Brewers once again Hart-broken

January 20, 2013

> Yesterday, when I got home from school, I saw a tweet regarding Corey Hart and how much he hates Spring Training, but I didn’t take it literally. So I tweeted a joke about how I’d be waiting to hear the news about more of his knee injuries come ST.

But I wouldn’t have to wait very long. In fact, a few seconds later, I checked out the MLB news of the day- something I probably should have done first- and found that Hart will be out for 3-4 months with knee surgery.

Yep, we can’t catch a break. This is the third straight ST in which Hart will have been injured for at least part of the time, and the second time over the past three years that he’ll miss at least the first month of the season.

Anyway, this injury certainly affects how I view the possibility of the Brewers extending Hart. While he’s been a power-threat in the Brewers’ lineup ever since his break-out 2010, I don’t know how much longer the team can put up with his constant early season injuries. Also, if Hart misses more than just the first month of the season- which some speculate he will- it’ll hurt the sort of deal he gets, should he hit the free agent market at the end of 2013.

As for the Brewers, though, it would appear they’re going to give Mat Gamel yet another chance to start at first base. First base prospect Hunter Morris might get a closer look during ST, but it’s unlikely the Brewers would burn one of his options just so he could fill in for Hart for a month or so. Another internal option is Taylor Green, who, along with Gamel, was supposed to be fighting for a bench role going into ST.

Bottom line is, though, that this was a year Hart should have been a bit more careful. There’s evidently chronic issues with his knee that should have been fixed for good by now.

Milwaukee Brewers v Arizona Diamondbacks

> The Brewers’ list of World Baseball Classic players grew after the rosters for each country were announced on Thursday. 14 players were chosen: Ryan Braun (USA), Jonathan Lucroy (USA), Yovani Gallardo (Mexico), Marco Estrada (Mexico), Martin Maldonado (Puerto Rico), Hiram Burgos (Puerto Rico), Carlos Gomez (Dominican Republic), Jeff Bianchi (Italy), Hainley Statia (Netherlands), Mike Walker (Australia), John Axford (Canada), Jim Henderson (Canada), Green (Canada), and Rene Tosoni (Canada). All but three of the players- Statia, Walker, and Tosoni- are currently on the Brewers’ 40-man roster.

> The club has also avoided arbitration with all of its eligibles. Gomez received $4.3 million, Axford $5 million, Estrada $1.955 million, and Burke Badenhop $1.55 million. All were one-year deals. The Brewers had already avoided arbitration with their other eligible, Chris Narveson, a few weeks back.

> The Brewers signed catcher Robinson Diaz to a minor league deal.

> Former Milwaukee Braves shortstop Johnny Logan is going to be inducted into the Brewers’ Walk of Fame.

> Today was an extremely sad day for baseball: former Orioles manager Earl Weaver and Cardinals legend Stan Musial both passed away. Weaver was 82 while Musial was 92.

> Minor moves: 

Padres: Re-signed Will Venable, Joe Thatcher, and Everth Cabrera to one-year deals; signed Brad Hawpe and Lucas May to minor league deals.
Red Sox: Signed Mike Napoli to a one-year deal; re-signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Joel Hanrahan, and Jacoby Ellsbury to one-year deals; re-signed Craig Breslow to a two-year deal.
Rangers: Signed Matt Harrison to a five-year extension; re-signed Neftali Feliz to a one-year deal.
Twins: Re-signed Drew Butera to a one-year deal.
Pirates: Designated Zach Stewart for assignment; re-signed Garrett Jones to a one-year deal.
Diamondbacks: Re-signed Tony Sipp and Ian Kennedy to one-year deals.
Astros: Signed Rick Ankiel to a one-year deal.
Mets: Re-signed Bobby Parnell and Ike Davis to one-year deals; signed Landon Powell to a minor league deal.
Reds: Re-signed Logan Ondrusek to a two-year deal.
Nationals: Re-signed Drew Storen and Craig Stammen to one-year deals.
Yankees: Re-signed Joba Chamberlain to a one-year deal; signed Bobby Wilson and Reegie Corona to minor league deals.
Athletics: Re-signed John Jaso and Seth Smith to one-year deals.
Angels: Re-signed Alberto Callaspo to a two-year deal; re-signed Jason Vargas to a one-year deal.
Cubs: Re-signed Matt Garza to a one-year deal.
Giants: Re-signed Jose Mijares, Hunter Pence, and Buster Posey to one-year deals.
Indians: Re-signed Drew Stubbs and Chris Perez to one-year deals; signed Ryan Raburn to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Re-signed Matt Wieters to a one-year deal.
Blue Jays: Re-signed Josh Thole to a two-year deal.
Tigers: Re-signed Rick Porcello to a one-year deal.
White Sox: Signed Tony Pena Jr. to a minor league deal; signed Matt Lindstrom to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Singed Matt Downs to a minor league deal.

