> The Brewers did what they needed to do in Pittsburgh: take the easy series, because the road ahead is going to be extremely difficult.
The Crew took down the Pirates again tonight, 3-1. The pitching continued to be as stellar as it’s been the past three games, led tonight by Marco Estrada’s seven scoreless innings.
Estrada also sort of led the way offensively. After Norichika Aoki’s first career lead-off homer in the first inning, Estrada was responsible for the final two runs- he got an RBI single in the fifth and received the benefit of a run-scoring error in the seventh inning.
John Axford was shaky in the ninth, but, after allowing a solo homer to Andrew McCutchen to lead off the inning, settled down to notch his 30th save of the year.
> Estrada was removed after seven innings, but had just 96 pitches under his belt, and had allowed just three hits. If it were me, Estrada would be back out for the eighth inning, no questions asked. But apparently a starter needs to have below 90 pitches through seven if he wants to go beyond that under Ron Roenicke.
> Even if the Brewers continue to play well, don’t expect them to pick up much ground in the Wild Card over the next week and a half or so. During that span, the Cardinals- currently occupying the second WC spot- have the luxury of a schedule that goes Astros, Cubs, Astros.
> Peter Gammons wrote about how Doug Melvin has been able to bring the Brewers back into contention during his tenure as Brewers’ GM.
> MLB Trade Rumors inquired on a topic I’ve also been preaching lately: whether or not Shaun Marcum deserves a decent contract come this offseason.
> Estrada has brought his ERA all the way down to 3.56. He’s no slouch out there.
> Aoki’s recent power-stretch has him once again approaching the .300 mark, as he’s brought his average up to .293.
> As mentioned earlier, Axford recorded his 30th save of the year. A few months ago, I never would have guessed he could achieve that milestone this year.
> RRR finally attempted to fix the first base problem by using Taylor Green there today, but the results were basically the same ones Travis Ishikawa has been giving us: 0-for-4.
> The Brewers got another stolen base, but the Pirates also threw out a baserunner! That’s progress (even if the replay showed the runner was actually safe).
> Tomorrow’s match-up:
Mike Fiers (9-8, 3.23 ERA) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (11-13, 3.65 ERA)
> So apparently today was the annual “International Talk Like A Pirate Day.” That must mean talking like a contender who’s falling out of the race.