10:18p It seems like every Brewers game I go to ends well.
The Brewers defeated the Pirates (shocker) today, 7-2, and continued their domination of their NL Central rivals. They also improved to 6-0 against the Pirates this season, and 34-3 against them at Miller Park since the start of 2007.
The Brewers continued the trend of killing Pirates pitching, starting with Paul Maholm. Josh Wilson got the Brewers on the board in the second inning with an RBI single. Then, in the third, Casey McGehee hit a rare two-RBI triple to extend the Brewers lead to 3-0. (The reason I say rare is because of McGehee’s extreme slowness.) The Brewers also tacked on another run in the fifth on Ryan Braun’s sacrifice fly.
Maholm’s night ended after just five innings, as he gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits. He didn’t have a walk or a strikeout.
Anyway, until the ninth inning, the story of the night was Zack Greinke. He cruised through the first seven innings until running into some trouble in the eighth. He gave up RBI doubles to Michael McKenry and Andrew McCutchen to cut the Bucs’ deficit to 4-2 and was lifted after recording two outs in the eighth. But, this was Greinke’s longest outing as a Brewer at 7 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out nine. Francisco Rodriguez finished off the eighth for him to set the stage for a crazy bottom of the inning.
Joe Beimel came in to pitch the eighth for the Pirates, but his outing wouldn’t last very long. He gave up back-t0-back homers to Braun and Prince Fielder before being lifted, but the inning wouldn’t stop there. Jose Veras came in to replace Beimel, and, after recording an out, gave up a double to Yuniesky Betancourt. After Nyjer Morgan advanced him to third with a groundout, Jonathan Lucroy hit an RBI infield single to score him. Then, since Lucroy got on, Ron Roenicke did something crazy: he let Rodriguez hit.
It was K-Rod’s second Major League at-bat, since he never got to bat while with the Angels due to the DH rule, and only had one at-bat with the Mets. But, sure enough, what does K-Rod do? He took advantage of a Pirates’ defense that had no idea what they were doing and got infield hit; his first hit of his career.
Unfortunately, after the inning ended, he tried to come back out to pitch the ninth. But, apparently, he left the game with a leg cramp. It’s nothing serious according to Ron Roenicke, so we probably don’t need to worry. So Kameron Loe came in and pitched a perfect ninth inning to finish off the Bucs.
Weeks, Narveson on road to recovery
Injured Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks and pitcher Chris Narveson are both doing well in coming back from the DL, according to Roenicke. Weeks is apparently ahead of schedule and said his ankle is completely healed. Narveson, on the other “hand,” said he’s going to play catch tomorrow to see how his injured left hand feels. (That was an awful pun, I know. Just thought I’d give it a shot.) As far as injured center fielder Carlos Gomez’s recovery is going, I haven’t heard anything about that yet.
Greinke turning around his season
Greinke has noticeably been a completely different pitcher during the second half of this season, and his statistics are showing it. Since the All-Star break, Greinke is 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA. Obviously, he isn’t at the level he was in 2009 when he won the American League Cy Young Award with the Royals, but he’s getting closer.
Going into the All-Star break, Greinke had was 7-3, despite a 5.45 ERA. Looks like he finally figured out that he needed to pick it up.
Up next for the Crew…
The Brewers will play the second game of this series with the Pirates tomorrow on FOX, which is a national station. Marco Estrada (2-7, 4.80 ERA) will be making a spot start for the injured Narveson. This will be his first start since May 4th, when he filled in for Greinke while he was injured.
The Pirates will counter with Kevin Correia (12-10, 4.78 ERA), who isn’t exactly the same pitcher he was at the beginning of the year. Correia is 10-2 on the road this season, but the Brewers have already beaten him twice this season- once at Miller Park, and once at PNC Park. Correia is 2-5 with a 5.71 ERA against the Brewers in his career.
Zambrano has another episode…
This doesn’t have anything to do with the Brewers, but it’s worth posting, nonetheless. Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano made yet another scene earlier today in his start against the Braves. After giving up five home runs (two of which were to Dan Uggla), Zambrano vented out his frustration on Chipper Jones, nearly hitting him with a pitch well inside. Zambrano was ejected (like we haven’t heard that one before), and, instead of blowing up like usual, just walked off the mound and into the dugout, while the rest of the benches cleared. He was also seen laughing with a camera guy next to the Cubs’ dugout, so one can only guess what he was saying to the guy.
Anyway, it didn’t stop there. Later, Cubs manager Mike Quade went into the clubhouse only to find Zambrano’s locker empty. Players were spreading rumors of Zambrano possibly retiring, and those rumors eventually reached the media, so now it’s a national thing.
It’s not often you here about a 30-year old pitcher retiring, unless there’s some kind of medical issue involved. But who knows what goes on inside Zambrano’s head, so it’s probably better just to let him retire or do what he wants than to question his decision.