Advertisements

Loe picks up Axford in shaky ninth

August 25, 2012

POSTGAME

> It was another bullpen classic tonight. The Brewers squeezed past the Pirates, 6-5, in a game that should have been a much easier win. They had a three-run lead going into the ninth inning, but, after a dominating performance on Wednesday, John Axford couldn’t handle it today.

The Brewers jumped on Wandy Rodriguez early, with back-to-back RBI hits from Corey Hart and Jonathan Lucroy to give them a 2-0 lead. But the Pirates answered back on an Andrew McCutchen two-RBI single in the fourth.

It was a pitchers’ duel between Mike Fiers and Rodriguez until the Brewers finally broke the game open in the seventh. Rodriguez was removed with a runner on second and two outs in favor of Jared Hughes, who got his head blown off by the Brewers. He started by hitting Rickie Weeks with the first pitch he threw, then walked Ryan Braun to load the bases. Aramis Ramirez made him pay with a bases-clearing double.

The Brewers had a 6-3 lead going into the ninth, so Axford was put in for what looked like an easy save situation, especially after his save Wednesday. But nothing is easy for him nowadays. He walked McCutchen and Garrett Jones to start the inning, then gave up an RBI single to Neil Walker. Axford seemed to find it for two batters, notching back-to-back strikeouts of Pedro Alvarez and Jeff Clement. But then he gave up another RBI single to Michael McKenry, and Ron Roenicke decided to yank him for Kameron Loe, who struck out Gaby Sanchez to record the save.

AXFORD CAN’T HANDLE IT ANYMORE

> I wrote an article yesterday regarding Axford’s confidence coming back after he recorded back-to-back saves. I also mentioned that he himself went up to Roenicke and personally asked for the closer’s role back.

But I guess I was wrong. Axford just no longer has the ability to string together good outings. I want to say he’ll get better, but each blown save (or practically blown save, which was the case tonight) just lessens my confidence in him more and more.

Yes, I know it’s probably too early to judge him, and there’s no reason that he can’t still turn it around before season’s end. But, at the same time, there’s no reason that he can’t become the next Derrick Turnbow, which, scarily enough, seems to be exactly what’s happening to him. Axford had a ton of saves last year and sub-2.00 ERA, and now can barely string together two good outings.

Sound familiar? Yes, it sounds very familiar. The exact same thing happened to Turnbow. And we all saw what happened to Turnbow after this happened to him.

I hate to be all negative about Axford, because he has great stuff, and still has the potential to be that dominant closer. But, just like Turnbow, he can’t get it together mentally anymore.

(Sorry if I brought back any bad memories with that photo.)

THE NEWS

> Randy Wolf said the Brewers organization treated him with respect and “has been outstanding” even after they released him. He’ll return to his home in Los Angeles to work out and hopefully wait on another big league opportunity.

> Shaun Marcum was offically reinstated from the disabled list today and will make his first start since early June tomorrow.

THE NUMBERS

> Fiers bounced back nicely after two rough outings against the Rockies and Phillies. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out 10, which tied a career-high.

In Fiers’ two previous starts, he had a whopping 15.43 ERA.

> Braun got walked three times tonight, one of those times intentionally. Ramirez made the Bucs pay for all of those by going 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

> Jean Segura’s average has fallen to .189.

> Fiers finally recorded his first career hit, which was a bunt single to ignite the seventh inning rally.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Shaun Marcum (5-3, 3.39 ERA) vs. Jeff Karstens (4-3, 3.79 ERA)


Gallardo’s 14 K’s give Brewers series win

July 16, 2012

> Despite last night’s ugly loss, the Brewers have had a successful start to the second half. They took two out of three in the first series after the second half from the first place Pirates by winning today, 4-1. The star of the show was Yovani Gallardo, who threw by far his best outing of the year today. He went seven innings while giving up one run on just four hits. Yo struck out a career-high 14 hitters and, to make it even more impressive, didn’t allow a walk. He lowered his ERA to 3.59, and, like I said after his last start, his numbers are starting to look more Yovani-like.

