Brewers mount comeback to hold ground

September 21, 2012

POSTGAME

> It’s now safe to say that the Brewers are never out of any game. Despite a large early lead, they had to play comeback today, and they were successful. The Brewers managed to take a 9-7 win in a four-hour, back-and-forth contest with the Pirates.

The Brewers got off to a quick start, jumping on Wandy Rodriguez for three runs- including an Aramis Ramirez two-run blast- in the first inning. But, with a 4-0 lead in the third, Mike Fiers gave up a three-run homer to Andrew McCutchen. Fiers, who needed 81 pitches to get through just three innings, was removed after that.

After tying the game in the fourth, the Pirates rallied against Kameron Loe for three in the sixth inning, with a home run from Clint Barmes and an RBI single by Starling Marte.

Going into the eighth inning, the Bucs had a comfortable 7-3, but you could just tell the Brewers were going to mount a rally against struggling reliever Chad Qualls. And they wasted no time in doing so, as a two-run double from Norichika Aoki and a two-run triple from Rickie Weeks quickly knotted the game up at 7-7. Ramirez then gave the Brewers the lead with an RBI single. Logan Schafer tacked on an insurance run with an RBI single in the ninth as well.

John Axford nailed down the save for the second straight night, as he worked around a Jean Segura error to strike out the side.

MY TAKE

> Segura’s error in the ninth inning should have probably been charged to first baseman Travis Ishikawa. Segura’s throw was slightly high, but it’s a throw that Ishikawa has to be able to handle.

> After the bullpen got off to a rough start (Brandon Kintzler gave up the lead following Fiers’ exit, then Loe nearly let the Pirates blow it open), they settled down nicely to shut down the Pirates for the rest of the game. Jose Veras got out of Loe’s jam in the sixth, Manny Parra threw a scoreless seventh, Francisco Rodriguez handled the eighth, and Axford got another save as he continues his return to form.

> I hate to say it, but Fiers is starting to look legitimately fatigued on the mound. He hasn’t pitched more than five innings in any of his last three starts. As I noted on Twitter earlier, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ron Roenicke pull the plug on his season any day now.

> Jason Grilli plunked Ryan Braun in theseventh inning- when the Pirates had a three-run lead. That drew a standing ovation from the Pittsburgh crowd. Hope they enjoyed the eighth-inning rally too.

So now I’ve concluded that their fanbase doesn’t deserve a playoff berth, or a mere .500 season. If they act like that, they can stay in the cellar of the NL Central for the next 20 years as well- or longer.

Stay classy, Pittsburgh.

THE NEWS

> Corey Hart made an unexpected return to the lineup today. He went 1-for-3 with a single, but it was noticeable that he was uncomfortable at the plate. Hart was removed in the fifth in exchange for Ishikawa.

> Axford said that the Zack Greinke trade “sharpened the Brewers’ focus.”

> Roenicke made a case for Aoki’s Rookie of the Year chances.

THE NUMBERS

> The Brewers’ current five-game winning streak is their longest on the season.

> This is the first time all year the Brewers have been give games over .500.

> Here’s the explanation for the Brewers passing up the Bucs in the standings: the Brewers have won 23 of their last 29 games. During that same stretch, the Pirates have won seven games.

> Oh, and the Pirates fell a game under .500.

> The Dodgers lost to the Nats, so the Brewers have leap-frogged them in the Wild Card race.

> The probables for the upcoming series against the Nationals:

Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.91 ERA) vs. Edwin Jackson (9-10, 3.89 ERA)

Wily Peralta (2-0, 2.14 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (19-8, 2.95 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (16-8, 3.59 ERA) vs. ???

Marco Estrada (4-6, 3.56 ERA) vs. ???

THE EXTRAS

> MLB Network’s Intentional Talk interviewed Axford the other day. But I was more amused at the murderous look on Jim Henderson’s face the entire time. Click here; you’ll know what I mean.

