Brewers’ bullpen holds serve until extra inning W

July 9, 2012

> I missed most of today’s game, but something rare took place, apparently: the Brewers’ bullpen didn’t give up a run. *gasp*

> The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 5-3, in ten innings. The offense had another relatively slow day, but it was just enough to squeak past the Astros. The Brewers’ bullpen was also stellar, holding the ‘Stros down to give the Brewers a win in their last game before the All-Star break.

Zack Greinke was starting his second consecutive game, and it didn’t go very well. If you recall yesterday, he was ejected in the first inning after four pitches for spiking the ball at the ground. So he was able to come back and start again today, but went just three innings while giving up three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out five. Greinke’s bright spot was that he struck out the side in third inning, but other than that, he wasn’t very sharp. Ron Roenicke had already announced prior to the game that Greinke wouldn’t go very deep, and that he wanted to get Marco Estrada, the original scheduled starter, his share of work in.

All of the Astros runs came in the first inning. Jordan Schafer led off the game with a single, and Jose Altuve drove him in with a double. One batter later, J.D. Martinez hit an RBI single. Then, Greinke had a temporary lapse of command. After striking out Jed Lowrie and giving up a single to Chris Johnson, Greinke walked Brian Bogusevic to load the bases, then served up a bases-loaded walk to Chris Snyder. He struck out the pitcher, Jordan Lyles, to end the inning, but the damage had been done, and it was obvious Greinke was still shaken up about yesterday.

The Brewers answered in the second inning on Rickie Weeks’ solo home run, but didn’t score again until Aramis Ramirez’s RBI single in the sixth.

The next threat came in the eighth inning. Astros reliever Wesley Wright walked Norichika Aoki to start the inning. After Nyjer Morgan moved him over with a sacrifice bunt, Ryan Braun once again came through in the clutch and hit a game-tying RBI single. Braun then stole both second and third base, but Corey Hart killed the rally.

Neither squad scored in the ninth, so the game was sent to extras, which has been quite the theme for the Brewers this year. The Astros put in struggling reliever Fernando Rodriguez for the tenth, and he walked Morgan to start the inning. Morgan then stole second, which prompted the Astros to intentionally walk Braun. Then, with Ramirez batting, Rodriguez threw a wild pitch (apparently the last name Rodriguez automatically makes you an erratic reliever), and both runners advanced. So Rodriguez was gifted with another open base, and naturally walked Ramirez. Hart then made up for his rally-kill in the eighth by hitting a go-ahead RBI single. Weeks followed that up with another RBI single. Unfortunately, Rodriguez found his stuff and struck out the side from there, preventing the Brewers from putting up a big inning.

John Axford was on for the save in the bottom of the inning, and we all know how he’s pitched lately. It looked like we were in for another blown save when he gave up back-to-back singles to Snyder and Matt Dominguez. But, after Schafer moved both runners on a sacrifice bunt, Ax came back to strike out Altuve and Scott Moore to end the game and earn hi 15th save of the year.

> As I’ve kept saying, the Brewers bullpen was outstanding today. Until Axford gave up the singles in the tenth, the Astros hadn’t gotten a hit since the second inning when Greinke was still in. Estrada did indeed get his work in, tossing three near perfect innings, blemished by one walk while striking out three. Jose Veras, Francisco Rodriguez, and Manny Parra each threw perfect innings of their own as well.

I’m not going to get too excited about this, because it is the Astros. But this is a good sign and should be a confidence-builder for the Brewers’ struggling bullpen.

> Don’t look now, Jayson Stark, but Weeks is legitimately starting to get hot. He went 3-for-5 today with two RBIs, yet his average is still at an excruciating .199. Guess he’ll have to wait until after the All-Star break to bring it over the .200 barrier.

> Greinke already sort of made history today, being just the second pitcher this season to start consecutive games (C.J. Wilson of the Angels being the other). But now he’s got a chance to do something a pitcher hasn’t done since 1917: start three start games. Greinke is scheduled to start the first game after the All-Star break (which has been changed to four days this year), and that would count as three consecutive.

If he only he were starting the All-Star Game too.

> And that’s about it. After the ASG, the Brewers face a crucial stretch of division opponents in the Pirates, Cardinals, and Reds. This could decide the fate of their season, and whether or not they can get back in contention. Let’s hope for the best.

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

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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.

Fielder helps Brewers past depleted Astros

July 31, 2011

4:06p To be honest, I’m surprised the Astros put up that much of a fight without their two star players.

Astros-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 5-4, to complete their sweep of Houston and keep their winning streak going, which now stands at six. The Astros put up a good fight in the late innings, but they couldn’t pull it off, and having lost two of their best players didn’t help. They traded Hunter Pence to the Phillies two days ago, then traded Michael Bourn to the Braves earlier this morning.

