Brewers hang on after wild ninth

April 30, 2012

> Sorry for the lack of posts lately (it feels like I have to say that too often nowadays). Schoolwork and things like that have been piling up recently, so I just decided to take a bit of a hiatus from Breaking Wisconsin and Reviewing the Brew to make sure I stayed on top of my work. Plus, the Brewers had a three-game losing streak going into today, so it wasn’t like I was missing much, as far as posting goes.

> But I figured today would be a good day to come back. The Brewers managed to salvage one game out of this dismal series with the Cardinals, winning 3-2. Zack Greinke notched his third win of the season, and the Brewers managed to defeat Jaime Garcia at Busch Stadium for once. And, although the offense wasn’t somewhat non-existent for the third consecutive day, it was enough to take down the Cards.

For the second straight start, Greinke didn’t have his best stuff, but managed to pull a win out of his pocket. He went six innings while giving up one run on seven hits. His command wasn’t the sharpest, as he walked four and struck out just two. But, both of the strikeouts came against the Cards’ hottest hitter, David Freese, so it’s nice to know we have someone on the team capable of getting him out.

The Cardinals got on the board first in the second inning on Rafael Furcal’s RBI single. After that, I thought the Brewers were in for another rough day of bad pitching. But Greinke managed to dance around trouble every time he got into a jam after that.

The Brewers finally tied up the game in the sixth on Aramis Ramirez’s RBI single. A few batters later, Jonathan Lucroy hit a go-ahead, two-RBI double to give the Brewers a 3-1 lead that they wouldn’t again give up.

But they had to work for it. John Axford came on for the save in the ninth inning, and it didn’t start well. He walked Matt Holliday to lead off the inning, then gave up a single to Carlos Beltran. That advanced Tyler Greene (pinch-running for Holliday) to third. Axford then rallied to strike out Freese (man did it feel good to see him strike out three times). Axe then struck out another hot-hitting Cardinal, Yadier Molina, and that’s when the drama started. As Molina struck out, Beltran broke for second base. Lucroy threw down to second where Alex Gonzalez caught the ball, and they had Beltran in a rundown. As Gonzalez was chasing Beltran back to first, Greene broke for home in a dangerous attempt to tie the game. Gonzalez then threw back to Lucroy at home, and they tagged out Greene for a shocking finish to the game.

Regardless of all that happened, this was Axford’s 48th consecutive save, and he’s well into elite company at this point. 48 is the fourth longest save streak in Major League history, which is incredible, especially if you know Axford’s back story.

> The Brewers made a couple of roster moves prior to today’s game, sending Mike McClendon back to Triple-A. They called up journeyman Vinnie Chulk, who last pitched in the Majors in 2009 for the Indians.

But it was only a matter of time before McClendon was sent down. I used to have high hopes for this guy, especially when he was called up in September of 2010- he looked great. But now his mechanics are completely out of whack, and he doesn’t have any command. He ate up some valuable innings while he was up, but the 10.13 ERA was too much.

> On a non-Brewers note, Prince Fielder hit a home run today off another ex-Brewer, CC Sabathia. Fielder looked like a fool against CC in Interleague play last year, but the homer he hit today was a mammoth- and I mean a mammoth. But the Yankees still wound up winning, as the Tigers’ recent struggles continue.

> Tomorrow, the Brewers head out to the west coast for the first time this year, and will take on the Padres in a three-game series. Here are the pitching match-ups:

Randy Wolf (1-2, 7.17 ERA) vs. Joe Wieland (0-3, 4.76)

Shaun Marcum (1-1, 4.13 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-2, 3.60 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (1-2, 6.08 ERA) vs. Cory Luebke (3-1, 2.61 ERA)

As you can see, Wolf is going tomorrow, and he’s coming off a solid start against the Astros. But he struggled for the most part in his first three starts. Anyway, despite the fact the Padres have close to no offense, Wolf has had a tough time with his former team in his career, going 6-5 with a 5.51 ERA against them. Not quite sure how he has a winning record, though.

The Pads will counter with Wieland, who was called up a few weeks ago because of an injury to Tim Stauffer. From what I’ve seen, he hasn’t pitched particularly bad, but has just fallen victim to the “run support” of the Padres.