There wasn’t much offense today. The Pirates got one run, and you can probably guess who it came from- the extremely hot-hitting Andrew McCutchen. He hit a solo shot off Gallardo in the fourth inning to give the Bucs a 1-0 lead.

Up until the sixth inning, Pirates starter A.J. Burnett appeared to be on cruise control, like he has been so many times this year. But, the Brewers finally got to him in the sixth. Nyjer Morgan singled to lead off the inning, and Ryan Braun followed that up with a single to right field. Morgan tried to advance to third on Braun’s hit, and it appeared he would have gotten there anyway. But right fielder Garrett Jones decided to try and test Morgan’s speed, only to airmail into left field. Morgan ended up scoring on the play to tie the game, and Braun advanced to third base. Aramis Ramirez promptly drove in Braun with a single to give the Brewers a 2-1 lead. After Corey Hart struck out, Rickie Weeks hit an RBI double through the legs of third baseman Pedro Alvarez (it was originally scored as an error but was changed later). Martin Maldonado then put the icing on the cake with an RBI double to give the Brewers their fourth and final run.

After Gallardo left the game, it was up to the bullpen to preserve his stellar start, something they were unable to do for Marco Estrada and his 11 K’s last night. But Francisco Rodriguez came in and tossed a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts, and John Axford picked up his 16th save of the season.

> Even though the Pirates lost this series, I have to give them a lot of credit for how far they’ve come this year. McCutchen is hitting a Major League-leading .371 after going 3-for-4 today (two of the four hits Gallardo gave up were by him). Coming into today, Burnett had gone 9-0 over his last twelve starts, which makes it impressive that the Brewers were able to snap that streak. James McDonald is also having a great year and is developing into the ace everyone thought he would be (though the Brewers knocked him around in the first game of the series). So the Pirates have definitely put all the pieces together up to this point in the season.

They were having a similar story up until the All-Star break last year, which led to a second-half collapse. But something about them feels different this year. I don’t think they’ve playing over their heads right now; I think they’re legit for the first time since 1992.

> This series aside, the Brewers crucial stretch continues. They start a three-game set with the Cardinals at Miller Park tomorrow. Here are what the pitching matchups look like:

Lance Lynn (11-4, 3.41) vs. Michael Fiers (3-3, 2.31 ERA)

Joe Kelly (1-1, 2.70 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (2-6, 5.80 ERA)

Adam Wainwright (7-9, 4.62 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.57 ERA)

So it’ll be Lynn vs. Fiers tomorrow. Fiers was hot entering the All-Star break, and tomorrow is his first career start against the Cards. We’ll see if he has better luck than the most of the other Brewers’ starters against the Cardinals. It’s a good thing Gallardo started in this series, because he’s 1-9 with a 7.07 ERA in his career against the Cardinals, including a 23.60 ERA in two starts this year (imagine his overall ERA without those two disasters). Wolf is on and off against them. Greinke has a 0.69 ERA in two starts against the Cards this year. But the starter who has the most success against the Cardinals is out for the year- Chris Narveson has a career ERA below 2.00 against them.

Anyway, I think Fiers will throw fine, because against the teams I’ve expected him to have trouble against, he’s done well (i.e. Dodgers, White Sox, Diamondbacks, Marlins, etc.).

> And that’s about it. Thanks for reading.


Kotsay gets walk-off single in ninth as Brewers roll

August 17, 2011

9:50p The Brewers seem to find new ways to win every day nowadays, and today was no different.

Dodgers-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Dodgers again today, 2-1, to continue their winning streak, which now stands at five. The final blow came on Mark Kotsay’s walk-off single in the ninth inning off Dodgers reliever Mike MacDougal, who was struggling with his command throughout the inning, but I’ll get to that later.

The Dodgers actually struck first in the second inning against Yovani Gallardo when Aaron Miles hit a RBI single to drive in Matt Kemp. Gallardo struggled with his command early before settling in, but that was the only run he would give up. He ended up going eight innings while giving up a run on four hits. He struck out nine and walked one. This performance was uncharacteristic of Gallardo against the Dodgers, who came into today with an 0-3 record with a 10.80 ERA against them in his career. He didn’t pick up the win, unfortunately, settling for a no-decision, but that ERA probably took a large drop.

Anyway, the Brewers countered right away in the bottom of the second on Corey Hart’s RBI groundout. The game would become a pitchers’ duel and stay tied until the ninth inning.

Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley also had a good start (not as good as Gallardo’s, but still good). He went seven innings while giving up a run on four hits. He struck out five and walked two.

