Braun, Fielder take home Silver Slugger Awards

November 3, 2011

The Brewers don’t have good defense. That’s why nobody on the Brewers received any of the Gold Glove Awards that were handed out yesterday.

But you can’t argue with the fact that- despite its inconsistency- the Brewers have a rather destructive offense. So, it was fitting that a few Brewers took home the offense-related awards that were handed out today.

Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder both won the 2011 Silver Slugger Award at their respective positions: outfield and first base. It’s the second straight season that they had multiple winners, as Braun also won last year, along with pitcher Yovani Gallardo.

Braun had a career year in multiple categories. He hit 33 home runs with 111 RBIs, and also had a .332 batting average- a new career best for him, and second in the NL in 2011. Braun also led the NL in OPS at .994, and led in slugging percentage at .597. Not to mention this is Braun’s fourth year in a row winning the Silver Slugger Award.

This was Fielder’s second Silver Slugger Award, as he also won in 2007. Fielder winning it this year broke Albert Pujols’ three-year streak of winning the award at first base. Anyway, Fielder hit 38 home runs with a 120 RBIs. He also hit .299, which tied a career-high.

Both of these guys definitely deserved it. I know there are people out there arguing that Pujols or Joey Votto should have won at first base, but Pujols’ injury dampened his chance at winning for the fourth straight year, while Votto just didn’t have as good of a year as Fielder. Anyway, here are all of the winners at each position in the AL and NL:

American League

Catcher: Alex Avila, Tigers

First Base: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

Second Base: Robinson Cano, Yankees

Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians

Third Base: Adrian Beltre, Rangers

Outfield: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox; Curtis Granderson, Yankees; Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Red Sox

National League

Catcher: Brian McCann, Braves

First Base: Prince Fielder, Brewers

Second Base: Brandon Phillips, Reds

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Third Base: Aramis Ramirez, Cubs

Outfield: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Matt Kemp, Dodgers; Justin Upton, Diamondbacks

Pitcher: Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks

I think most of these guys were deserving of winning it.

Anyway, before I go, here’s all the Hot Stove news from today:

Cubs manager Mike Quade finally got fired. Newly appointed president of the Cubs, Theo Epstein, flew to Florida to tell Quade personally that he wouldn’t be returning to the Cubs in 2012. In Quade’s only full season with the Cubs, he went 71-91, which obviously wasn’t going to cut it.

Anyway, I guess I didn’t expect this, but it doesn’t appear that Epstein is going to do much screwing around while he’s the president of the Cubs. He wasted no time firing Quade, so we’ll have to wait and see if he’ll make any other surprising moves. (Actually, the Quade move wasn’t very surprising. Never mind.)

Oh, and one more thing related to the Cubs and Epstein- the Cubs and Red Sox still haven’t agreed on compensation for Epstein leaving the Sox with time still left on his contract. At first, the Sox wanted Matt Garza from the Cubs, which was just plain stupid. But now I guess they can’t even agree on a Minor Leaguer.

Frank McCourt agreed to sell the Dodgers today. Apparently, the team is going to be auctioned off.

But it’s about time. I’m not big into the Dodgers, but those fans- and the players themselves- have had to suffer enough under that dink McCourt. A baseball team shouldn’t have to suffer because of the owner’s personal issues (if you didn’t know already, this all started when McCourt and his wife- who was the president of the Dodgers- got divorced).

Anyway, a few other moves- the Nationals are close to re-signing starter Chien-Ming Wang, who has missed the better of the last two years with injuries. Also, John McDonald, a great defensive shortstop, re-signed for two years with Diamondbacks.

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Brewers overcome Greinke’s shaky start, take 2-0 lead

October 3, 2011

Zack Greinke’s first postseason start probably didn’t go the way he or the Brewers wanted it to, but, in the end, it didn’t matter.

The Brewers now have a 2-0 advantage over the Diamondbacks in the NLDS with a big win today, 9-4. As I said before, Greinke’s first career postseason start didn’t go well, as he allowed three home runs for the first time this season. But, thanks to a big sixth inning by the Brewers’ offense, they remain undefeated during Greinke’s starts at Miller Park.