> Anyway, that’s about it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


After slow start, Brewers storm back to crush Rox

April 22, 2012

> The Brewers’ offense has lookedextremely shabby early on this season, as three of their regulars came into today hitting below .200. For the first four innings of the game today, it looked like that trend was going to continue. But, from the fifth inning on, the Brewers put on one of their best offensive runs of the season, and showed they weren’t screwing around.

> The Brewers took down the Rockies today, 9-4. By that blowout score, you wouldn’t have thought that the offense struggled at all. But it did- especially during the first four innings, like I said before. But, after managing to put up a few runs in the middle innings, the bats broke out in the seventh inning, unlike they ever had prior to this game.

Marco Estrada got the start today in place of the injured Chris Narveson (more on that later). The news had just come to him yesterday, so no one knew how he would react. But, like he always does when he’s thrown into the fire that is the starting rotation, Estrada had a stellar start. He went five innings while giving up a run on two hits. He struck out nine and walked none. The reason he only went five innings is because Ron Roenicke put a pitch limit of around 80 pitches on Estrada, but he definitely could have gone longer with the way he was throwing the ball.

Onto the offense. For the first four innings, Rockies starter Drew Pomeranz was perfect, and it looked like he was going to throw the second perfecto of the day (also more on that later). He was finally given a run to work with in the fourth on Troy Tulowitzki’s solo home run. But, in the fifth, I don’t know what happened, but Pomeranz just lost it. He started the inning by walking Aramis Ramirez- who is hitting .151 now- on four pitches. Corey Hart followed that up with a ground-rule double to put runners on second and third with no outs. After that, Pomeranz gifted the Brewers a tie game on a wild pitch. Alex Gonzalez then hit an RBI double to make the score 2-1. Despite the fact Pomeranz would go on to walk two more batters and his defense would make a few errors behind him, he didn’t give up another run that inning.

In the sixth inning, Roenicke made yet another idiotic bullpen move: he put in Manny Parra in a 2-1 game. He naturally struggled and gave up a run, then Mike McClendon, who came in after Parra got two outs, gave up the lead, making it 3-2. But, in the bottom of the sixth, Ryan Braun tied the game with a solo homer, which broke him out of a huge slump- he didn’t have a hit the entire homestand prior to that at-bat.

But the seventh inning is when the Brewers broke loose. Rickie Weeks hit an RBI triple to give the Brewers a 4-3 lead, followed by a Carlos Gomez RBI single. Braun then hit the second RBI triple of the inning to make the score 5-3. Then, after an intentional walk to Hart, Gonzalez murdered a line drive blast into the Brewers’ bullpen to pretty much put the icing on the cake for the Brewers.

The Brewers definitely needed a game like this, though. Despite the fact they have the highest team ERA in the NL, their pitching has been pretty good lately; the bats just haven’t quite heated up yet. After today, it looks the offense will start to pick it up.

> The reason Estrada was starting today was because of an injury to Narveson. Apparently, the morning after he got shell-shocked by the Braves, Narveson said his shoulder was sore. He got an MRI, which revealed at least one significant tear on his rotator cuff, a vital part of the shoulder. If this holds true, Narveson will more than likely have season-ending surgery, which is too bad, since he just had surgery at the end of last season.

But I wonder if the MRI got it wrong for once. I’m pretty sure if you tore your rotator cuff, your shoulder would be a little more than just “sore.” So maybe it’s just a pulled muscle or something. But I guess I wouldn’t know; I’ve never torn my rotator cuff, and hopefully never will.

Anyway, McClendon was recalled from Triple-A because of this (which is why I question Roenicke’s decision to throw him into a pressure situation like that right away). The Brewers also called up prospect Wily Peralta because Kameron Loe is taking a bereavement leave, and will be gone at least three days. So that’s probably just a temporary move, but I’d like to see Peralta get some action in the Majors for once.

> This doesn’t have to do with the Brewers, but Philip Humber of the White Sox threw the 21st perfect game in MLB history today. It came against the Mariners, who can’t score runs to save their lives anyway, but it’s a historic feat nonetheless.

