Gamel shows he’s ready for season with big game

> After today, I think it’s needless to say I’m no longer worried about what the Brewers’ offense is capable of doing in 2012. The Brewers defeated the Padres in a slug-fest today, 10-7. The Brewers’ offense was lead by Mat Gamel, who had two home runs- including a grand slam- for a five-RBI day.

Prior to this spring, there were some worries about whether or not Gamel could fill the shoes of Prince Fielder, whom he’s replacing at first base. But I think people were setting expectations too high for Gamel- he doesn’t necessarily need to put up Prince numbers (30 home runs, 100 RBIs) for the Brewers to win. I think if he can hit around .27o-.280, hit 20-25 home runs, and have an RBI total of somewhere between 80-90, that should be good enough. In fact, numbers like that might even be enough for him to win NL Rookie of the Year, because he’s still actually considered a rookie.

Anyways, back to coverage of the game. The Brewers got on the board in the third inning. But simply saying they “got on the board” is an understatement, considering they put up a six-run inning against Padres starter Tim Stauffer. It started with Alex Gonzalez’s solo shot for his third home run of the spring. Then, Nyjer Morgan, on an intended safety squeeze, reached first for what was scored as an RBI single. Then, after a Ryan Braun single, Aramis Ramirez struck out. I thought he would be the one to clear the bases, but then Gamel came up and pulled a first-pitch grand slam into the left field seats of the Padres’ ST complex. All of this made the score 6-0.

The Padres got on the board in the fourth on Jesus Guzman’s three-run home run off Chris Narveson. They got another run in the fifth on an RBI double play- if you can call if that- from Orlando Hudson. But, in the sixth, Gamel hit another first pitch home run, this time a solo shot. Later in the inning, Carlos Gomez hammered a three-run home run to make the score 10-4. The Padres picked up three more runs in the bottom of the inning from Jason Bartlett, John Baker, and James Darnell, but wouldn’t rally any further. The Brewers finished in the ninth, as John Axford picked up his first save of the spring, striking out two Padres in the process.

Narveson, who started for the Brewers today, didn’t have a particularly great outing. He went five innings while giving up seven runs (although only three were earned) on seven hits. He walked two while striking out three.

> One thing I liked about today’s game was that Ron Roenicke finally started all of the projected regulars at once. The lineup was (in order from 1-9) Rickie Weeks, Morgan, Braun, Ramirez, Gamel, Jonathan Lucroy, Gonzalez, Gomez, and Narveson. Gomez wouldn’t normally be a regular, but, if Corey Hart starts the season on the DL (and he probably will), he and Norichika Aoki could see starts at an outfield position.

Anyway, hopefully Roenicke starts doing this more, because Opening Day is now less than a week away, and the starters need to start getting a feel for all being on the field and in the lineup at once.

> Braun is really getting back into the swing of things at the right time. He went 2-for-3 today with two singles to left off Stauffer. And, the only time he was retired was a deep fly ball to center field. It’s good to see that he’s finally finding his groove, and hopefully he can have another MVP-caliber type season in 2012. If only ESPN hadn’t ruined his image…

> And that’s about it. The Brewers play the Giants tomorrow at 3:05 CT as they start to wrap up the Cactus League season. They’ll send Yovani Gallardo (1-2, 4.00 ERA) to the mound, who hopes to have a decent start in what will probably be his last of the spring before his Opening Day assignment. The Giants will counter with their own ace, Tim Lincecum (2-0, 4.26 ERA).

On a personal note, my fantasy draft is tonight. Maybe I’ll post my team when it’s finished just for the heck of it. Also, on another personal note, I still can’t log in to Reviewing the Brew. It’s been almost a week now, so I don’t know what to make of this.

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

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