Ryan Braun got the Brewers on the board early, crushing a two-run home run off D-backs starter Daniel Hudson. The Diamondbacks answered in the second inning, as Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo shot off Greinke in his first postseason at-bat. But, the Brewers extended their lead to 4-1 in the third inning, thanks to a RBI single by Prince Fielder, followed by a RBI triple by Rickie Weeks. Hopefully, that triple by Weeks is a sign that his ankle is getting closer to 100%.

The Diamondbacks got back in it in the fourth inning on a Chris Young homer, then, in the fifth, Justin Upton hit a game-tying two-run shot to knot the game at 4-4. That ended up being Greinke’s last inning.

But, this all set the stage for the Brewers’ giant sixth inning. After Hudson gave up a one-out double to Jerry Hairston Jr., he was removed from the game for righty-specialist Brad Ziegler. But Ziegler’s outing ended up being worse than Hudson’s. After he committed an apocalyptic act- walking Yuniesky Betancourt on four pitches- Jonathan Lucroy laid down a suicide squeeze. But, Ziegler got greedy and tried to throw home on the play, resulting in an error. So a run scored and there were guys on second and third. But it wouldn’t stop there. Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, and Braun hit consecutive RBI singles to make the game 9-4, where it would remain the rest of the game. Oh yeah, and after Ziegler’s appearance, his ERA this postseason is 108.00. That’s what four runs in one third of inning will give you.

Remember Lucroy’s bloop RBI single yesterday off of D-backs ace Ian Kennedy? Well, apparently Kennedy was questioned about why he didn’t intentionally walk Lucroy to get to Yovani Gallardo, the pitcher, batting behind Lucroy. But here’s what Kennedy said:

“Not at all. I made my pitch and he placed it just right. Had him 1-and-2, there’s no thought of a walk. There was a guy who can’t really hit, and Galardo can swing it a little bit, so there was no thought at all, for me at least.”

So, in other words, he said Lucroy “can’t really hit.” Maybe he doesn’t swing the bat great compared to Miguel Montero, Kennedy’s typical batterymate, but he was in no position to say he “can’t really hit.” But Kennedy made a couple of idiot decisions yesterday. Not only did he pitch to Lucroy, but he decided to pitch to Fielder with a base open and two outs, and it resulted in a two-run homer. I thought a guy with 21 wins would be smarter than that, but apparently not.

But I did notice that, after Lucroy ended up at second after his suicide squeeze, he did a more emphatic “beast mode” than he usually does. I also noticed him glaring at the Diamondbacks’ dugout for a few seconds. I wonder who on earth he could have been staring at?

The Brewers have a chance to clinch a NLCS appearance after an off-day tomorrow in Arizona. They’ll send their best starter on the road- Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA)- to the mound. Marcum was 8-3 with a 2.21 ERA on the road this season, which was by far the best out of any Brewers’ starter on the road. He’s 1-0 with a 5.73 ERA in his career against the Diamondbacks, but here’s a funny stat- he has a grand slam against them this year.

The Diamondbacks will counter with rookie Josh Collmenter (10-10, 3.38 ERA). Normally, I wouldn’t be too worried about a rookie starter, especially in the postseason, but there a three main reasons I am this time around. First off- you can see he’s been one of the better rookie pitchers this year, putting up a 3.38 ERA in 154 innings of work. Secondly, the Brewers have sucked against rookie pitching this year. They’ve allowed the second lowest rookie ERA in the National League this year. Lastly, Collmenter has two career starts against the Brewers this season, and hasn’t allowed a run in 14 innings of work. Hopefully, the Brewers have seen him enough to get something going against him, but it’s the Brewers. You never know with them and how much they let rookie pitchers tear through their lineup…


Brewers take Game 1 behind Gallardo’s gem

October 2, 2011

In 2008, Yovani Gallardo was named the Game 1 starter for the Brewers-Phillies NLDS. This year, he was named the Game 1 starter against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS, but the circumstances were much different.