The 27th out of the game was ex-Cardinal Brendan Ryan, who struck out swinging (sort of) on an awful 3-2 pitch. Had he not swung, Ryan would have walked, and broken up the perfect game. He check-swung, though, and we may never know if he swung or not, but it was called that he broke the plane. It was an awful pitch, though, so I don’t even see how he could have even moved that bat at a pitch like that.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the rubber game of this series tomorrow at 1:10 PM CT. Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 4.58 ERA) will go for the Brewers, coming off a decent start against the Dodgers. But he’s been awful in his career against the Rockies, going 0-4 with a 6.69 ERA against them. Most of those bad numbers have come at Coors Field, though, where Gallardo’s career ERA is miles over 10.00.

The Rox will counter with Jeremy Guthrie (1-1, 7.79 ERA), whom they acquired from the Orioles during the offseason. Guthrie has never faced the Brewers in his career.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Kottaras comes through as Brewers stun Dodgers

April 18, 2012

> It’s games like this that remind me how great it is to a Brewers fan. Not that I ever forget how great it is, but it’s nice to have a refresher like this once in awhile: especially when it comes following a four-game losing streak.

> After multiple blown leads, the Brewers came out on top against the Dodgers today, winning 5-4. The big headline was George Kottaras’ walk-off two-run double in the ninth, as he once again proved that he is by far the best backup catcher in baseball. But there were a few other storylines along the way that changed the tide of the game a few different times.

The Brewers got on the board in the second inning on Mat Gamel’s first home run of the year, a no-doubter off Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley. Cesar Izturis tacked on another run later in the inning for his first RBI of the year, making the score 2-0. The Dodgers wouldn’t score until the fifth, when Yovani Gallardo, who had been nearly flawless up until that point, fell off a bit (although the run wasn’t really his fault). Juan Rivera led off the inning with a double, followed by a James Loney single that put runners on first and third with no outs. Juan Uribe then hit what should have been a routine pop-up to shallow right field, and second baseman Rickie Weeks caught it. But, while transferring the ball from his glove to his hand, he dropped the ball, which allowed Rivera to score from third. For some reason, the run, despite scoring because of an error, was charged as an earned run to Gallardo. Sometimes I don’t really understand how errors work and what determines an earned run from unearned run, but I’m no scorekeeper.

Anyway, the Dodgers managed to tie up the game in the seventh on Loney’s RBI double. Gallardo would get out of the inning after that, and wound up taking a no-decision. But, he had another solid start: seven innings, two runs on seven hits, seven strikeouts, and one walk.

The Brewers then re-took the lead in the bottom of the inning on a Norichika Aoki squeeze bunt to score Gamel, making the score 3-2. But, in the eighth, Francisco Rodriguez’s early season struggles continued, as he coughed up a go-ahead two-run shot to Andre Ethier.

But, despite the fact it appeared things were going the Dodgers’ way, the Brewers just wouldn’t go away. Corey Hart led off the ninth with a single off closer Javy Guerra, and Gamel followed that with a walk. Jonathan Lucroy then struck out for the first out of the inning- or the last out, depending on how you look at it. That’s because Kottaras came up and hit his two-run double to stun the Dodgers, who came into today with a record of 9-1, and probably thought they were unbeatable.

> As I said earlier, this was a very importantwin for the Crew. Not just because it was in walk-off fashion (although that made it that much better), but because they were in the midst of a four-game slide. But it appears this year might end up being similar to last year, as far as the home/road splits go.

> Alex Gonzalez has yet to return to the Brewersdue to some complications after the birth of he and his wife’s first child. So Izturis once again started in his place, and didn’t do as bad as usual, as he actually notched two hits. But hopefully Gonzalez returns soon; the left side of the infield just feels so much more secure with him there.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of this three-game series tomorrow at 7:10 PM CT. They’ll send Zack Greinke (1-1, 6.75 ERA) to the mound, who will be looking to bounce back from an awful start against the Cubs (3 2/3 innings, eight earned runs). He’s 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his career against the Dodgers over two starts.

The Dodgers will counter with a familiar face to the Brewers- lefty Chris Capuano (1-0, 5.40 ERA). The Brewers faced him twice last year during his time with the Mets. Cappy went 1-0 with a 4.63 ERA in that span.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. Let’s hope the Brewers can use this momentum to get into a winning streak; they’ve got ground to make up in the Central now.