Anyway, the Brewers got to Astros starter Brett Myers early when Yuniesky Betancourt hit an RBI double in the second inning. Then, later in the inning, Jonathan Lucroy laid down a squeeze bunt to score Betancourt from third (he had advanced on an error after his double).

But, trouble came for the Brewers in the fourth inning. Chris Narveson, who had retired the first nine batters he faced, gave up a double and a walk start the fourth inning. Then, ex-Brewers Jason Bourgeois hit a three-run shot to give the Astros a 3-2 lead. The Brewers would tie it, however, in the bottom of the inning on Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI double.

The Brewers then retook the lead in the sixth inning when Yuniesky Betancourt drove in Ryan Braun on a fielder’s choice.

But, in the eighth, the bullpen blew yet another lead. After allowing a double steal, Francisco Rodriguez threw a wild pitch by Lucroy to tie the game, 4-4. K-Rod then struck out J.D. Martinez the pitch after to end the inning.

Then, in the bottom half of the inning, Astros reliever Fernando Rodriguez gave up a lead-off double to Braun. The next batter was Prince Fielder, who was expected to be intentionally walked, since there was a base open. But, for some reason, Rodriguez pitched to him, and Fielder hit a go-ahead single, which gave the Brewers a 5-4 lead that the would not relinquish.

John Axford came in and recorded a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 31st save of the year.

Narveson had a decent start, but didn’t get the win because of K-Rod’s wild pitch. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up three runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out four.

Myers also had a solid start, but he didn’t factor in the decision either. He went six innings while giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits. He walked none and struck out six.

Counsell extends franchise long slump

Craig Counsell was in the starting lineup today at third base to give Casey McGehee a day off. Instead of ending his career-high slump at 0-for-41, he extended it to 0-for-44, which is a new franchise record for the Brewers. The previous one was held by former Brewers pitcher Doug Davis. If you ever saw Davis attempt to swing a bat, you’d see why this is pretty embarrassing for Counsell.

Anyway, Ron Roenicke said he put Counsell in the lineup because of his defense, and that paid off. In the fifth inning, Myers attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but Counsell had it played perfectly. Since there were men on first and second, Counsell threw to Betancourt covering third, who then threw to first to finish a great double play.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers start an extremely important series with the Cardinals tomorrow. Zack Greinke (8-4, 4.50 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and is coming off his best start of the year, when he shut out the Cubs for 6 2/3 innings. He already has a win against the Cards this year, when he threw seven innings of three-run ball. Greinke is 4-2 with a 4.10 ERA in his career against the Cardinals.

Chris Carpenter (6-7, 3.68 ERA) will go for the Cardinals. He hasn’t exactly had success against the Brewers in his career, going 4-4 with a 5.24 ERA against them.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs and Cardinals will play at 7:05 p.m. CT tonight. They are currently two games back and 17 games back, respectively.
  • The Reds crushed the Giants, 9-0. They are still 6.5 games back.
  • The Pirates fell to the Phillies in 10 innings, 6-5. They are now 4.5 games back and keep falling in the standings.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston Astros 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 4 5 2
Milwaukee Brewers 0 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 X 5 11 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 4 0 3 0 0 1 0 .271
Mark Kotsay, CF 4 0 0 0 0 2 2 .242
Ryan Braun, LF 4 2 2 0 0 1 1 .322
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 1 3 1 0 1 0 .296
Felipe Lopez, 2B 3 1 1 0 0 0 3 .222
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 1 1 2 0 0 4 .255
Jonathan Lucroy, C 3 0 1 2 0 0 2 .285
Craig Counsell, 3B 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 .147
Chris Narveson, P 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 .154
a-Jerry Hairston, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .266
Total 32 5 11 5 0 8 13

a-Popped out for Saito in the 7th.

BATTING

2B: Betancourt (17), Lucroy (11), Braun (25).

RBI: Betancourt 2 (40), Lucroy 2 (43), Fielder (76).

Team RISP: 2-for-8.

Team LOB: 5.

BASERUNNING

CS: Hart (6).

FIELDING

DP: (Counsell-Betancourt-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Chris Narveson 6.2 4 3 3 3 4 1 4.39
Takashi Saito (H, 5) 0.1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2.53
Francisco Rodriguez (BS, 5) (W, 4-2) 1.0 1 1 1 1 1 0 3.20
John Axford (S, 31) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2.50

WP: Rodriguez.

Pitches-strikes: Narveson 86-59, Saito 12-6, Rodriguez 20-10, Axford 9-7.

Groundouts-flyouts: Narveson 9-4, Saito 0-0, Rodriguez 1-0, Axford 0-2.