In 2008, Gallardo was injured nearly the entire season, and had only one start under his belt that season. So getting a playoff start- especially the first game- must have been a surprise. But, the Brewers had used CC Sabathia to clinch the Wild Card on the last day of the season, so he couldn’t be used until Game 2 at the earliest. And you can’t blame them for not wanting to use Dave Bush or Jeff Suppan in Game 1, so Gallardo was actually the only legitimate choice. Gallardo would end up losing that game, thanks to three unearned runs served up by the Brewers’ defense.

But this year was different for him. Gallardo was ready for a Game 1 start in 2011, after leading the Brewers in wins (17) and strikeouts (207). He also ended up leading the rotation in ERA (3.52). So, considering he was the ace of the staff this year (and that Zack Greinke had been used on the last day of the season), he was again the choice for Game 1.

And he certainly didn’t disappoint. The Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks in the all-important Game 1 of the NLDS, 4-1, and pretty much rode on the back of Gallardo’s great start the entire time (until he finally got some run support towards the end). Gallardo went eight stellar innings, while giving up one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out nine for his first career postseason win.

To be honest with you, Gallardo didn’t look good in the first inning. He allowed a leadoff single to Willie Bloomquist on the first pitch of the game, then allowed Bloomquist to steal second. Then, Justin Upton hit a single to left field, which you’d think would score the speedy Bloomquist, right? Think again. Left fielder Ryan Braun threw a laser to catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and they nailed Bloomquist at home to prevent the first run from scoring. Just another reason Braun should be MVP, though… Anyway, that play changed the game for both teams, because after that, the D-backs couldn’t seem to do anything to get a run in.

The Brewers couldn’t get anything going against Ian Kennedy and his 21 wins until the fourth inning, when they had bases loaded with no outs against him. But, they only scored one run, courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Jerry Hairston Jr. I’m beginning to wonder what our batting average with runners on would look like if Yuniesky Betancourt weren’t on this team… Anyway, the Brewers tacked on another run in the sixth inning on Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI single.

Then, Kirk Gibson made a rather interesting decision in the seventh inning. Kennedy had just given up a two-out double to Braun, and Prince Fielder was coming up. Gibson then came out to talk to Kennedy, and probably ask him if he wanted to intentionally walk Fielder. Kennedy must have said no, which turned into a boneheaded decision on his part. He threw a first pitch fastball to Fielder, and then Fielder backed out of the batter’s box and simply smirked. He was probably thinking, “You’re actually going to pitch to me?” And that was exactly what Kennedy was doing. But, the next pitch definitely made him regret it.

Kennedy handed Fielder a hanging curveball on a silver platter for Fielder to crush over the right field wall for a two-run shot. But I’m still trying to figure out why Kennedy, with a base open at first, even pitched to Fielder.

Anyway, the Diamondbacks’ only run came on a Ryan Roberts home run leading off the eighth inning. Gallardo’s reaction to that? Striking out the side to finish the eighth. John Axford would then come in to finish the game in the ninth for his first career postseason save.

The Brewers will try and take a 2-0 advantage in this series later today against the D-backs, and will send Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA), who will be making his first career postseason start. He’s 11-0 at home this season, but is 0-2 against the D-backs in his career, so one of those streaks will come to an end today. Also note that this will be the second straight start that he’ll be starting on three days’ rest, so I guess we’ll see how he reacts to that.

The D-backs will counter with Daniel Hudson (16-12, 3.49 ERA), who will also be making his first postseason start. He finished the regular season 0-3 with a 4.26 ERA, so he doesn’t have much momentum coming into this start. The Brewers faced him once earlier this year, and tagged him for five runs, but all five of those runs were driven in by pitcher Shaun Marcum, who doesn’t start until tomorrow. So I don’t know how the rest of the offense will do against this guy.


Brewers’ roster for NLDS set

October 1, 2011

The Brewers’ roster for the NLDS was unveiled earlier today. I guess it came earlier than everyone thought (or at least me), because it didn’t need to be done until tomorrow morning, but we have it, nonetheless.