Following Billingsley’s good outing, however, would be a bullpen meltdown for the Dodgers. They brought in Hong-Chih Kuo, a lefty, to face Prince Fielder leading off the inning. He promptly walked Fielder, which made Dodgers manager Don Mattingly go right back to his bullpen. This time, he brought out the right-handed MacDougal, who didn’t fare much better. He gave up a hit to Casey McGehee, then walked Yuniesky Betancourt to load the bases with no outs. That set the stage for Kotsay’s second walk-off single of the year.

Kotsay comes through in the clutch again

At times throughout the year, I’ve been extremely frustrated with Kotsay. A lot of times, he falters with guys on base by striking out, hitting an easy grounder, etc., but that all seems to change whenever he bats under pressure in the ninth. Kostay already had a walk-off against Francisco Cordero and the Reds earlier this year, and a game-tying single against Cordero and the Reds as well.

Brewers winning without many runs

Over the past four games, the Brewers have scored a total of eight runs. And yet they’re 4-0 in those games. Any other year before this, they would probably have been 0-4, but, this year, the pitching is good enough to bail out the Brewers even when there’s a lack of offense.

The Brewers have also hit only three home runs over the past four games, and all three of them came last night. So that goes to show that the Brewers don’t need the long ball to win, either.

Brewers extend division lead to seven

To go along with a Brewers win tonight, the Cardinals conveniantly lost in Pittsburgh. Garrett Jones hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning off newly signed Arthur Rhodes, who has been a bust with both the Rangers and Cardinals this year. The game actually wouldn’t have even had to go to extra innings, had Fernando Salas not given up a game-tying homer to Neil Walker in the ninth. But, I guess that’s what the Cardinals get for not upgrading the back end of their bullpen at the Trade Deadline, despite the fact that was their biggest need. (And no, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, and Arthur Rhodes don’t count as the “back end.”)

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series win against the Dodgers tomorrow and will send Zack Greinke (11-4, 4.08 ERA) to the mound. Greinke is on a roll since the All-Star break, and is 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA since then. He has a 5.40 ERA in five innings for his career against the Dodgers, so I don’t really know what to make of that.

The Dodgers will counter with rookie starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.64 ERA), who will be making his third Major League start. He shut out the Astros for six innings his last time out, but the Brewers will obviously be much more of a challenge. I still don’t know much about Eovaldi, so I guess we’ll have to see how he does tomorrow.


Morgan, Brewers find way to win against Pirates

August 14, 2011

4:38p At this point, the Pirates might as well stop trying when they’re at Miller Park.

Pirates-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers, despite being shut out for the first seven innings of the game, found yet another way to take out the Pirates, with the final score being 2-1. The final blow was Nyjer Morgan’s sacrifice fly in the 10th inning, which kept the Brewers undefeated (8-0) against the Pirates this season.

The Pirates actually got on the scoreboard first, as the jumped on Brewers starter Shaun Marcum early. He was hanging a few pitches early on, and Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen took advantage of that by hitting back-back doubles in the first inning.

After that, however, Marcum was lights out. He ended up going 7 2/3 innings, his second longest outing of the season, while giving up one run on five hits. He walked two and struck out five. Unfortunately, the Brewers offense didn’t arrive in time, and Marcum had to settle for his third consecutive no-decision. But, he kept the Brewers in the game, and that would prove big, because of the Pirates starter on the other side.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton pretty much knocked out the Brewers for the first seven innings. He ended up going 7 1/3 innings while giving up a run on four hits. He walked two and struck out five. But, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle made a decision that pretty much cost him the game in the eighth inning. With a runner on second, Hurdle pulled Morton for reliever Jose Veras. Veras came in and got the second out of the eighth, but then Hurdle made another change to bring in his All-Star closer, Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan came in and did his job: he struck out Nyjer Morgan to end the inning. Or, that’s what should have happened.

Hanrahan’s pitch to Morgan was a slider in the dirt, and Morgan swung over it. But, catcher Michael McKenry couldn’t handle it, and bounced away from him. Morgan ended up reaching first, and Jonathan Lucroy, who was on second, advanced to third. That set the stage for Ryan Braun.

Braun tied the game with a RBI single back up the middle, and, from there, the Pirates knew that it was happening all over again.

Hanrahan got out of that inning, then pitched a scoreless ninth. He handed the ball over to Chris Resop for the 10th inning, and he would be the victim of the Brewers walk-off.

George Kottaras hit a one-out single in the 10th, and Casey McGehee followed with a double to put runners on second and third. That set the stage for Morgan’s walk-off sacrifice fly.