> This year’s edition of rookie hazing. They’re supposed to be the Flintstones… I think?

(It would appear Carlos Gomez took the photo.)


Brewers swept in Atlanta… again

April 17, 2012

> Sorry for the lack of posts recently, I’ve been pretty busy lately. But, then again, there’s been just about nothing to post about: except the Brewers getting embarrassed by a couple of young Braves pitchers, whom they should have crushed.

> The Brewers were swept in a three-game series by the Braves at Turner Field- again. They now have a seven-game losing streak going in Atlanta, a venue that just hasn’t been kind to them ever since 2010. They lost the first game, 10-8, after an amazing comeback of five runs. But a broken bat single by Dan Uggla in the eighth- which wouldn’t have gotten through if the Brewers didn’t use such a stupid shift on him- decided the fate of the game. They lost the second game, 2-1, despite a stellar effort by Shaun Marcum. He gave up both runs, but neither were his fault (although one was earned, and I’m not sure why). The Brewers were shut down by Mike Minor in that game, a somewhat inconsistent young pitcher entering his second full season in the Majors. The Brewers lost the last game, 7-4, following a rough outing by Chris Narveson.

So the only bright spots in this series were Marcum’s good start, and the fact that Corey Hart managed to stay hot, as he hit two homers and a few doubles.

> But now the Brewers are coming home, where they were extremely successful last year. They’ll start a three-game series against the Dodgers, and will thankfully miss Clayton Kershaw’s spot in the rotation, so they’ve got a good chance to win all three. Anyway, here are the match-ups:

Chad Billingsley (2-0, 0.63 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (1-1, 5.91 ERA)

Chris Capuano (1-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (1-1, 6.75 ERA)

Aaron Harang (0-1, 5.91 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (0-1, 10.61 ERA)

Gallardo will make his third start tomorrow. His first was a disaster against the Cardinals, but his next one against the Cubs wasn’t so bad. Gallardo is 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA in his career against the Dodgers, which looks bad, I know. But, coming into last year, his ERA against the Dodgers was a whopping 10.80, and he changed that with a stellar eight inning, one run outing against them in August (or somewhere around there). Unfortunately, he took a no-decision that day.

Billingsley, meanwhile, is off to an unbelievable start, shown by his sub-1.00 ERA. He’s given up just one run so far, which was a home run to Clint Barmes of the Pirates. He’s 2-1 with a 4.54 ERA in his career against the Crew.

> Anyway, that’s about it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Why Verlander deserved his MVP award

November 22, 2011

> The AL MVP was handed out today, and, as I predicted, Justin Verlander won.

> But, there are a lot of people out there who think Verlander shouldn’t have won- because he’s a pitcher. Sure, the Cy Young Award is there for the best overall pitcher in each league. And they don’t need to play for a contending team. Felix Hernandez (Mariners) and Zack Greinke (while he was on the Royals) are the two most recent pitchers to take home the Cy Young Award while sulking on last place teams.

>  A lot of people are going to disagree with this, but I think the MVP should play for a contending team. If the player couldn’t get his team into the playoffs, then was he truly that valuable?

> Anyway, regardless of my policy on the MVP, Verlander deserved the award. Let’s start with the numbers- he went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, becoming the 11th AL pitcher in history to win the pitching Triple Crown. I know some are saying, “What’s so special about a 2.40 ERA?”  I guess there isn’t much. There were two pitchers with ERAs lower than 2.40, both in the NL- Clayton Kershaw (2.28), who won the NL Cy Young, and Roy Halladay (2.35). Verlander’s 2.40 ERA did lead the AL, however. And, he threw 250 innings and had a .920 WHIP, both of which also led the AL.

> And was there anyone more valuable to their team than Verlander? Try imagining the Tigers without Verlander and his 24 wins. Their rotation would look somewhat like this: Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Brad Penny, Phil Coke, and who knows who the fifth would have been. (I didn’t put Doug Fister in there because, with that rotation, the Tigers wouldn’t have been contending at the Trade Deadline, hence not being buyers and probably not acquiring Fister.) As I said, the Tigers wouldn’t have been contenders- maybe not even a .500 team.