There are a couple surprises among the roster. I’ll get to those in a second, but here is the roster:

Pitchers (11): Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez, Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins, Kameron Loe, Chris Narveson, Marco Estrada

Catchers (2): Jonathan Lucroy, George Kottaras

Infielders (7): Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Yuniesky Betancourt, Casey McGehee, Jerry Hairston Jr., Craig Counsell, Taylor Green

Outfielders (5): Ryan Braun, Nyjer Morgan, Corey Hart, Carlos Gomez, Mark Kotsay

So it’s mostly what you expected. The rotation is set, with Gallardo, Greinke, and Marcum starting the first three games of the series, along with Wolf in game four, if necessary. Narveson will mainly be used out of the bullpen, either as a long reliever, or possibly a lefty specialist- he’s still the only lefty in the ‘pen.

But I guess there were some surprises. The biggest one was probably Green beating out Josh Wilson for a spot on the roster. They didn’t really need Wilson in the first place, since Counsell can pretty much play the same role that he usually does, and Green can start in place of McGehee, if needed. But, the Brewers probably had planned to put Green on the postseason roster the entire time, since they called him up in late August instead of waiting until September 1st, when rosters expand. Had Green been called up at any point in September, he wouldn’t have been eligible for the postseason roster (barring an injury to a key player).

Anyway, another “surprise” was Estrada beating out Tim Dillard for the second long reliever in the bullpen behind Narveson. I guess that’s not really a surprise, at least to me- Estrada has actually been decent for the Brewers this year, if you look beyond his numbers. Nothing against Dillard, but Estrada had just been with the team longer, and I expected him to make it.

Ron Roenicke apparently wouldn’t say who’s starting at third base tomorrow. The choices are Hairston, McGehee, and Green. If it were me, I’d throw Green in there, just because it’s Ian Kennedy- a tough right-hander- starting for the Diamondbacks. But, we all know Roenicke doesn’t really have the guts to do that. I guess I can’t blame him this time, though- you don’t want to be too experimental at this point.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I just got finished watching the Yankees-Tigers game get rained out, and now I have no baseball to watch for the rest of the night. But I did watch the Rays pound the Rangers- that Matt Moore kid is something else. So was his battery-mate, Kelly Shoppach, who went 3-for-3 with two home runs in the game today. Did I mention he hit .176 during the regular season?

That proves that the postseason is completely different than the regular season. I have a feeling McGehee will do something like that against the Diamondbacks. But that really wouldn’t surprise me, considering he’s hitting over .500 against them in his career. In fact, D-backs starter Daniel Hudson has never retired McGehee in his career- he’s 5-for-5 against Hudson. Anyway, this should be a very fun series, and I’m going to be there tomorrow. I haven’t been this excited in a long time.


Postseason preview of the Brewers-D-backs NLDS

September 30, 2011

It’s been awhile. Sorry for not getting up an articles in a couple days; I’m having a pretty stressful week. I’ve had close to no time to even get on the computer, much less write a full article. But I’m back, and should have all the postseason coverage on this blog.

Speaking of the postseason. The last time I posted was when the Brewers clinched the NL Central on Ryan Braun’s clutch home run against the Marlins. From there, the Brewers went on to sweep the Marlins and win their regular season-ending series against the Pirates. The also finished with a franchise record 96 wins, which is astounding, if you think about it.

But wow, did some crazy things happen in both Wild Card races yesterday.

The Rays and Cardinals are headed to the postseason. If I told you that coming into September, you would have called me crazy. I would have called myself crazy. But it happened, thanks to historical September meltdowns by the Braves and Red Sox.

That’s right. The Red Sox. The dream fantasy team, that had Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester- I could go on forever. And they blew a nine-game Wild Card lead. That’s the largest Wild Card lead blown since it was introduced in the early 90’s.

Anyway, here’s what happened to them last night. After a rain delay that lasted a few hours in Baltimore, the Red Sox led the Orioles, 3-2, in the ninth inning. Jonathan Papelbon, one of the best closers in the game, was in to try and finish it off. And he blew it. He gave up two runs, the parting blow coming from Robert Andino- a name that no casual baseball fan has ever heard. But, he’ll always be remembered as part of what ruined what could have been a good season for the BoSox.