Brewers swept in Atlanta… again

April 17, 2012

> Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I’ve been pretty busy lately. But, then again, there’s been just about nothing to post about: except the Brewers getting embarrassed by a couple of young Braves pitchers, whom they should have crushed.

> The Brewers were swept in a three-game series by the Braves at Turner Field- again. They now have a seven-game losing streak going in Atlanta, a venue that just hasn’t been kind to them ever since 2010. They lost the first game, 10-8, after an amazing comeback of five runs. But a broken bat single by Dan Uggla in the eighth- which wouldn’t have gotten through if the Brewers didn’t use such a stupid shift on him- decided the fate of the game. They lost the second game, 2-1, despite a stellar effort by Shaun Marcum. He gave up both runs, but neither were his fault (although one was earned, and I’m not sure why). The Brewers were shut down by Mike Minor in that game, a somewhat inconsistent young pitcher entering his second full season in the Majors. The Brewers lost the last game, 7-4, following a rough outing by Chris Narveson.

So the only bright spots in this series were Marcum’s good start, and the fact that Corey Hart managed to stay hot, as he hit two homers and a few doubles.

> But now the Brewers are coming home, where they were extremely successful last year. They’ll start a three-game series against the Dodgers, and will thankfully miss Clayton Kershaw’s spot in the rotation, so they’ve got a good chance to win all three. Anyway, here are the match-ups:

Chad Billingsley (2-0, 0.63 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 5.91 ERA)

Chris Capuano (1-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (1-1, 6.75 ERA)

Aaron Harang (0-1, 5.91 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (0-1, 10.61 ERA)

Gallardo will make his third start tomorrow. His first was a disaster against the Cardinals, but his next one against the Cubs wasn’t so bad. Gallardo is 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA in his career against the Dodgers, which looks bad, I know. But, coming into last year, his ERA against the Dodgers was a whopping 10.80, and he changed that with a stellar eight inning, one run outing against them in August (or somewhere around there). Unfortunately, he took a no-decision that day.

Billingsley, meanwhile, is off to an unbelievable start, shown by his sub-1.00 ERA. He’s given up just one run so far, which was a home run to Clint Barmes of the Pirates. He’s 2-1 with a 4.54 ERA in his career against the Crew.

> Anyway, that’s about it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Greinke hammered as Garza dominates Crew

April 13, 2012

> Remember how in last night’s post I said that Zack Greinke had thrown two good games against the Cubs and one bad?

Well, he evened that ratio out today in the Brewers’ 8-0 loss to the Cubs. They still took three of four in the series, but this isn’t a good way to end it. After tossing seven shutout innings against the reigning World Champ Cardinals, Greinke got shelled by the Cubs, tagged for eight runs in just 3 2/3 innings. His ERA ballooned from 0.00 to 6.75, which is never good, especially if it happens in just one outing.

Greinke was solid the first two innings, as he retired the first six batters he faced. But, the third inning is when things started to fall apart, as the Cubs put up a six-spot on him. Since I was in school during most of the game, I didn’t get to see the third inning. But, judging by the replays I saw, everything looked up in the strike zone. That’s just asking for trouble against a free-swinging team like the Cubs.

But all we can hope for is that Greinke bounces back in his next start. We can’t have him being as inconsistent as he was during the first half of last year.

On the Brewers’ side, there was absolutely no offense. They were shut out on three hits (all singles), all given up by Matt Garza, who went 8 2/3 innings. He probably could have finished the game off, but, in the ninth, he fielded a Norichika Aoki comebacker. He wound up and threw to first base- minus the first base. The ball went sailing into the crowd, and, on one angle of the play shown, it was questionable whether or not he was even trying to throw to first. Anyway, Garza was taken out after that, but Shawn Camp got the final out.

> But back to Greinke. I forgot to mention this yesterday, but he and his new agent have decided to table talks about a contract extension for now. Greinke was probably feeling all high and mighty after that start against the Cards, but hopefully this start opened up his eyes a bit.

> Zach Braddock was once again placed onthe temporary inactive list today, a spot on the roster he visited a few times last year. It still apparently has something to do with his sleep disorder and personal issues, and Gord Ash still won’t say anything beyond that.