> Anyhow, this is just my theory that I’ve believed in for awhile now. I can see why some disagree with it, but again- it’s my opinion; you don’t have to agree with it if you don’t want to.

> There was no Brewers news again today. Hopefully, there will be news tomorrow about Ryan Braun winning the NL MVP…

> Greg Halman has been on my mind all day, and if you know what happened to him, he’s probably been on yours as well.

Halman, who had been an outfielder for the Mariners, was stabbed to death early this morning in his native country, the Netherlands.

Sometimes, I don’t understand why our world is like this.

Halman, who was just 24 years old, had played seven Minor League seasons with the Mariners, being drafted when he was 16. This past season, he played in 33 Major League games with the Mariners, and probably had a shot at being a full-time outfielder with them next year. In fact, he was in the Netherlands preparing for that possibility.

But no. Everything- everything he worked for, everything he dreamed of- was taken away from him in an instant, because of the blade of a knife.

> This has been a scary offseason so far. First, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in his native Venezuela, but was rescued. Now, this. I hope nothing else like this happens for the rest of the offseason; I’ve had enough already.

But, this is my message to Major League players- don’t return to your native country. According to the events early this offseason, it can only bring bad things.

> The Rangers signed Joe Nathan to a two-year deal today. They’ve announced that they’re moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, so this probably means that either Nathan or Mike Adams will be their new closer. But I don’t know about this- it appears Nathan is past his prime.

> The Pirates officially announced today that they signed shortstop Clint Barmes to a two-year deal. This makes the Brewers out of the running for the above-average defensive shortstop.

> Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave comments, if you’ve got them.


Verlander wins AL CYA; Brewers make a few announcement

November 16, 2011

> Today was actually a somewhat busy day for the Brewers, probably their busiest since the 2011 Hot Stove started. They made a few announcements concerning their free agents. But, before I get to all that…

> Justin Verlander won the AL Cy Young Award. Although that was probably clarified a few months ago, it was made official today.

Verlander was pretty much guaranteed the award after winning the AL Triple Crown by leading the league in wins (24), ERA (2.40), and strikeouts (250). A few more of his amazing stats were 251 innings pitched (excluding the postseason), a 0.92 WHIP, and an opponent’s batting average of .192.  His overall numbers were 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA as the ace of the Tigers’ pitching staff that would have been absolutely nothing without him.

Verlander also threw a no-hitter against the Blue Jays in May. It was the second of his career, the first coming against the Brewers back in 2007.

Anyway, Jered Weaver, James Shields, and CC Sabathia came in second, third, and fourth in the voting, respectively.

> Now, onto the Brewers’ announcements.

> Mark Kotsay has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Padres, meaning he definitely won’t be coming back to the Brewers. The deal will be worth $1.25 million.

In 2011 with the Brewers, Kotsay hit .270 with three home runs and 31 RBIs in 104 games. While those numbers aren’t bad for a player off the bench, Kotsay made multiple defensive miscues, and most of them ended up costing the Brewers (especially in the games he started in the NLCS). In my opinion, Kotsay should probably be a DH for an AL club, but the Padres need all the offense they can get…

> Doug Melvin was named co-executive of the year today, winning it with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski. Melvin was expected to compete with Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers for the title, as both completely revamped their respective teams, and ended up facing off in the NLDS this year. But, Melvin bringing in starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to turn the starting rotation into a strength probably won it for him. Not to mention his Trade Deadline acquisitions of Francisco Rodriguez and Jerry Hairston Jr.

Dombrowski, meanwhile, probably won it because of his Trade Deadline trade for starter Doug Fister. Verlander and Fister combined for a tough 1-2 punch in the Tigers’ rotation.

