Brewers reward Greinke in extras after vintage duel

June 23, 2012

> Today, a Brewers starter went nine innings for the first time since April of 2011. Yet, the Brewers still don’t have a complete game since April of 2011.

> The Brewers defeated the White Sox today, 1-0, in ten innings. This was by far the best pitchers’ duel the Brewers have been involved in this year. You knew it was going to be a duel coming in, with Zack Greinke going for the Crew and Chris Sale for the Sox. Both are having All-Star campaigns, and continued their remarkable seasons today.

Greinke may very well have had his best start in a Brewers uniform today. He fired nine shutout innings while giving up just three hits, all singles. He walked one and struck out four. While the strikeout numbers may have been down, these are the types of starts that Ron Roenicke must be looking for: pitching to contact and keeping the pitch count down, which is exactly what Greinke did today. He threw exactly 100 pitches through nine, and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him go out for the tenth. Anyway, it didn’t matter that the strikeouts were down for Greinke tonight, because he didn’t even allow a runner to reach second base. Yeah, he was that dominant.

Sale, on the other hand, also had a stellar start. He went eight shutout innings while giving up four hits. He walked one and struck out seven. The Brewers had a few chances to score against him, particularly in the fifth and seventh innings, when they had a runner on second with one out in each inning. But Sale weaved his way out of trouble in both situations.

Sale was removed in favor of Addison Reed in the ninth, and I was worried that if the Brewers didn’t score that inning, Greinke wouldn’t factor in the decision. Reed did toss a perfect ninth, but Greinke came back for the ninth and matched him.

Aramis Ramirez led off the tenth with a double off Jesse Crain, his second double of the night. He was pinch-run for by Nyjer Morgan. Corey Hart then struck out. But, with Rickie Weeks batting, Crain threw a wild pitch that allowed Morgan to advanced to third. Weeks took advantage of it and slapped an RBI single to left field, which would be the only run of the game.

I was honestly hoping for Greinke to come back out and pitch the tenth, but instead struggling closer John Axford was on. And it looked like he was going to have another rough night, as he walked Gordon Beckham to lead off the inning. But he came back to strike out the American League leader in home runs, Adam Dunn, which was a huge out. But he still had to deal with another great hitter in Paul Konerko. Axford may have caught a bit of luck with him- he hit a ground ball down the line, but third baseman Taylor Green had him positioned perfectly, and from there the Brewers turned a game-ending double play.

> Prior to today’s game, the Brewers reportedly sign veteran starter Livan Hernandez to a one-year contract. But the news was leaked in an odd way- ex-Brewer utility man Bill Hall announced it via Twitter after he ran into Livan at an airport.

Anyway, Hernandez has been around for quite some time. He was most recently released by the Braves on June 18th after putting up a 4.94 ERA out of their bullpen. But Livan could be of help for the Brewers, who could need an extra starter if Shaun Marcum does end up hitting the disabled list, or if Marco Estrada has a setback in his rehab. If neither of the situations happen, though, Hernandez could be a long reliever.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of their last Interleague series tomorrow at 6:15 PM CT. They’ll send Randy Wolf (2-5, 5.11 ERA) to the mound, who has had just terrible luck his past three starts. He should have won all of them, but the bullpen found a way to blow it each time. So don’t be deceived by the numbers; he’s been a lot better as of late.

The White Sox will counter with Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 3.52 ERA), who will make a spot start in place of the injured Philip Humber.

> Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Crew wins slugfest with ChiSox

March 7, 2012

> This is what we’ve been waiting for all spring- a day the Brewers offense breaks out.

I guess saying all spring makes it seem like Spring Training has been going on for awhile, even though this is only the Brewers’ fourth game. But, with the way the Brewers offense had been those first three games (save for those lucky breaks against the Giants), it certainly felt like awhile. Anyway, enough rambling- the Brewers defeated the White Sox today, 10-6. For the most part of the game, the Brewers had been winning be a large margin (at one point it was 8-0), as the White Sox didn’t even draw within four runs until the ninth inning.

The Brewers wasted no time getting on the board, as Alex Gonzalez hit a two-RBI double in the first inning off Sox starter Jake Peavy. The Brewers tagged Peavy for one more run in the second on Norichika Aoki’s long-awaited first hit with the Crew- a RBI triple. The Brewers also added another run in the third on Taylor Green’s RBI single.

The Brewers then had a breakout inning at the plate in the fourth. Mike Rivera and Travis Ishikawa each had RBI singles, and Gonzalez continued his good day at the plate with a two-RBI triple. All four of these runs came off of pitcher Dylan Axelrod, and the Brewers led 8-0 after the fourth.

The White Sox finally got on the board in the fifth on a two-run homer by Jared Mitchell, and a RBI double by A.J. Pierzynski. But the Brewers answered back in the sixth on a two-RBI double by Edwin Maysonet, making the score 10-3. The Sox scored three more runs before the game ended- Trayce Thompson had a RBI groundout in the eighth, Hector Gimenez hit a RBI single in the ninth, and Delwyn Young hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Despite the fact the pitching staff gave up six runs, it looked pretty good once again. Marco Estrada kept the starting pitchers’ scoreless streak alive with two scoreless innings to start the game. John Axford, Kameron Loe, and Juan Perez all also had scoreless innings. Mike Fiers gave up three runs, and Josh Butler gave up two runs, however. Taylor Jungmann also gave up a run in two innings of work, but it was unearned (what a theme that’s been this spring).

A lot of guys who were due to have breakout games at some point did have them today. Along with his triple, Aoki tacked on another hit later in the game and went 2-for-4. Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, and showed that he can be an occasional source of power. Eric Farris also went 2-for-4. Meanwhile, Nyjer Morgan finally got his first hit of the spring, and Ishikawa got another hit as he continues to make his case for the opening day roster.

> Corey Hart announced today that hethought that having his knee surgically repaired was the right decision. We all probably already knew that, but it’s good hearing it from the man himself.

> The Brewers will take on the division-rival Reds tomorrow at 2:05 PM CT, and will send Zack Greinke to the mound. He pitched two scoreless innings in the first game of spring against the Giants. The Reds will counter with Mike Leake, who has a 4.50 ERA thus far this spring.

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