I’m really starting to wonder about Braddock, though. He looked extremely promising in 2010, posting a 2.93 ERA in 46 games. But I don’t know if he’ll ever reach that point again in the direction he’s headed.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will travel to Atlanta tomorrow (actually they’re probably already there) for a three-game set against the Braves. Here are the probable pitchers:

Randy Wolf (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Jair Jurrjens (0-1, 6.23 ERA)

Shaun Marcum (1-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. Mike Minor (0-1, 10.80 ERA)

Chris Narveson (1-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Brandon Beachy (0-1, 1.80 ERA)

As you can see, Wolf is going tomorrow. He’s seen a lot of the Braves over his career, being a former Phillie. But he’s mightily struggled against them, with a 5-12 mark against the Braves with a 5.28 ERA.

Jurrjens, meanwhile, has had success against the Brewers in his career (2-1, 2.95 ERA against them). But he’s one of the more inconsistent pitchers in the game, especially since his injury in the middle of 2011.

> And that’s about it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Without Braun, Hart, Luc, Brewers take series

April 12, 2012

> I didn’t get to see much of today’s game because it started while I was still in school (one reason I hate day games). But, I turned on the game just in time to see the Brewers take the lead, in a way that could make this game one of the pivotal Brewers moments early this season.

The Brewers took down the Cubs again today, 2-1, and have taken this four-game series, regardless of what happens tomorrow (but of course we want it to be a win). The pitching on both sides was great, as both teams had their aces going: Yovani Gallardo for the Brewers and Ryan Dempster for the Cubs. Going into today, both had been great against the opposing team.

But it was Gallardo who out-dueled Dempster. He went seven innings while giving one run on five hits. He struck out six and walked two. This was a much-needed start for Gallardo, who got murdered by the Cardinals on Opening Day, and showed today that it was a fluke.

The Cubbies got on the board in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Starlin Castro. After that, though, Gallardo locked down and returned to the from we’re used to seeing from him. Dempster had held the Brewers scoreless and looked like he usually did against them; until the seventh inning, that is. After he gave up a double to Mat Gamel, George Kottaras hit a go-ahead two-run blast that made the score 2-1, and that would hold until the end of the game. Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford combined for six strikeouts- both striking out the side in their respective innings- to finish off the game.

> One thing I didn’t realize until after the game (because I didn’t get to watch the game from start to finish) was that Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, and Jonathan Lucroy were all held out of the starting lineup. Those are some of the best hitters in the Brewers’ lineup, so it’s pretty remarkable that the Brewers could still manage to beat a pitcher like Dempster. Although Braun and Hart both have awful career numbers against Dempster.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will go for a sweep of the Cubs tomorrow at 12:05 PM CT (so I’m probably going to miss the whole game). Zack Greinke (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a stellar start against the Cardinals in which he went seven scoreless innings. He’s 2-1 in his career against the Cubs, with a 3.20 ERA (two gems and one disaster start).

The Cubs will counter with Matt Garza (0-0, 3.00 ERA), who is starting his second year with them. He’s 2-1 with a 4.35 ERA in his career against the Crew.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Bullpen makes things interesting in ninth vs. Cubs

April 10, 2012

> Going into the ninth inning of today’s game, it didn’t appear that the Brewers would have any issues closing out this game. But, a few bullpen moves by Ron Roenicke made for a tight finish on the north side.

First off, though, the Brewers did defeat the Cubs, 7-5. Shaun Marcum picked up the win in his first start of the season, as he managed to make those dismal postseason starts in 2011 an afterthought. The offense wasn’t bad either, but again, the bullpen- at least in the ninth inning- nearly rose a few questions.

Marcum’s start was solid, as he went six innings while giving up three runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked none. Although he gave up two home runs in the first two innings, he did a good job of missing bats, something he was struggling with towards the end of 2011.

The Brewers scored right away in the first inning on an Aramis Ramirez sacrifice fly. Ramirez was making his first start in Chicago since leaving the Cubs, and it probably made Cubs fans miss him. Anyway, the Cubs answered back right away in the bottom of the inning on Darwin Barney’s solo home run. The Cubs then took a 2-1 lead in the second on a solo shot by Bryan LaHair. But, the Brewers tied it back up in the third on Rickie Weeks’ second home run of the year- yet another solo shot.