> Craig Counsell won’t be returning to the Brewers in 2012, Melvin announced today. He’s been a fan favorite for a long time in Milwaukee, and also lives just north of Milwaukee in Whitefish Bay. But, he’s now 41, and is coming off a season in which he hit just .178 off the bench, and was mired in an 0-for-45 streak to tie a Major League record for the longest stretch without a hit. He hasn’t decided whether or not he’s going to retire, though.

> The Brewers’ interest in free agent shortstop Clint Barmes apparently heated back up today. Since it appears that Jose Reyes is going to sign with the Marlins, it’s probably better that they’re interested in Barmes.

Barmes hit .244 with 12 home runs in 2011 with the Astros, but is one of the better defensive shortstops in the NL (especially better than Yuniesky Betancourt). The Astros have shown interest in re-signing Barmes, but their financial situation probably won’t allow it.

> Lastly, Melvin and Scott Boras, Prince Fielder’s agent, talked to each other today, and apparently Boras brought up the importance of the 1-2 punch of Ryan Braun and Fielder. He also said that he wants the Brewers to be involved in the bidding for Fielder. I don’t know what to make of this yet, but hopefully it means Boras is becoming a little more considerate.

> Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave thoughts, if you have any.


Brewers reportedly decline Yuni’s option; full list of free agents

October 31, 2011

I didn’t look much at news today because I was busy, but here was the first thing I saw when I finally did- “Brewers decline Betancourt’s option.” My day was instantly made.

That’s right, Yuniesky Betancourt-haters (including myself). He probably won’t be playing shortstop for the Brewers next year, which means better defense at that position and better offense in the lineup- hopefully.

Betancourt had a pretty bad 2011. But it may have been good for his standards, actually. He hit .252 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI. All of those stats are worse than his 2010 season with the Royals, in which he hit .259 with 16 home runs and 78 RBI. Anyway, if you add his 2011 stats to his lazy defense at shortstop, you can see why the Brewers declined his option.

My guess is that Doug Melvin will make a push for Jose Reyes, the Mets’ All-Star shortstop who is now a free agent. His .336 batting average won him the NL batting title (although he technically cheated to get it). Reyes doesn’t hit for much power, but he did lead the NL in triples with 16. His offense, defense, and speed all make him a giant upgrade from Betancourt.

Oh yeah, and the Brewers are also expected to be top contender for lefty starter C.J. Wilson. He went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA as the ace of the Rangers this year, but he had an ugly postseason, as he went 0-3 with an ERA hovering around 7.00. But, he would make a great addition to the Brewers’ rotation, and would probably push lefty Chris Narveson (11-8, 4.45 ERA) back into the bullpen.

And just a couple more things before I move onto my next topic- the Brewers’ declined reliever Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option, but that was expected, as there was no way the Brewers would have been able to afford that. Also, Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed as one of the possible managerial candidates for the Red Sox. No idea why they’d want him, unless they’ve already given up on next year.

Anyway, onto the next topic. Here is a list of every free agent from every team, with their respective position next to their name:

Atlanta Braves

Alex Gonzalez, SS

Scott Linebrink, RP

Nate McLouth, OF

George Sherrill, RP

Jack Wilson, SS

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jason Marquis, SP

John McDonald, SS

Xavier Nady, OF

Lyle Overbay, 1B

Baltimore Orioles

Vladimir Guerrero, DH

Cesar Izturis, SS

Boston Red Sox

Erik Bedard, SP

J.D. Drew, OF

Conor Jackson, OF

Trever Miller, RP

David Ortiz, DH

Jonathan Papelbon, RP

Jason Varitek, C

Tim Wakefield, P

Chicago Cubs

John Grabow, RP

Reed Johnson, OF

Rodrigo Lopez, SP

Ramon Ortiz, RP

Carlos Pena, 1B

Kerry Wood, RP

Cincinnati Reds

Ramon Hernandez, C

Edgar Renteria, SS

Dontrelle Willis, SP

Cleveland Indians

Chad Durbin, RP

Kosuke Fukudome, OF

Jim Thome, DH

Colorado Rockies

Aaron Cook, SP

Mark Ellis, 2B

Kevin Millwood, SP

J.C. Romero, RP

Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle, SP

Ramon Castro, C

Juan Pierre, OF

Omar Vizquel, SS

Detroit Tigers

Wilson Betemit, SS

Carlos Guillen, 2B

Magglio Ordonez, OF

Brad Penny, SP

Ramon Santiago, 2B

Joel Zumaya, RP

Florida Marlins

Greg Dobbs, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Javier Vasquez, SP

