Gallardo stellar as Brewers hammer Kennedy

May 26, 2012

> Wait a second.

The Brewers have won two games in a row?

Ron Roenicke let a pitcher go into the eighth inning?

The Brewers crushed their opposing team’s ace?

> Yep, all of those things happened in the Brewers 7-1 win over the Diamondbacks, another thought-to-be contender who have been slow out of the gates. It was the Brewers’ second consecutive win, after beating the Giants the day before yesterday in the finale of that series. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s the first time the Brewers have won consecutive games since the beat the Cubs twice in a row in mid-May. Then, there was Yovani Gallardo, who was absolutely dominant last night. He went 7 1/3 innings while giving up a run on five hits. He walked three and struck out five, and lowered his ERA from 4.62 to a much more respectable 4.19. Gallardo was at just 92 pitches through seven innings, but, knowing Roenicke, I was sure that he was done. But Ron did something he’s only done one other time this year: let a pitcher throw in the eighth. Gallardo only got on out in the eighth, getting removed in favor of Francisco Rodriguez. But hopefully this a sign Roenicke is learning, as a manager, to have confidence in his starter. Prior to last night, the only other time a Brewers pitcher went into the eighth this year was when Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings against the Reds.

But onto the offense, which was hot last night. The Brewers got on the board in the second inning on a Rickie Weeks solo home run. Even though he was only hitting .150, you could just tell he wanted to hit one in Arizona to make their fans mad. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think back to the home run derby last year.)

In the fourth, Ryan Braun hammered an opposite field, two-run home run to make the score 3-0. Yesterday was Braun’s fifth anniversary of his Major League debut, so it was only fitting that he would go yard. Later in the inning, Cesar Izturis hit an RBI single. But something would happen to him later in the game, which I’ll get to later. Anyway, in the bottom of the inning, Jason Kubel hit a mammoth home run to get the D-Backs on the board. But that was Gallardo’s only blemish of the night.

Then, in the eighth, Corey Hart hit a home run off of Brewer-killer Josh Collmenter, who has struggled a lot this season. But those were the first regular season runs that the Brewers scored off Collmenter. They did get one off him in the NLDS last year, also coming on a Hart home run.

The Brewers got one more run in the ninth on a Travis Ishikawa sacrifice fly to close out their 7-1 victory.

I know I said earlier that the Brewers hammered the D-Backs’ ace. Well, Ian Kennedy is technically their ace, but hasn’t pitched like it this year. He gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings last night, and his ERA sits at 4.65. Not what you’d expect from a guy who won 21 games last year. But the Brewers did manage to beat him twice in the NLDS.

> Now for a disabled list update. I might as well just make these a daily thing, considering it feels like at least one Brewer gets sent to the DL every day. Izturis exited last night’s game in the sixth inning, reportedly with a strained left hamstring. As he was trying to score on a Hart single, he stepped on third funny, and just stopped in his tracks, despite the fact Ed Sedar was waving him home. Izturis was removed from the game, and Cody Ransom, who was just acquired from the D-Backs, took his place.

Losing Izturis isn’t a huge blow. In fact, the offense will probably improve without him in the lineup. But it’s unbelievable that the Brewers can have this bad of luck with injuries this year. If we lose another player or two, we might as well be the 2011 Twins.

Anyway, here’s some info on the new Brewer, Ransom. The Brewers got him off the waiver wire during their off-day, and sent down Edwin Maysonet to make room for him. We could see Ransom get a lot of playing time now with Izturis out, and I’m sort of excited to see what he can do. In his only at-bat last night, he got a single. I also heard he hit 27 home runs at Triple-A Reno, the D-Backs’ Triple-A affiliate, last year. So he could be an untapped source of power waiting to break out.

> Marco Estrada also went on the DL following the Brewers’ win over the Giants on Wednesday. He strained his right hamstring while rounding first base on a double, so you can add him to the thousands of players currently on the DL for the Brewers.

