter, handing the ball over to Manny Acosta. At least Acosta is able to say he retired a batter.

After inducing a Braun flyout, Acosta gave up a game-tying single to Fielder. Casey McGehee then followed with a go-ahead, two-run single to give the Brewers an 11-9 lead. John Axford would record the save in the bottom of the inning for his 34th consecutive save.

Brewers tie franchise record for division lead

Well, this is definitely a good sign. With the Cardinals being shut out by the Cubs today, the Brewers extended their division lead to 8.5 games, which ties a franchise record for the most games they’ve led a division by. It’s also the largest division lead in baseball, with the Phillies in second in the NL East (7.5 game lead over the Braves).

Cards falling off a bit

With their loss to the Cubs today, the Cardinals have lost back-to-back series to sub-5.00 teams in the Pirates and Cubs. I don’t know if they just aren’t playing well right now or if they’ve accepted the fact that they probably won’t catch the Brewers, but, whatever it may be, it’s helping the Brewers.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series sweep in New York tomorrow in a day game. Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.55 ERA) will go for the Crew, and he’s coming off a great start against the Dodgers, in which he gave up a run in eight innings. He had to settle for a no-decision, however. Gallardo is 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA in his career against the Mets, and that one win is a complete game shutout against them in 2010.

The Mets will counter with the knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-11, 3.77 ERA). He’s been victim of low run support all year, as shown by is record and ERA. Dickey is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA in his career against the Brewers.


After long delay, Marcum, Brewers dominate Mets

August 20, 2011

11:54p The Brewers definitely needed a game like this to at least show that their offense is still alive.

Brewers-Mets Wrap-Up

The Brewers beat the Mets today, 6-1, in a game that was nearly rained out. But, after a two hour and 46 minute long rain delay, the Brewers were able to beat up on the Mets, and also got another great road start from Shaun Marcum. Marcum went seven innings while giving up a run on six hits. He walked one and struck out three, and lowered his road ERA to 2.47.

The Brewers jumped on Mets starter Mike Pelfrey right away in the first inning, when Prince Fielder hit an RBI single following an error by third baseman David Wright.

That would be it until the fifth, when the Brewers broke it open. They got back-to-back RBI singles from Fielder and Casey McGehee, then Yuniesky Betancourt followed with a RBI double.

The Brewers tacked on two more in the sixth inning on another McGehee RBI single, and a gifted run from the Mets (in other words, a wild pitch by reliever D.J. Carrasco, allowing Fielder to score from third).

The Mets avoided the shutout in the seventh inning on Josh Thole’s RBI single, but they couldn’t muster up enough offense to avoid the loss.

Tempers flare in New York

At first, I was angry about this, but was able to laugh it off later. In the eighth inning, Mets reliever Tim Byrdak threw WAY inside to Fielder, and Fielder wasn’t happy with the pitch location. He kept it to himself, until after he grounded out and started running back to the dugout. As Byrdak was walking back to the Mets’ dugout, he said something to Fielder (which you obviously don’t want to do to him). It clearly phased Fielder, who got in Byrdak’s face. The umpires managed to break it up before the benches completely cleared, but a few guys from each dugout made their ways out. Now, for the funny part.

Jerry Hairston Jr. was one of those guys who came out from the Brewers’ dugout, and he got into it right away. He started pointing at the Mets’ dugout, and I couldn’t tell why at first. But, during the next inning, announcer Brian Anderson showed that Hairston was pointing at his brother, Scott Hairston, who just so happens to be on the Mets, and was sitting in the dugout at the time. I don’t know why, but I found that hilarious, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing the brothers get at it.

Braun get ejected

Ryan Braun got ejected in the third inning today for arguing balls and strikes. But, it was an awful pitch, so I can’t blame Braun for fighting back. Home plate umpire Angel Campos, who ejected Braun, was making questionable ball-strike calls all night, however. He was giving them to Pelfrey more than he was Marcum, but, it’s nice when the Brewers beat the umpires as well as the opposing team.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play the second game of this three-game set in an afternoon game tomorrow. Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.30 ERA) will go for the Crew, and is coming off a great start against the Dodgers, in which he went eight shutout innings. He’s also won four consecutive decisions. Wolf has pitched a lot against the Mets in his career, being a former Phillie, and he’s had success against them. He’s 12-5 with a 3.21 ERA against the Mets in his career.

The Mets will counter with ex-Brewers Chris Capuano (9-11, 4.58 ERA). He’s having a season worse than any he ever had with the Brewers for the Mets thus far this season. He has one career start against the Brewers, which came earlier this season, when he gave up a run over six innings and got the win.


Rogers suspended for 25 games due to stimulant use

August 20, 2011

7:40p Well, this is exactly what you hate to see happen to young prospects with tons of potential.

Pitcher Mark Rogers, who was a member of Class A Brevard County (Brewers Class A affiliate), has been suspended for 25 games because he tested positive for a some sort of stimulant. Apparently the media doesn’t know what that stimulant was, but it was in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, regardless.