Houston Astros

Clint Barmes, SS

Jason Michaels, OF

Kansas City Royals

Bruce Chen, SP

Jeff Francis, SP

Jason Kendall, C

Los Angeles Angels

Russell Branyan, OF

Joel Pineiro, SP

Horacio Ramirez, RP

Fernando Rodney, RP

Los Angeles Dodgers

Rod Barajas, C

Casey Blake, 2B

Jonathan Broxton, RP

Jamey Carroll, SS

Jon Garland, SP

Hiroki Kuroda, SP

Mike MacDougal, RP

Aaron Miles, 2B

Vicente Padilla, SP

Juan Rivera, 1B

Milwaukee Brewers

Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Craig Counsell, SS

Prince Fielder, 1B

Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B

LaTroy Hawkins, RP

Mark Kotsay, OF

Francisco Rodriguez, RP

Takashi Saito, RP

Minnesota Twins

Matt Capps, RP

Michael Cuddyer, OF

Jason Kubel, OF

Joe Nathan, RP

New York Mets

Miguel Batista, RP

Chris Capuano, SP

Scott Hairston, OF

Willie Harris, 2B

Jason Isringhausen, RP

Jose Reyes, SS

Chris Young, SP

New York Yankees

Luis Ayala, RP

Eric Chavez, 3B

Bartolo Colon, SP

Freddy Garcia, SP

Andruw Jones, OF

Damaso Marte, RP

Sergio Mitre, RP

Jorge Posada, DH

Oakland Athletics

Coco Crisp, OF

David DeJesus, OF

Rich Harden, SP

Hideki Matsui, DH

Josh Willingham, OF

Philadelphia Phillies

Ross Gload, OF

Raul Ibanez, OF

Brad Lidge, RP

Ryan Madson, RP

Roy Oswalt, SP

Jimmy Rollins, SS

Brian Schneider, C

Pittsburgh Pirates

Derrek Lee, 1B

Ryan Ludwick, OF

San Diego Padres

Heath Bell, RP

Aaron Harang, SP

Brad Hawpe, 1B

Chad Qualls, RP

Seattle Mariners

Josh Bard, C

Adam Kennedy, 2B

Wily Mo Pena, OF

Jamey Wright, RP

San Francisco Giants

Carlos Beltran, OF

Pat Burrell, OF

Orlando Cabrera, SS

Mark De Rosa, 2B

Guillermo Mota, RP

Cody Ross, OF

St. Louis Cardinals

Edwin Jackson, SP

Gerald Laird, C

Albert Pujols, 1B

Nick Punto, 2B

Arthur Rhodes, RP

Tampa Bay Rays

Juan Cruz, RP

Johnny Damon, DH

Casey Kotchman, 1B

Texas Rangers

Endy Chavez, OF

Michael Gonzalez, RP

Darren Oliver, RP

Matt Treanor, C

Brandon Webb, SP

C.J. Wilson, SP

Toronto Blue Jays

Shawn Camp, RP

Frank Francisco, RP

Kelly Johnson, 2B

Jose Molina, C

Washington Nationals

Rick Ankiel, OF

Todd Coffey, RP

Alex Cora, 3B

Jonny Gomes, OF

Livan Hernandez, SP

Laynce Nix, OF

Ivan Rodriguez, C

Chien-Ming Wang, SP


Brewers offense breaks out late to give Greinke win

September 3, 2011

Up until the seventh inning, I thought the Brewers were about to go cold- really cold. But, after the seventh inning, those thoughts had pretty much disappeared.