Miller Park continues to be house of horrors for Pirates

If I were the Pirates, I would never want to come to Milwaukee. Since the beginning of 2007, the Pirates are 3-36 against the Brewers at Miller Park, which includes an 0-6 mark this year. Obviously, it’s a mental thing for them at this point, but that’s their problem if they can’t get over it.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers start a three-game set at home against the Dodgers tomorrow. Randy Wolf (9-8, 3.48 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and is coming off a great outing in St. Louis his last time out. He gave up one run in eight innings against the Cardinals. Wolf, the former Dodger, is 3-4 with a 3.66 ERA against his former team. He has already taken a loss against the Dodgers earlier this year.

The Dodgers will counter with the former Cub, Ted Lilly (7-12, 4.71 ERA). Lilly is having somewhat of a down season, as his record and ERA show, but he’s doing well in August. Lilly is 5-2 with a 3.54 ERA against the Brewers in his career, most of those numbers from his days with the Cubs.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 7 2

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Felipe Lopez, 3B 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .210
b-Casey McGehee, PH-3B 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 .239
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 0 1 1 2 0 .317
Ryan Braun, LF 3 0 2 1 1 1 0 .326
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 0 0 0 0 0 5 .305
Mark Kotsay, RF 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 .258
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 .270
Craig Counsell, 2B 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 .151
Jonathan Lucroy, C 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 .285
1-Jerry Hairston, PR 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 .255
c-Corey Hart, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .272
Shaun Marcum, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .156
a-Josh Wilson, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .266
George Kottaras, C 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 .232
Total 33 2 7 2 2 8 9

a-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Hawkins in the 8th.

b-Flied out for Lopez in the 8th.

c-Flied out for Saito in the 10th.

1-Ran for Lucroy in the 8th.

BATTING

2B: McGehee (19).

RBI: Braun (77), Morgan (28).

Team RISP: 1-for-6.

Team LOB: 7.

BASERUNNING

CS: Betancourt (4).

FIELDING

E: Fielder (12), McGehee (16).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Shaun Marcum 7.2 5 1 1 2 5 0 3.50
LaTroy Hawkins 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.67
John Axford 1.0 1 0 0 0 3 0 2.40
Takashi Saito (W, 3-1) 1.0 0 0 0 2 1 0 2.35

Pitches-strikes: Marcum 116-76, Hawkins 1-1, Axford 22-14, Saito 23-11.

Groundouts-flyouts: Marcum 7-8, Hawkins 1-0, Axford 1-0, Saito 3-0.

Batters faced: Marcum 30, Hawkins 1, Axford 5, Saito 6.

Inherited runners-scored: Hawkins 2-0.


Despite lack of offense, Estrada, bullpen shut down Bucs

August 14, 2011

6:24p This game pretty much proved that it just isn’t possible for the Pirates to beat the Brewers, especially in Milwaukee.

Pirates-Brewers Wrap-Up

A second inning home run by Yuniesky Betancourt was all the Brewers pitching staff needed in a 1-0 win over the Pirates. Starter Marco Estrada held down the Bucs for five innings, in which he gave up no runs and one hit. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out five. Oddly enough, manager Ron Roenicke pulled him in the bottom of the fifth inning for a pinch-hitter, but that pinch-hitter was Zack Greinke, and all he did was a lay down a sacrifice bunt. But, Roenicke’s decision played out, I assume, how he expected it to even before the game started, because the bullpen shut out the Pirates for the remaining four innings.

Pirates starter Kevin Correia was actually pretty good, considering how many baserunners he allowed. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up a run on seven hits. He walked three and struck out three. Correia could have been hit much harder, but the Brewers uncharacteristically struggled with runners in scoring position at home today. They left 10 guys on against Correia, which spared his already high ERA. But, coming into today, Correia was 10-2 on the road. He is now 10-3 with two of the three losses coming at Miller Park.

Anyway, back to the Brewers bullpen. Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins, and Francisco Rodriguez combined for three shutout innings during which they only gave up one hit (the hit given up by Rodriguez). That set the stage for John Axford, who, as usual, made the ninth somewhat interesting.

Axford gave up a triple leading off the inning to Xavier Paul, and, from there, I was thinking that Axford’s save streak was over. But, with the infield in, he induced to groundball outs and kept the runner at third. After walking Garrett Jones, he struck out Neil Walker to end the game and give the Brewers a 7-0 record against the Bucs this year.

Estrada is clearly a starter.

