Brewers shut down Astros in opener

> So, despite the huge rant I went on last night that I was going to take a break, the break only lasted a day. Looking back on last night, I made a bigger deal about the whole thing than I should have. Regardless of the season the Brewers are having, let’s get on to covering them.

> After a very disappointing split with the Marlins, the Brewers took one to open their three-game set with the Astros, 7-1. It was your ideal game- good starting pitching, good relief pitching, and good offense- a game the Brewers have struggled to put up lately.

It started with a solid start by Yovani Gallardo, who, after the second inning, basically dominated a young Astros lineup. He toughed out six innings that he needed 108 pitches to get through, but he gave up just one run on four hits. He also walked three and struck out six for his seventh win of the year. He brought his ERA down to 3.74, the lowest it’s been since a a two inning, eight run disaster against the Cardinals in May. Even though Gallardo hasn’t been getting many wins lately, his numbers are beginning to return to where they should be.

The offense had a good night against Astros starter J.A. Happ, who the Brewers traditionally hammer. Happ did have a 1-0 record with a 3.27 ERA in two starts against the Crew so far this year coming into tonight, but he would not have the same luck. The Brewers hopped all over him early with a pair of first inning solo home runs by Norichika Aoki and Ryan Braun. The Astros answered with a solo blast by Scott Moore in the bottom of the inning, but after that Gallardo and the bullpen held the ‘Stros scoreless.

The Brewers didn’t score again until the sixth inning on Rickie Weeks’ seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot to make the score 4-1. The Brewers would tack on three more in the seventh with an RBI triple by Carlos Gomez, and RBI single by Aoki, and an Aramis Ramirez RBI double.

Lastly, the bullpen finally had a much-needed shut down game. After Kameron Loe’s ERA ballooned from 3.34 to 4.21 during the bullpen disaster against the Marlins on Tuesday, he came out and threw a perfect inning today. Then, Livan Hernandez threw two scoreless innings to finish off the Astros and seal the win.

> I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way, but I’m now far more than skeptical about our bullpen, even after their performance today. I didn’t post during the Marlins series, but the bullpen was flat-out terrible during the last three games of that series. Francisco Rodriguez is all over the place, John Axford is blowing saves like never before, Jose Veras is back to being Jose Veras, and the list goes on.

> On the bright side, though, it was reported yesterday morning that the Mets are interested in re-acquiring K-Rod. Keep in mind that, for a contending team, they have a terrible bullpen as well.

So you can have K-Rod back for free, Sandy Alderson. Just don’t blame us when your team misses the playoffs because of your bullpen- again.

> I was browsing Twitter this morning, when I found some ESPN analyst’s picks for the first half awards (i.e. MVP, LVP, ROY). I usually don’t waste my time with ESPN baseball reporters, since they don’t know anything about the sport half the time, but I thought I’d take a gander at it.

So I looked at the guy’s LVPs (LVP stands for Least Valuable Player, if you didn’t know). And guess who he had for the National League?

Rickie Weeks.

ESPN continues to prove to me that they know absolutely nothing about baseball, nor does it appear they even pay attention to it on a daily basis. A few weeks ago, I would have agreed with this analyst’s pick of Weeks, but he’s actually hitting over .300 for his 15 games or so, so I’ve let him off the hook.

If I recall correctly, Gaby Sanchez of the Marlins was one of his honorable mentions for the NL LVP. Sanchez, who was an All-Star last year, has been optioned to Triple-A TWICE this year. That’s the first time since 1995 that an All-Star has been sent down the following season, and probably even longer that the player was sent down twice. So how the analyst didn’t give it to Sanchez is beyond me.

But at least I was reminded why I don’t waste my time with ESPN.

> On a different note, Ron Roenicke mayhave finally grown a pair today.

Alright, that’s a bit harsh. But he finally stood up for one of his players. In the top of the ninth today, Braun was drilled in the small of the back by a Rhiner Cruz fastball. As usual, no warnings were issued, despite the fact the Brewers far and away lead the Majors in HBPs.

But, in the bottom of the ninth, I was blown away: the Brewers retaliated. With two outs in the ninth, Livan hit Jason Castro in the back with a fastball. I didn’t catch the speed of the pitch, but it was probably your typical 80 MPH Livan-ball, so it’s not the end of the world for the Astros. But I was very happy to see the Brewers retaliate for once, whether or not it was Roenicke’s decision, or Livan just did it on his own.

> And that’s about it. As I said at the beginning, forget about the break. My writing will iron itself out eventually, and I’ve realized that quitting writing isn’t going to help with that. The solution is to keep writing, which is what I’m going to do from here on out.

But, the Breaking Wisconsin site itself will be undergoing renovations. I’ve began to notice that my choice for blog design is boring, so I’ll definitely change that at least.

> Anyway, I leave you with tomorrow’s pitching matchup:

Zack Greinke (9-2, 3.08 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (6-6, 3.54 ERA)

Greinke is an All-Star snub, in my opinion, and deserved one of the last pitching spots over Lance Lynn. But I’m not going to argue about it; this is going to be one of the worst ASGs in a LONG time. David Wright and Carlos Ruiz, the NL’s leading hitters, aren’t even starting. Shows you how smart fans are becoming (at least San Francisco fans).

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