The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 8-2. If you weren’t watching the game, you’d think that it was an easy win for the Crew just by looking at the score. But, all of those runs actually came in the seventh inning or later, believe it or not. Before I get into that, though, let me say that the Cardinals fell to the Reds tonight, 11-8, meaning the Brewers extended their division lead to 8.5, and their magic number fell to 16.

Zack Greinke definitely didn’t have his best stuff today, but found a way to make it work. He had to labor through every inning and work his way out of jams, but, in the end, turned in a solid start. Greinke went six innings while giving up two runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out six to earn his 14th win of the year, which is second on the staff to Yovani Gallardo (15 wins).

The Astros got to Greinke in the fourth inning when Jimmy Paredes hit an RBI single, following a triple by Brian Bogusevic. Clint Barmes then hit a RBI double to give the Astros a 2-0 lead. Both Bogusevic and Barmes killed Greinke today, going a combined 4-f0r-7 against him. Fortunately, those would be the only two runs the Astros scored.

The Brewers offense got going in the seventh inning, but, before that, they were shut down by Astros spot starter Lucas Harrell. He, like Greinke, had to labor through a lot of innings as well, but put together a scoreless outing. He went 5 1/3 innings while giving up just three hits- all singles- to go along with two walks and four strikeouts.

The first Brewers run, which was in the seventh, came in an odd way. With two outs, Taylor Green was pinch-hitting, and managed to get a single. He was pinch-run for by the speedy September call-up Logan Schafer. Schafer eventually scored on a wild pitch by David Carpenter to cut the deficit to 2-1. Ryan Braun would follow with a two-RBI single and give the Brewers their first lead in four games.

But, the Brewers offense wasn’t done there. It needed to catch up with itself after three disappointing games against the Cardinals, and it did. Casey McGehee hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, and Ryan Braun had a RBI single in the ninth. Prince Fielder also hit his 31st home run of the year in the ninth.

Ron Roenicke finally decided to use some of his September call-ups in clutch situations today, as I mentioned earlier. Green started the Brewers offensive surge with a two-out single, then was pinch-ran for by Schafer. Schafer would score the Brewers’ first run. Anyway, this means that the only September call-up that hasn’t been used by the Brewers is catcher Martin Maldanado, who has been referred to as the best defensive catcher in the Minors.

Yuniesky Betancourt was hit on the forearm by Carpenter in the eighth inning, following McGehee’s two-run shot (Carpenter must have some sort of affiliation with TLR). Anyway, Betancourt is now day-to-day with an injured forearm, and Roenicke said they’ll see how he feels tomorrow.

The Brewers will try and take this series in Houston tomorrow at 6:05 PM CT (on WMLW, not FSWI). Chris Narveson (9-6, 4.28 ERA) will take the mound for the Crew in his first start in 12 days. His spot in the rotation was skipped due to a couple of Brewers off-days, but, in his last start in which he was returning from the DL, he shut out the Pirates for 5 1/3 innings. He left that start with an injured fingernail or something strange, but he should be completely healthy now. Narvey is 1-2 with a 4.38 ERA in his career againast the Astros.

The Astros will counter with Bud Norris (6-8, 3.68 ERA). He’s pitched better than his record shows, but he, like so many other Astros pitchers, does not get run support. Norris had been extremely dominant against the Brewers up until his last start against them, when he gave up six earned runs. Overall, he’s 3-1 with a 3.50 ERA against the Brewers.


Fielder helps Brewers seal series win against Astros

August 7, 2011

9:23p It looks like the Astros have pretty much given up hope on this season, and it’s really starting to show now. Looks like the Brewers came to Houston at the right time.

Brewers-Astros Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 7-5, in a game that became somewhat of a thriller at the end. Prince Fielder and Yuniesky Betancourt both had great games, with Fielder going 3-for-3 and Betancourt going 4-for-5.

