I guess this was kind of a given coming into the series, but it feels good to sweep a team, no matter how good or bad they are.
The Brewers shut out the Astros today, 4-0, and completed a three-game sweep of the Astros. This was a big win for the Brewers, because they now have a 9.5 game lead going into a big series with the Cardinals.
Shaun Marcum was dominant today, going seven shutout innings while giving up just one single, and that singled didn’t even come until the sixth inning. He walked one and struck out eight, which tied a season-high for him. I don’t know why he was taken out after the seventh, since the Brewers had a four run lead and Marcum’s pitch count was at just 99. I was hoping he could go at least eight innings- maybe a complete game- but, with Ron Roenicke, you know that’s never going to happen. (I might have an article up later today regarding the fact that Roenicke just hates letting starters go deep into games.)
There wasn’t much offense today, but it was enough for Marcum. Ryan Braun got the Brewers on the board right away in the first with a solo shot. It was his 26th of the year, and he’s now just four home runs away from becoming the second 30/30 player in the Majors this year (the only one right now is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers). Anyway, Jonathan Lucroy also hit a solo homer in the second inning for his 11th of the year. The third run scored on a RBI walk by Braun in the fifth inning, and the fourth run was also driven in by Braun- a RBI single in the seventh.
But, with the Astros series aside, the Brewers will start a series that really matters tomorrow in St. Louis. Courtesy of the Reds, the Cardinals will be trailing the Brewers by 9.5 games when the series starts tomorrow. But, the Brewers will need to rebound from a sweep at the hands of the Cardinals at Miller Park the series before last, and hopefully knock them out of contention for good. Here are the probable pitchers for the series:
Randy Wolf (11-9, 3.58 ERA) vs. Jake Westbrook (11-7, 4.72)
Yovani Gallardo (15-9, 3.68 ERA) vs. Kyle Lohse (12-8, 3.72 ERA)
Zack Greinke (14-5, 4.00 ERA) vs. Chris Carpenter (8-9, 3.92 ERA)
So it’ll be Wolf vs. Westbrook tomorrow. The last time those two faced off, it turned ugly for Wolf in a hurry- he gave up homers to Rafael Furcal and Albert Pujols in the first inning, then a grand slam to Westbrook- the pitcher- which pretty much but the game away for the Cards. Wolf will hopefully rebound from that. But, in his last start at Busch Stadium, Wolf went eight scoreless innings and picked up the win. Overall, he’s 7-8 with a 4.10 ERA in his career against the Cardinals.
Westbrook didn’t do very well pitching-wise in that game, as he went just five innings, but still picked up the win. That was actually a smart move by Tony La Russa, since Westbrook usually implodes in the sixth inning or later. Hopefully, things go the other way around this time for Wolf and the Brewers.