In the fourth inning, the Brewers made the first of two successful squeeze plays, this one by Marcum. But the Cubs evened the score in the fifth on a Blake DeWitt sacrifice fly. That followed a “triple” by Geovany Soto, but he only reached third because center fielder Nyjer Morgan lost the ball in the light and wind on what would have been a routine fly ball.

The Brewers then took a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish in the sixth on a Mat Gamel RBI triple. Jonathan Lucroy followed that up with a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-3. Ramirez then hit an RBI double in the seventh. Carlos Gomez tacked on one more run in the eighth on the second squeeze of the game by the Brewers.

Then came the ninth, where things got interesting. The Brewers held a 7-3 lead up until that point. Jose Veras and Francisco Rodriguez had handled the seventh and eighth innings respectively, so you’d think John Axford would come in for the ninth (despite the fact it wasn’t a save situation). But, like many managers do nowadays, Roenicke took the four-run lead for granted and put in Manny Parra instead. As we all know, he’s just returning after missing all of 2010, so he hasn’t had much work lately.

So, sure enough, Parra gave up a leadoff double to Ian Stewart. He then induced a groundout from LaHair, but Steward advanced to third on the play. Although it was already a save situation, Roenicke had Axford warming up along with Tim Dillard. So he decided to put in Dillard for some reason, I’m still not quite sure why. Dillard came in and walked Soto, and that was all he did. Roenicke then brought in Axford at last, but things were still starting to go downhill. On what could have been a game-ending double play, the third baseman Ramirez booted an easy grounder, which allowed Stewart to score, and left guys on first and second. Steve Clevenger followed that up with an RBI single, but the center fielder Gomez committed a missed catch error, allowing runners to reach second and third.

But Axford managed to strike out David DeJesus for the second out of the inning. He then walked Barney to load the bases. But, Axford finished the game by striking out Starlin Castro on three pitches.

> The back-end of the bullpen isn’twhat worries me at the moment, but more so the middle relievers. Dillard, Parra, and Kameron Loe haven’t looked particularly sharp so far. I know we’re only four games into the season, but hopefully this gets fixed soon.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of this four-game series tomorrow at 6:05 PM CT. Chris Narveson will go for the Brewers, making his first start of the season. He’s dominated the Cubs in his career, going 6-1 with a 3.51 ERA against them.

The Cubs will counter with free agent acquisition Paul Maholm, who has seen a lot of the Brewers with the Pirates over the past few seasons. He’s 3-8 with a 4.45 ERA in his career against the Crew.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Brewers’ bullpen can’t hang on against Cards

April 9, 2012

> The Brewers had somewhat of a repeat of the first game of the season today, losing to the Cardinals 9-3. Like the first game, the Brewers’ bullpen blew up late, and didn’t give the offense much of a chance to try and catch up. Marco Estrada gave up two runs in two innings, Tim Dillard gave up a run, John Axford gave up two runs in his 2012 debut, and Kameron Loe gave up a run. In other words, every pitcher the Brewers used today gave up a run, which is never good.

Randy Wolf was on the hill for his 2012 debut, and didn’t pitch particularly bad. He went five innings while giving up three runs on nine hits. He struck out seven and walked one. Wolf managed to strand a lot of St. Louis baserunners, but had to work for it, as he threw 108 pitches in just five innings.

The Cards got on the board right away in the first on Matt Holliday’s RBI double. They got another run in the fourth on a Rafael Furcal RBI single, and another in the fifth on David Freese’s RBI single. The Brewers scored in the fifth on yet another Corey Hart home run, this one a solo shot. He’s currently tied for the league lead with three home runs.

The Cardinals got two more runs on Carlos Beltran’s two-run homer in the seventh. They also picked up another one in the eighth on Tyler Greene’s RBI single. The Brewers got their second run of the game in the eighth on Alex Gonzalez’s first hit (and RBI) as a Brewer, which was an RBI double. That followed Norichika Aoki’s first hit in the MLB.