The Brewers jumped on the Astros with three runs in the first inning for the second consecutive day on Fielder’s three-run homer off Astros starter Brett Myers, who would end up taking his 12th loss of the season.

The Astros got on the board in the second inning, when Carlos Lee hit a solo shot off Brewers starter Chris Narveson. But, the Brewers immediately answered in the third on a pair of questionable calls that led to two runs. Betancourt hit an RBI double down the left field line, but the ball appeared to land in foul territory. Third base umpire Lance Barksdale called the ball fair, however, and the Brewers took a 4-1 lead. Astros manager Brad Mills came out to argue, and it wouldn’t be the last time he had to do that. On the very next play, Felipe Lopez hit a grounder to first baseman Carlos Lee. Lee threw home and it appeared that catcher Humberto Quintero had applied the tag on Fielder, who had been at third, but home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom called him safe.

Those two runs would prove costly for the Astros, because J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning to make the game 5-4. But, Fielder added to the Brewers lead in the sixth inning with an RBI double. Jonathan Lucroy also hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to give the Brewers some insurance.

Anyway, Narveson exited after just 5 1/3 innings. He definitely didn’t have his best stuff, but it was good enough to get him his eighth win of the season. He gave up four runs on five hits while walking two and striking out four. The bullpen bailed him out, however, with Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins, and Francisco Rodriguez combining for 2 2/3 scoreless innings before John Axford entered for the save.

It was a pretty shaky save for Axford, as he gave up a one-out solo homer to Clint Barmes. And, the last out of the game was crazy, but got it done. J.B. Shuck hit a line drive off the leg of Axford. Then, Axford tried to throw Shuck out at first, but completely botched it and the ball rolled into right field.

After that, it was Tony Plush to the rescue.

Nyjer Morgan, who was playing right field, jogged over to the ball and picked it up. Then, he noticed that Shuck was trying to get all the way to third, so he threw it all the way across the diamond to Casey McGehee. McGehee applied the tag, and that was game over for the Astros, thanks to a rookie mistake by Shuck.

I think Fielder can hit Myers.

Coming into today, Fielder was hitting .308 against Myers with three home runs and six RBI. He’s shown those numbers are no fluke twice this year. The second one was his mammoth homer earlier today, which hit the foul pole. But his huge homer against Myers came earlier this year, when Fielder hit a 486-footer off him. That home run was the longest this year until Jim Thome of the Twins hit a 490-footer to break the record.

Hart exits with bruised hand

This definitely isn’t good. Corey Hart left today’s game in the seventh inning after getting hit in the left hand by Astros reliever David Carpenter. Nyjer Morgan shifted from center field to right field to take over his position in the field, and Jerry Hairston Jr. took Morgan’s place in center field.

Hart had been on a hot streak coming into today, including a hitting streak spanning over the last eight games. If he has to miss any time, it wouldn’t be good for the Brewers, who have already lost two key players in Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez. This is probably the worst part of the year to be losing good players since the Brewers are in the middle of a pennant race.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series sweep against the Astros tomorrow in an afternoon game. The Brewers will send Zack Greinke (9-4, 4.41 ERA) to the mound, who currently has a string of five straight quality starts going, including a win in his last time out against the Cardinals. This will be Greinke’s first start against the Astros as a Brewers. He is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his career against the Astros.

The Astros will counter with Bud Norris (5-7, 3.47 ERA), who has pretty much dominated the Brewers in his career. That’s shown by his 3-0 mark and 2.32 ERA against them. He has one start against them this year, and he went 7 2/3 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs continued to be hot and blew out the Reds, 11-4. They are 15 and 9.5 games out, respectively.
  • The Pirates just continued to fall apart today, losing to the Padres 13-2. They are now nine games out, and are also riding a nine-game losing streak that started when they were tied for first place in the division.
  • The Cardinals are just refusing to lose, as the beat the Marlins again, 2-1. They remain three games back.