But something great had to happen in St. Pete if the Rays were to make the postseason, right? And it was great. They were playing the Yankees, and were down 7-0 going into the eighth inning. But, they scored six runs in the eighth, putting a ton of pressure on the Yankees to close it out in the ninth. The Yankees must not have felt that much pressure, though- they didn’t even put in all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera (ugh, it feels weird saying that) to close out a one-run game. That resulted in a game-tying home run by Dan Johnson (another name that a casual baseball fan has never heard). But, the Rays wouldn’t clinch their postseason berth until the 12th inning. It came on a line-drive home run by Longoria- his second of the game- and it left the Red Sox absolutely stunned. Even I’m still trying to get a grip on the fact that the Red Sox aren’t going to be in the postseason.

Anyway, the Cardinals can thank two players in particular for getting them into the postseason- Chris Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel. Carpenter tossed a two-hitter against the Astros, and Kimbrel, unable to contain his emotions in the ninth inning, blew a crucial save against the Phillies, ending the Braves’ season abruptly.

But, with all that out of the way, let’s get down to business. The regular season is over; now, we wait and see who’ll reach the Fall Classic.

Thanks to the Cardinals reaching the postseason, the Brewers will host the Diamondbacks in the NLDS. To be honest with you, this completely messes up my predictions for the postseason- I was hoping for a Brewers-D-Backs NLCS. But that obviously can’t happen now.

Anyway, here are the pitching match-ups for this series:

Ian Kennedy (21-4, 2.88 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (17-10, 3.52 ERA)

Daniel Hudson (16-12, 3.49 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (16-6, 3.83 ERA)

Shaun Marcum (13-7, 3.54 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders (12-13, 3.69 ERA)

You can just tell by looking at the numbers that these are all going to be great match-ups. But, it couldn’t have come out better for the Brewers- and you’re about to figure out why home field advantage was so important to the Crew.

Gallardo and Greinke each have 11 wins at home this year. Gallardo has two losses, and Greinke has none. This is why home field advantage was so important. Both pitchers are practically invincible at home, especially Greinke, who is invincible at home (at least so far). Kennedy and Hudson obviously won’t be easy to beat, however, so expect a few pitchers’ duels. Oh, by the way, I just thought I should mention this- Gallardo is 5-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his career against the D-Backs. That could be a pretty big factor.

Then, the series changes venues- which also plots out in the Brewers’ favor. Marcum has been that one guy who is different from everyone in the rotation. Instead of being great at home, he’s great on the road- his 2.31 ERA on the road proves that.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. The two ALDS’s start tomorrow between the Rays and Rangers, and Yankees and Tigers, so we’ll have those to keep us company until the NLDS starts. The Yanks-Tigers game will be interesting- CC Sabathia, a former Brewer, will face Justin Verlander, who has a no-hitter against the Brewers. That’s a game I won’t be missing.

Anyway, one more thing before I go- let me say that this could be a magical year for the Brewers.


McGehee comes through as Brewers rally against D-backs

July 7, 2011

3:52p Now this is exactly the kind of game the Brewers needed.

Diamondbacks-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers finally snapped a three-game losing streak today in a win against the Diamondbacks. Three good things happened today: Casey McGehee hit a late-inning homer, Yovani Gallardo tossed a gem, and Ron Roenicke finally used LaTroy Hawkins in the setup role.

Gallardo recovered pretty well after giving up a lead-off homer to Kelly Johnson in the first inning, but received no run support through the first six innings. That was because Diamondbacks starter Josh Collmenter finally had a decent start and shut out the Brewers for six innings before handing it off to the Diamondbacks’ inconsistent bullpen.

Reliever Joe Paterson came in to pitch the seventh. After striking out Prince Fielder, Paterson gave up back-to-back singles to Mark Kotsay and Jonathan Lucroy.

Then, the slumping Casey McGehee stepped up to the plate to pinch-hit for Mat Gamel.

Reliever Sam Demel came on to replace Paterson after he recorded just one out. Then, on a 3-2 count, McGehee crushed a three-run homer to give the Brewers the lead, 3-1.