But now the Brewers need to find a replacement for the replacement (Estrada was already filling in for Chris Narveson, who is done for the season). The first possibility that would jump out at you is Manny Parra, a former starter now working in long relief. But the Brewers need to keep him in the ‘pen for long relief/left specialist, so it’s likely we’ll see a call-up from the Minors. The two most ready pitchers in Triple-A are Mike Fiers and Wily Peralta, both of whom have a bit of Major League experience. But neither of them are having years to remember- Fiers is 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA, and Peralta is 1-5 with a 5.62 ERA. Mark Rogers is also a possibility, although he’s 0-2 with a 5.29 ERA this year at Triple-A. But he put up a 1.80 ERA in a few starts at the end of 2010 for the Brewers.

If none of these guys work out, the Brewers could dig around at Double-A Huntsville, where Tyler Thornburg has been absolutely dominant. The hot prospect is 6-0 with a 2.28 ERA, but he would have to jump two levels, which is always a bit dangerous to do with a pitcher.

But we’ll have to wait and see what happens. I would love to see one of these Minor Leaguers get a chance.

> And that’s about it. The Brewersplay at 9:10 CT tonight, and will send their other ace to the mound in Greinke (5-1, 2.70 ERA). He’s 0-2 with a 6.12 ERA in his career against the D-Backs, but, with the hot streak he’s on, I think he can beat anybody. Greinke’s ERA in May so far is an astounding 1.33, so he’s hoping to finish the month strong.

The Diamondbacks will counter with rookie Wade Miley (5-1, 2.14 ERA). He made a few starts for them towards the end of 2011, but he came out of nowhere after starting this year in the bullpen, and is performing well. He has never faced the Brewers before.

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


Brewers smash Twins to end losing streak

May 21, 2012

> Today’s game may have been the Brewers’ offense making up for their lack of runs during their last four games. Unfortunately, we don’t know where it’s going to go from here: it’s either going to start getting consistent, or they’re going to have games like this every five days, with no offense on the days in between.

> In the meantime, though, let’s look at the positives. The Brewers literally mauled the Twins today, 16-4. The 16 runs on 17 hits were season highs for the Brewers, and probably their biggest offensive outburst since 2011. Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun highlighted the contributors to the 16 runs. Lucroy had a career day, hitting two home runs- including a grand slam- and seven RBIs. After going 3-for-5, he boosted his average to .342, which leads the Brewers. Braun went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, and his average is now .331.

The Brewers jumped all over Twins starter Jason Marquis early. After the Twins took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on a Josh Willingham RBI single, Corey Hart and Lucroy hit home runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 2-1. The Brewers then had a six-run offensive binge in the second, including RBIs from Hart, Braun, Lucroy, and Travis Ishikawa. Marquis’ wouldn’t even make it through that big second inning, and went just 1 2/3 innings while giving up eight runs- all earned- on eight hits.

The Brewers added on two more in the fourth on another RBI from Braun, this one on a double. Taylor Green then hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 10-1. Braun tacked on yet another RBI in the fifth on a single.

The Brewers put up another crooked number in the seventh. First, Norichika Aoki hit a pinch-hit RBI single. One batter later, Lucroy hit his first career grand salami- an opposite field home run, no less. He’s turning into some kind of hitter.

But the Twins weren’t going to go down without a fight. Brian Dozier hit an RBI single in the eighth. Then, the Twins got two more in the ninth, courtesy of a fielding error by Cesar Izturis and a bases-loaded walk by Kameron Loe. But that would be all the Twins got, and they were still nowhere close.

Zack Greinke continued to pitch like an ace today. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up a run on five hits. He walked two and struck out six. I recently wrote an article on Reviewing the Brew on Greinke’s season up to this point, and I’ll say it again: he’s been a joy to watch. Nothing against Yovani Gallardo or Shaun Marcum, who I think can both get better as the season goes on, but Greinke is the only one I enjoy watching pitch at this point.