The Cards tacked on three more in the ninth on Shane Robinson’s three-run blast, which pretty much put away the game. Ryan Braun hit his first home run of the year in the ninth inning, but the game was already over by then.

Oddly enough, the Brewers just couldn’t hit Lance Lynn, Chris Carpenter’s temporary rotation replacement. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up a run on just two hits. He struck out eight and walked one.

Then again though, the Brewers have a history of not being able to hit rookie pitchers for their lives, so this start could mean nothing, for all we know.

> I’m glad this series is over. Now theBrewers move onto a hopefully easier opponent- the Cubs. They’re playing them in Chicago, however, a venue the Brewers haven’t had much success in over recent years. Anyway, here are the pitching matchups (the statistics are from 2011):

Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA) vs. Chris Volstad (5-13, 4.89 ERA)

Chris Narveson (11-8, 4.45 ERA) vs. Paul Maholm (6-14, 3.66 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52 ERA) vs. ???

Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA) vs. ???

Gallardo will probably be facing Ryan Dempster, and Greinke should be up against Matt Garza, but the Cubs haven’t officially announced it yet.

Anyway, all four of these pitchers have above-average career numbers against the Cubs, so this should be a good series for the Crew.

> And that’s about it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.

 


Hart, Greinke give Wainwright a warm welcome back

April 8, 2012

> In a bad way, at least for the Cardinals.

> A day after they were outslugged by the Cards, the Brewers stormed back with a needed 6-0 win. They were definitely running on all cylinders today, unlike yesterday. The primary highlights of the game were Corey Hart’s 12th career multi-homer game, and Zack Greinke performing like he should have been the Opening Day starter.

Greinke was flat-out dominant, to say the least. He went seven scoreless innings while giving up just four hits- all singles. He also struck out seven and walked none; his command was literally spot-0n. Greinke was pretty much the polar opposite of what Yovani Gallardo was yesterday- Greinke left almost nothing over the plate and worked the corners, and didn’t walk anybody. This was very encouraging to see from Greinke. Not many people realize this, but this was his longest outing as a Brewer without giving up an earned run.

Greinke threw just 91 pitches in the seven innings, and probably could have gone longer, but handed the ball over to Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Veras to finish of the game. But hopefully Roenicke pull the string on Greinke (or anyone else for that matter) too early for the rest of the season, like he did a lot of times last year.

The offense wasn’t too shabby either. The Brewers got on the board in the second on Hart’s first home run, which was a mammoth. Adam Wainwright, making his first start for the Cardinals since September of 2010 because Tommy John Surgery made him miss 2011, left a fastball out over the plate, and Hart didn’t miss it one bit. In fact, left fielder Matt Holliday didn’t even move upon seeing the ball fly out- he just turned his head and watched it soar. Those are my favorite type of home run (unless they’re being hit against the Brewers, of course).

Wainwright locked down after that, but it only lasted until the sixth. Aramis Ramirez hit an RBI double for his first hit as a Brewer, and Hart’s second home run of the game followed that to give the Brewers a 4-0 lead. Hart’s home run actually came off reliever Victor Marte, as Wainwright was pulled after the Ramirez double. If you consider he hasn’t pitched since 2010, he didn’t too bad, going 5 2/3 innings while giving up three runs on four hits. He struck out six and walked one.

The Brewers tacked on two more runs in the eighth on Rickie Weeks’ first home run of the year and a Carlos Gomez RBI double.

> Ryan Braun rebounded from his 0-f0r-4 showing yesterday by going 2-for-3 today with a two doubles and a walk. Unfortunately, though, Mat Gamel couldn’t keep it going and went 0-for-4 today, although he had a few hits taken away from him by the Cards’ defense. Meanwhile, Alex Gonzalez and Nyjer Morgan are still looking for their first hits of the year, as both went 0-for-3 today.

> My thoughts and prayers are with broadcaster Bob Uecker today, and probably will be for awhile. Yesterday, after broadcasting the Brewers’ loss, he learned of a much bigger loss- his 52-year old son, Steve Uecker.

Steve passed away because of Valley Fever, a disease in which the lungs are infected by a harmful fungi.