LaTroy Hawkins came in and pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and John Axford struck out the side in the ninth to record his 22nd save of the year. Gallardo finished with seven innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking one and striking out six. It was his tenth win of the year and lowered his ERA to 3.76.

McGehee finally comes through

McGehee has been in a season-long slump so far this year, but he shined today as he hit the go-ahead homer off of Demel in the seventh. McGehee was actually out of the lineup as Gamel made his second start of the season at third base.

I’ve said this a lot, but McGehee is on track to have the worst season of his career this year. He’s hitting just .225 with five home runs and 36 RBIs. Hopefully the homer today is a symbol that he’s finally beginning to break out of his slump. However, he may have just been showing his dominance against the Diamondbacks. Coming into this series, McGehee was hitting .548 against Arizona for his career. He is also 5-for-5 against Arizona starter Daniel Hudson in his career.

Hawkins finally used in the eighth inning role

Roenicke finally used Hawkins in the eighth inning today, the role he was meant for. It seems to me that Hawkins has only been used when starters can’t get out of an inning, or in a mop-up role, which is not what his role actually is. I heard that Hawkins recently talked to Roenicke about being used in a better role in the bullpen, but, up until today, that hadn’t really showed.

Roenicke, for some reason, has been using Kameron Loe for the setup role. Here are Loe’s numbers out of that role so far: 2-7, 4.72 ERA. Great numbers for a setup guy, right? Here are Hawkins’ numbers out of his role, mop-up or whatever it may be: 0-0, 0.78 ERA. As you can see, Hawkins hasn’t even factored in a decision yet, which shows how unused he is. To me, Loe’s numbers and Hawkins’ numbers are the complete opposites of what their numbers should be, given their roles.

Braun sits fourth straight, has MRI on calf

Ryan Braun sat out for the fourth straight game today, and, just to make sure there wasn’t anything extremely wrong with his calf, had an MRI. The MRI should nothing more than an inflammation in his calf. Roenicke said Braun probably won’t be in the lineup tomorrow, but could be on Friday.

Brewers avoid first sweep at home of the year

It appeared that the Brewers were going to get swept at home for the first time this season today with the way Collmenter was pitching. However, McGehee’s late inning heroics changed that, and the Brewers remain unswept (yes, I made that word up) at home this season. Yesterday and the day before marked the first time this season that the Brewers had dropped back-to-back games at home.

Up next for the Crew…

Tomorrow, the division rival Reds will come to town. The Brewers haven’t fared very well against the Reds so far this season, or for the last three seasons at that. The Brewers are 2-7 against the Reds so far.

Homer Bailey (3-3, 3.64 ERA) will go for the Reds. He’s still getting settled in after a few stints on the DL earlier this season. The Brewers will counter with Chris Narveson (5-5, 4.86 ERA), who got knocked around his last start against the Twins. He gave up a career-high 14 hits to go along with seven runs. He didn’t factor in the decision, however, because that was the day of the huge comeback against the Twins. He hasn’t been good against the Reds this season, as he is 0-2 and gave up seven runs in one start, and five in the other. He better win tomorrow, though, since I’m going to be at the game.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs are currently tied with the Nationals, 4-4. To be honest, I could care less whether or not they win, considering how far out of the race they are. It’s just fun to watch the Cubs lose.
  • The Astros are leading the Pirates, 5-2. Is the Pirates lose, the Brewers will move ahead of them in the Central standings.
  • The Reds are destroying the Cardinals, 6-0. If the Cards lose, the Brewers will gain a game on them.

Brewers’ bullpen melts down again in loss to D-backs

July 5, 2011

6:32p Diamondbacks-Brewers Wrap-Up

Well, before I have to get negative, let me wish everyone a happy 4th of July.

Now for the negative.

The Brewers let another 6-1 lead go in their 8-6 loss to the Diamondbacks. The bullpen melted down once again, as they let the Diamondbacks chip all the way back from a 6-1 deficit.