> Tim Dillard was ejected in the ninth inning today after throwing behind Jamey Carroll. I was on my way home from the game at this point (I was there today), so I didn’t get to see it live, but apparently Dillard’s first pitch to Carroll was inside, and the second one went behind him. I still don’t see why Dillard would be trying to intentionally hit a batter with a 14-run lead, but I’ve noticed that all of the umpires this year have been pretty radical. Heck, Bob Davidson- an umpire- received a suspension the other day. You never see stuff like that. I have a feeling umpires won’t be around much longer; that or their roles aren’t going to be as significant, with expanded replay just around the corner.

> The Brewers are thinking about moving Hart to first base. The Brewers have tried multiple options at first since Mat Gamel went down with a torn ACL, including Ishikawa, Green, and Brooks Conrad (but it won’t be long before he’s cut, I can’t believe he’s still on the roster). While Ishikawa has shown flashes of a consistent hitter in the middle of the lineup, none of them have been putting up the production the Brewers are looking for. Plus, if they move Hart to first, they can put Aoki as a starter in the outfield, which I would love to see.

> And that’s about it. The Giants are coming to town tomorrow, who the Brewers have already lost a series to this year. The Brewers will send Randy Wolf (2-4, 6.38 ERA) to the mound. At this point, I would say you might as well count this as an automatic loss, but I don’t like being negative. But don’t be surprised.

The Giants will counter with Madison Bumgarner (5-3, 3.10 ERA). He’s already beaten the Brewers this year, throwing seven innings of one-run ball back on May 5th.

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


Dillard struggles as Brewers finish disappointing road trip

May 7, 2012

> Today was yet another disappointing game for the Brewers, which has been a common theme during this nine-game road trip. They fell to the Giants today, 4-3, in somewhat of a nail-biter. The Brewers got on the board right away in the first on an Aramis Ramirez RBI single, but Shaun Marcum gave up the lead quickly in the bottom of the inning. Conor Gillaspie hit an RBI double, and Angel Pagan followed that with an RBI fielder’s choice. Ryan Theriot tacked on another run for the Giants in the fourth, making it 3-1. Ramirez picked up another RBI in the sixth on a sacrifice fly.

The Brewers then put up a fight in the ninth inning against Giants closer Santiago Casilla (the beard is on the DL for those who don’t know). Two outs after Corey Hart reached on a fielding error, ex-Giant Travis Ishikawa stunned his former team with a game-tying RBI double.

But the Brewers couldn’t keep the momentum going, and the game went to extra innings. In the 11th, Tim Dillard came in to pitch, and you could just tell things were going to go downhill from there. He’s probably had one, but I honestly can’t recall Dillard having a scoreless outing yet this year. And that trend continued today. Dillard loaded the bases, including two walks, before giving up a walk-off single to Hector Sanchez.

> With that loss aside, here’s some other news involving the Crew…

> Marcum took his third consecutive no-decision today, and his record remains 1-1. In other words, the Brewers wasted yet another quality start from him (six innings, three runs, five hits, three strikeouts).

> Alex Gonzalez is headed to the DL with a knee injury. It shouldn’t be anything season ending, but he follows Chris Narveson, Mat Gamel, and Carlos Gomez to the DL.

> Taylor Green was called up yesterday, and made his first start today, batting seventh. He went 1-for-5 with a double that would have been a home run almost anywhere else. But it’ll be interesting to see if he starts again tomorrow.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will go home to face the Reds tomorrow, with the pitching match-up being Yovani Gallardo (1-3, 5.79 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (1-1, 3.03 ERA). Gallardo threw a 13-strikeout, six-inning gem in his last start against the Reds (September of last year), but, other than that, his numbers against them aren’t so good.

As you can see, I tried a bit of a different article format today. This was meant to make it a more brief post, simply because I’m having trouble finding time to dedicate to full-out articles. It didn’t really work out this time, but from here on out I’ll hopefully just re-cap the game, briefly talk about a few pieces of news, and preview the pitching match-up for the next day. I hopefully only have to do this for a month until school lets out, but my schedule is pretty busy until then.

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


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