Batters faced: Narveson 26, Saito 2, Rodriguez 5, Axford 3.

Inherited runners-scored: Saito 2-0.


Brewers continue win streak behind Gallardo’s great start

July 31, 2011

9:03p The Trade Deadline is tomorrow at 3:00 CT, and all Brewer fans are excited to see if Doug Melvin will make anymore trades before then. But, we have other things to be excited about at this point, such as a five-game winning streak that the Brewers are on right now.

Astros-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Astros again today, 6-2. Early on, the offense appeared to be nearly non-existent, as it has been the past few games. But, the Brewers got to Astros starter J.A. Happ in the middle innings to hand him his 13th loss. Yovani Gallardo, meanwhile, got his 12th win of the season, and looked like the ace he’s supposed to be for the Brewers.

The Brewers didn’t waste any time getting on the board first, as Corey Hart hit a lead-off opposite field homer to start the game. They also scored in the third on Nyjer Morgan’s RBI single, but wouldn’t get anything else until a breakout fifth inning. They got three in that inning, including a sacrifice fly from Casey McGehee and a two-run double from Jonathan Lucroy.

The Astros finally got on the board in the sixth on Angel Sanchez’s RBI single, but it was unearned towards Gallardo because of a Yuniesky Betancourt throwing error earlier in the inning.

The Brewers tacked on one more insurance run in the seventh inning on Prince Fielder’s monster 475-foot homer off of Astros reliever Aneury Rodriguez. The Astros also added another run from J.D. Martinez’s RBI double off a rusty Marco Estrada.

Gallardo continued his dominance of the Astros, going seven innings and giving up one run (none earned) on four hits. He walked none and struck out seven. Estrada and Kameron Loe finished off the game and gave him his 12th win of the season.

Happ continues to struggle for Astros

Happ had yet another bad start today, going just five innings and giving up five runs (two earned) on 10 hits. He walked none and struck out six. It was also his seventh consecutive start where he gave up at least five runs.

Hairston in Milwaukee, already on active roster

Jerry Hairston Jr., who was acquired in a trade with the Nationals earlier today, arrived in Milwaukee during the game with the Astros. He wasn’t available today, but is already on the active 25-man roster, so he’ll be available tomorrow.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers have already taken the series from the Astros, but have a chance to sweep them tomorrow. Chris Narveson (7-6, 4.41 ERA) will take the mound for the Crew and will look to give them their sixth consecutive win. Narveson has yet to get a win against the Astros, as he’s 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA in his career against them.

The Astros will counter with another starter who has really disappointed them this year in Brett Myers (3-11, 4.66 ERA). In his career, Myers is 5-4 with a 3.70 ERA against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals flat-out destroyed the Cubs, 13-5, despite the fact the Cubs got to an early 5-0 lead. They always find some way to lose, though… Anyway, the Cards are 1.5 games back, while the Cubs are 16.5 back.
  • The Pirates lost to the Phillies, 7-4. (It was Hunter Pence’s Phils debut, by the way, but he didn’t do anything). The Pirates are now 3.5 games back and continue to fall in the standings.
  • The Reds defeated the Giants, 7-2. They remain 6.5 games back.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston Astros 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 6 2
Milwaukee Brewers 1 0 1 0 3 0 1 0 X 6 13 1

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 5 1 4 1 0 0 0 .265
Nyjer Morgan, CF 5 0 1 1 0 1 4 .323
Ryan Braun, LF 4 1 0 0 0 2 2 .320
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 2 3 1 0 0 2 .291
Felipe Lopez, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 3 6 .219
Casey McGehee, 3B 3 0 0 1 0 1 3 .230
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 .255
Jonathan Lucroy, C 4 0 3 2 0 1 0 .285
Yovani Gallardo, P 3 1 1 0 0 0 1 .245
a-Mark Kotsay, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .247
Total 37 6 13 6 0 9 19

a-Grounded out for Estrada in the 8th.

BATTING

2B: Gallardo (3), Lucroy (10).

HR: Hart (14), Fielder (24).

RBI: Hart (34), Morgan (24), McGehee (43), Lucroy 2 (41), Fielder (75).

Team RISP: 4-for-11.

Team LOB: 8.

FIELDING

E: Betancourt (13, throw).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Yovani Gallardo (W, 12-7) 7.0 4 1 0 0 7 0 3.69
Marco Estrada 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 0 4.57
Kameron Loe 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4.32

Pitches-strikes: Gallardo 111-78, Estrada 27-16, Loe 22-13.

Groundouts-flyouts: Gallardo 6-5, Estrada 0-2, Loe 3-0.

Batters faced: Gallardo 25, Estrada 5, Loe 4.