This turned an already depressing season for Rogers even more sour. He was already on the DL with carpal tunnel syndrome, and is scheduled to undergo carpal tunnel release surgery at some point. That injury pretty much already ended his season, so this suspension doesn’t really matter, except for the fact that it will leak into to next season (Brevard County’s season has only 17 games left).

Rogers has had an injury plagued season, to say the least. He was in the running to fill in for the injured Zack Greinke at the beginning of the season, but a shoulder setback pulled him out of that.

But I don’t even know why I’m minimizing Rogers’ bad luck into this season. The poor guy’s had an extremely injury-filled career. Rogers was the fifth overall pick in 2004, and didn’t even make it to the Majors for the first time until rosters expanded in September of 2010. He appeared in four games (two starts) during 2010, and showed some promise during that time, posting a 1.80 ERA.

Anyway, Rogers’ future with the Brewers may be in jeopardy going into next season, and I’m not saying because of this suspension. The Brewers have already burned three of his Minor League options, and, unless Rogers is one of the few players to have the rare fourth option, he’ll have to be with the Major League club next year.


Kershaw, sloppy defense snap Brewers’ win streak

August 18, 2011

4:54p Well, you can’t get by with a lack of offense forever. Why? Because the pitching will eventually cave in and give up runs, and the defense will stop making plays.

Dodgers-Brewers Wrap-Up

Unfortunately, both the pitching and defense part of that quote came true today for the Brewers, who fell to the Dodgers, 5-1. It snapped a six-game winning streak that the Brewers had going, and, with they way they’d been playing before this, it looked like it would never end.

But, as I said before, the pitching and defense both caved in today, and the offense was once again a no-show.

Marco Estrada was making another spot start in place of the injured Chris Narveson today, and he didn’t do all that bad. He went five innings (which is pretty much all you can ask out of a spot starter) while giving up one run on just three hits. He walked two and struck out five, and showed once again that he’s a much better starter than he is a reliever.

That one run Estrada gave up was a solo shot to Rod Barajas in the second inning. Estrada had fallen behind Barajas 3-1, and was forced to give him something to hit in that count. Sadly, since Estrada doesn’t have that blow-you-away fastball, Barajas timed the pitch perfectly and crushed it.

But, that was all Estrada would give up. It was primarily the offense, defense, and bullpen that didn’t do their jobs today.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw pretty much dominated the Brewers offense for the entire game. He went eight innings while giving up no runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out six. Kershaw actually looked poised to toss a shutout, since he was only at 104 pitches after eight, but he was pinch-hit for by James Loney in the eighth inning.

The Brewers’ lone run came on a Prince Fielder sacrifice fly in the ninth inning off of Dodgers closer Javy Guerra (it was a non-save situation, obviously). That followed a one-out triple by Ryan Braun.

Brewers prepare to face Mets on the road

The Brewers didn’t finish this homestand on a particularly good note, but you have to remember that they actually went 6-1 during it, so that was a great homestand for them. But now, they’ll go on the road and face a team that’s having a somewhat similar season as the Dodgers are- the Mets.

The Mets took two of three in a series against the Brewers earlier this year at Miller Park, but the venue for this series will be the pitcher-friendly Citi Field.

Now, the only thing that worries me about the Brewers headed into this road trip is the offense, which has been pretty non-existent over the past week or so. I guess you could argue that the reason they were stymied today was because of Kershaw, who is a front-runner for the National League Cy Young Award at this point. But, you could also argue that the Brewers should have crushed Kershaw today, since his career ERA against the Brewers coming in was 6.23. The Brewers definitely faced some good pitching during this stretch, and their pitching kept them in the game during every game, but the offense will have to break out at some point.

The Mets don’t have the greatest pitching staff in the world. In fact, all of their starters have ERAs hovering around 4.00, the lowest ERA being that of R.A. Dickey’s, which is currently 3.77.

Here are the pitching matchups for this series:

Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.50 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (6-9, 4.58 ERA)

Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.30 ERA) vs. Chris Capuano (9-11, 4.58 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.55 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (5-11, 3.77 ERA)

The Marcum vs. Pelfrey matchup will take place tomorrow, so I’ll just do my usual “Up next for the Crew…” segment right here. Marcum is coming off a no-decision against the Pirates, but he went 7 2/3 innings while giving up just one run. He has one career start against the Mets, during which he threw six shutout innings against them, but had to settle for a no-decision.

Pelfrey, meanwhile, left his last start with an injury, but has been cleared to pitch tomorrow. He is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA against the Brewers in his career.

Anyway, that’s about it, but, before I go, I’m going to explain some of the sloppy defense the Brewers played today (I probably should have done that earlier, but oh well). There were two errors: one by third baseman Casey McGehee, when he pulled the first baseman Fielder off the bag with a low throw, and the other by reliever Kameron Loe, who threw the ball away in what should have been a somewhat routine play. Shortstop Josh Wilson also missed a double play ball and let it roll into center field, but, with how loosely the error stat is used, that play wasn’t considered an error. Anyway, all of those plays cost the Brewers runs (except McGehee’s error). Hopefully the offense and defense shows up tomorrow, though, because we’re going to need it if we want to keep winning.


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