Things looked to be going well for the Brewers early on in the 3rd inning. After Casey McGehee’s double and Jonathan Lucroy’s single, starter Shaun Marcum bunted up the first base line. McGehee surprisingly tried to score. He would have been out, had it not been for a throwing error by first baseman Juan Miranda. The Diamondbacks immediately answered in the 4th, however, when Miguel Montero hit a solo shot off Marcum.

The bottom of the 4th was the big inning for the Brewers. Corey Hart led off with a solo homer off Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson, giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Then, after singles by Prince Fielder and McGehee and a walk by Lucroy, Marcum stepped up to the plate with two outs. Sure enough, he crushed a grand slam into the Brewers’ bullpen, giving the Brewers a 6-1 lead.

After that inning, everything went downhill for the Crew.

After Wily Mo Pena’s pinch-hit homer in the 5th, the Diamondbacks scored at least one run in every inning until the end of the game. Marcum was lifted after the 6th. He finished with six innings, while giving up seven hits, four runs, two walks, and had five strikeouts.

In the 7th, Stephen Drew singled off of reliever LaTroy Hawkins, halting his scoreless streak at 22 innings. Then, in the 8th, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made the mistake of bringing in Kameron Loe. He gave up a run on four hits, but got lucky because of two runners thrown out at third. John Axford came in to record the final out of the inning.

In the 9th, everything fell apart for Axford, which was very uncharacteristic of him. He gave up two runs on four hits, making it an 8-6 Diamondbacks lead. Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez came in for the bottom of the inning, and struck out the side to record the save.

Kameron Loe sucks.

I vented out on Loe yesterday in one of my posts, as well as earlier today in one of my tweets. Now, I feel the need to again.

He did not take the loss today, but he blew his sixth save of the year. (It obviously wasn’t a save, but blown hold sounds stupid.) He is now 2-7 with a 4.87 ERA. I have no idea why Roenicke is being so stubborn and continuing to use him, despite all those losses and blown saves, when LaTroy Hawkins and his 0.82 ERA are sitting in the bullpen, unused. Not to mention we have Takashi Saito back from the DL. But I guess he’ll be getting the Hawkins treatment as well.

In my opinion, we’d almost be better off cutting Loe and calling up Tim Dillard or Mike McClendon. But that’s NEVER going to happen, at least not as long as Roenicke is manager.

Marcum’s slam wasted by bullpen

I thought after Marcum hit that grand slam off Hudson that we had the game won. But, the bullpen had other ideas, apparently.

Anyway, Marcum’s slam was the first by a pitcher in Brewers history. However, Seattle Pilots pitcher Fred Talbot hit a grand slam in the Pilots’ lone season in 1969 before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers.

Braun sits again

Now I’m beginning to get a little worried. I was hoping Ryan Braun would be back in the lineup today, but he was out again with his calf injury. His absence in the lineup may be part of the reason that our offense has failed to get rallies going in late innings. Hopefully he’ll be back tomorrow.

McGehee’s slump appears over

McGehee finally appeared to be out of his slump today, as he went 2-for-4 with a double and a single off of Hudson. Sadly, I’m not sure we can consider him completely out of it, considering Hudson has failed to retire McGehee during his entire career. McGehee is 5-for-5 against Hudson in his career.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will see a familiar face tomorrow in Arizona’s Zach Duke (1-3, 5.92 ERA). The Brewers saw a lot of Duke during his days with the Pirates. Duke was traded to the Diamondbacks early last offseason, and is 4-7 with a 6.14 ERA in his career against the Brewers. Randy Wolf (6-5, 3.33 ERA) will go for the Crew, looking for his 7th win of the season. He’s coming off of a solid start against the Yankees. He gave up four runs over seven innings, but received no run support. In his career, Wolf is 10-3 with a 4.47 ERA against the Diamondbacks.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals are currently leading the Reds 1-0 in the 8th inning. If the Cards win, they will take the division lead.
  • The Cubs lost in extra innings to the Nationals, 5-4. They are 10.5 games back.
  • Pirates defeated the Astros, 5-3. They are 1 and 16.5 games back, respectively. (I can’t remember the last time the Pirates were 1 game back. This is scary.)