I’m not sure if Uecker was broadcasting today because I didn’t catch any of the game on the radio. But, during the FOX broadcast, they put the camera on Uecker, who appeared to just be staring into space. I don’t blame him one bit; I probably can’t even start to imagine what kind of pain he’s holding in right now.

Again, my prayers are with Uecker, and hopefully yours are too.

> Prince Fielder, now a member of the Tigers, had a two-home run game today against the Red Sox. Looks like he’s trying to put away the doubters, who don’t think he’ll be able to handle Comerica Park, early.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the rubber game of this three-game series tomorrow at 1:10 PM CT. Randy Wolf, who went 13-10 with a 3.69 ERA last year, will go for the Brewers. He’s 8-8 with a 3.91 ERA in his career against the Cards, but has pitched poorly against them at Miller Park over the past few years.

The Cardinals will counter with Lance Lynn, who is filling in for the injured Chris Carpenter. He’s a hard-throwing righty who the Brewers saw a bit of last year when he came out of the ‘pen, but there’s no telling what the Cardinals will get from him in the rotation until Carp returns.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Gallardo chased by Cards in Opening Day loss

April 7, 2012

> The good news is, baseball is officially back. The bad news? The Brewers just virtually relived Game 6 of the 2011 NLCS.

The Brewers got crushed by the reigning World Champion Cardinals today, 11-5. Yovani Gallardo, who was making his third consecutive Opening Day start, still couldn’t win on the occasion, as he was hammered early. He gave up six earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings, while walking five and striking out three. The five walks show that his command clearly wasn’t there, and there may have been some nerves. Either that, or he just plain sucks against the Cardinals like he always does, which is probably the case.

The Brewers got on the board first on Carlos Gomez’s RBI triple off Jaime Garcia in the first inning. Aramis Ramirez followed that with an RBI groundout for his first RBI as a Brewer. This gave the Brewers an early 2-0 lead. But things went downhill from there.

Yadier Molina led off the second inning with a solo shot off of Gallardo to cut the score in half. Then, in the third, Gallardo gave up not one, not two, but three home runs to the Cards- they came from Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, and David Freese. Freese tacked on another RBI with a single in the fourth. Another run wouldn’t come until the seventh on Shane Robinson’s RBI single. The Cards got two more in the ninth on RBI doubles by Matt Carpenter and Rafael Furcal.

The Brewers got three more runs in the ninth on a George Kottaras three-run blast, but by then the game was already too far out of reach.

> I’m really starting to worry about Gallardo. I know you can’t judge a pitcher based on one game, but I’m not basing this on one game- it’s starting to become a trend. Gallardo gave up a career-high 27 home runs last year, 15 more than his 2010 total. I was hoping he’d be able to put that behind him, but then he starts the year by giving up four home runs in less than four innings- that isn’t a good sign.

I’ve been saying this all along, but he hasn’t been consistent ever since the first half of 2010. Following an oblique injury after the All-Star break, he was just never the same since then. Yes, I know he went 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 2011, but that was because he either had a great outing, or got shelled. He’s just never been consistent. I’m not saying he has to be Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee consistent, but just something better than he is now.

And, despite the fact I’m tempted to use the excuse that Gallardo is just historically bad against the Cardinals (he was 1-7 with a 5.66 ERA against them coming into today), I don’t think that was it today. Like I said earlier, he had no command, hence the five walks, and everything was out over the plate.

I’m sorry for freaking out over one game (and I’m actually not really, I’m just worried about what Gallardo is turning into). I know there are 161 games left. But Gallardo’s outing today really puts worries into my mind about his future.

> None of the newcomers to the Brewers did much offensively today, with Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez both going 0-for-4. Although you could tell the defense on the left site was much improved. On the bright side, though, Mat Gamel went 2-for-4, so hopefully that’s a precursor of a good season to come for him.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers play the second game of this series tomorrow at 3:10 PM CT (and remember it’s on regular FOX, not FSWI). The Brewers will send Zack Greinke to the mound, who went 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA last year. He’s been better against the Cards in his career than Gallardo, to say the least, so hopefully we won’t see a merciless beating again tomorrow.

The Cardinals will counter with Adam Wainwright, who missed all of last year due to Tommy John Surgery. We’ll see how he bounces back in his first Major League start since the end of 2010.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


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