> 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.