After seeing his performance today, I realized that Estrada is obviously better as a starter. He just wasn’t getting it done in the bullpen, and came into today having given up at least a run in three consecutive appearances out of the ‘pen. But, today, he was better than all of his appearances since the All-Star break combined.

Betancourt goes deep on 0-2 count

There’s actually a significance to this. We all know that Betancourt is a free-swinging guy, but this stat really shocked me. Betancourt’s home run today marked the first time in his career that he went deep on an 0-2 count. Yep- the first time in 257 at-bats that reached 0-2 in his career. That’s kind of a scary stat, if you think about it, no matter how free-swinging a guy is.

Injury update on Gomez

Injured center fielder Carlos Gomez has started his road back after fracturing his left clavicle in Arizona on July 20 while making a highlight reel catch. He ran sprints and threw from 90 feet for the first time since the injury and is going to start hitting sometime next week. There is still no timetable for Gomez’s return, however.

Before his injury, Gomez in a center field platoon with Nyjer Morgan. Gomez typically got starts against left-handed pitching, while Morgan usually got the starts against right handers.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for yet another sweep of the Pirates tomorrow. They’ll send Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.62 ERA) to the mound. He received a no-decision against the Cardinals his last time out. Marcum has one career start against the Pirates, and that was back on April 13th, when he shut them out for seven innings.

The Pirates will counter with the resurging Charlie Morton (9-6, 3.56 ERA), who currently has a 17 inning scoreless streak going, which includes eight shutout innings of the Giants his last time out. Morton is 0-4 with an 8.31 ERA against the Brewers in his career, but he is a completely changed pitcher this year. If you don’t know his story, then read below. It’s actually sort of cool.

Morton had a horrible 2010 campaign- he went 2-12 with a 7.57 ERA. So, in the offseason, he decided to completely reinvent himself as a pitcher, and changed his arm slot to more of a 3/4 delivery, rather than the overhand motion he used to use. In fact, he pretty much copied the mechanics of Phillies’ ace Roy Halladay. If you watch the two pitchers’ mechanics side by side, it’s pretty tough to find any differences in them. The results, obviously, aren’t as good as Halladay’s, but Morton is having a far better season than he did last year.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs are currently leading the Braves, 1-0, in the bottom of the third. That probably won’t last long, though. Especially if another Cubs player decides he wants to retire in the middle of a game. Anyway, the Cubs are 17.5 games back right now.
  • The Reds are beating the Padres, 4-0, in the bottom of the third as well. They are 10.5 games back, and have passed the Pirates to take third place in the division; at least for now.
  • The Cardinals are losing to the Rockies, 3-0, in a game that’s about to go into the fourth inning. The Cards are currently 4.5 games back, and I can’t tell you how huge that would be for the Brewers if they lose today.
  • The Astros and Dodgers start later tonight at 9:10. But really… Does anybody care what the Astros do at this point? That 38-81 mark pretty much defines how their season is going to end.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Milwaukee Brewers 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 8 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 3 0 1 0 1 0 2 .273
Nyjer Morgan, CF 4 0 1 0 0 1 3 .320
Ryan Braun, LF 3 0 1 0 1 1 3 .323
Prince Fielder, 1B 3 0 1 0 1 0 2 .308
Casey McGehee, 3B 4 0 1 0 0 2 4 .238
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 3 1 1 1 1 0 1 .270
Jerry Hairston, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 .255
Jonathan Lucroy, C 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 .284
Marco Estrada, P 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .300
a-Zack Greinke, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .194
b-Felipe Lopez, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .215
Total 30 1 8 1 4 5 20

a-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Estrada in the 5th.

b-Grounded out for Hawkins in the 7th.

BATTING

2B: Estrada (1).

HR: Betancourt (9).

RBI: Betancourt (51).

Team RISP: 1-for-10.

Team LOB: 10.

BASERUNNING

SB: Braun (22).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Marco Estrada (W, 3-7) 5.0 1 0 0 0 5 0 4.46
Takashi Saito (H, 7) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2.51
LaTroy Hawkins (H, 18) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.69
Francisco Rodriguez (H, 8) 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 2.89
John Axford (S, 34) 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 2.44

Pitches-strikes: Estrada 64-44, Saito 10-8, Hawkins 11-7, Rodriguez 14-12, Axford 21-13.

Groundouts-flyouts: Estrada 6-2, Saito 1-1, Hawkins 1-1, Rodriguez 0-1, Axford 2-0.

Batters faced: Estrada 16, Saito 3, Hawkins 3, Rodriguez 4, Axford 5.