Gallardo stellar as Brewers hammer Kennedy

May 26, 2012

> Wait a second.

The Brewers have won two games in a row?

Ron Roenicke let a pitcher go into the eighth inning?

The Brewers crushed their opposing team’s ace?

> Yep, all of those things happened in the Brewers 7-1 win over the Diamondbacks, another thought-to-be contender who have been slow out of the gates. It was the Brewers’ second consecutive win, after beating the Giants the day before yesterday in the finale of that series. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s the first time the Brewers have won consecutive games since the beat the Cubs twice in a row in mid-May. Then, there was Yovani Gallardo, who was absolutely dominant last night. He went 7 1/3 innings while giving up a run on five hits. He walked three and struck out five, and lowered his ERA from 4.62 to a much more respectable 4.19. Gallardo was at just 92 pitches through seven innings, but, knowing Roenicke, I was sure that he was done. But Ron did something he’s only done one other time this year: let a pitcher throw in the eighth. Gallardo only got on out in the eighth, getting removed in favor of Francisco Rodriguez. But hopefully this a sign Roenicke is learning, as a manager, to have confidence in his starter. Prior to last night, the only other time a Brewers pitcher went into the eighth this year was when Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings against the Reds.

But onto the offense, which was hot last night. The Brewers got on the board in the second inning on a Rickie Weeks solo home run. Even though he was only hitting .150, you could just tell he wanted to hit one in Arizona to make their fans mad. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think back to the home run derby last year.)

In the fourth, Ryan Braun hammered an opposite field, two-run home run to make the score 3-0. Yesterday was Braun’s fifth anniversary of his Major League debut, so it was only fitting that he would go yard. Later in the inning, Cesar Izturis hit an RBI single. But something would happen to him later in the game, which I’ll get to later. Anyway, in the bottom of the inning, Jason Kubel hit a mammoth home run to get the D-Backs on the board. But that was Gallardo’s only blemish of the night.

Then, in the eighth, Corey Hart hit a home run off of Brewer-killer Josh Collmenter, who has struggled a lot this season. But those were the first regular season runs that the Brewers scored off Collmenter. They did get one off him in the NLDS last year, also coming on a Hart home run.

The Brewers got one more run in the ninth on a Travis Ishikawa sacrifice fly to close out their 7-1 victory.

I know I said earlier that the Brewers hammered the D-Backs’ ace. Well, Ian Kennedy is technically their ace, but hasn’t pitched like it this year. He gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings last night, and his ERA sits at 4.65. Not what you’d expect from a guy who won 21 games last year. But the Brewers did manage to beat him twice in the NLDS.

> Now for a disabled list update. I might as well just make these a daily thing, considering it feels like at least one Brewer gets sent to the DL every day. Izturis exited last night’s game in the sixth inning, reportedly with a strained left hamstring. As he was trying to score on a Hart single, he stepped on third funny, and just stopped in his tracks, despite the fact Ed Sedar was waving him home. Izturis was removed from the game, and Cody Ransom, who was just acquired from the D-Backs, took his place.

Losing Izturis isn’t a huge blow. In fact, the offense will probably improve without him in the lineup. But it’s unbelievable that the Brewers can have this bad of luck with injuries this year. If we lose another player or two, we might as well be the 2011 Twins.

Anyway, here’s some info on the new Brewer, Ransom. The Brewers got him off the waiver wire during their off-day, and sent down Edwin Maysonet to make room for him. We could see Ransom get a lot of playing time now with Izturis out, and I’m sort of excited to see what he can do. In his only at-bat last night, he got a single. I also heard he hit 27 home runs at Triple-A Reno, the D-Backs’ Triple-A affiliate, last year. So he could be an untapped source of power waiting to break out.

> Marco Estrada also went on the DL following the Brewers’ win over the Giants on Wednesday. He strained his right hamstring while rounding first base on a double, so you can add him to the thousands of players currently on the DL for the Brewers.

But now the Brewers need to find a replacement for the replacement (Estrada was already filling in for Chris Narveson, who is done for the season). The first possibility that would jump out at you is Manny Parra, a former starter now working in long relief. But the Brewers need to keep him in the ‘pen for long relief/left specialist, so it’s likely we’ll see a call-up from the Minors. The two most ready pitchers in Triple-A are Mike Fiers and Wily Peralta, both of whom have a bit of Major League experience. But neither of them are having years to remember- Fiers is 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA, and Peralta is 1-5 with a 5.62 ERA. Mark Rogers is also a possibility, although he’s 0-2 with a 5.29 ERA this year at Triple-A. But he put up a 1.80 ERA in a few starts at the end of 2010 for the Brewers.

If none of these guys work out, the Brewers could dig around at Double-A Huntsville, where Tyler Thornburg has been absolutely dominant. The hot prospect is 6-0 with a 2.28 ERA, but he would have to jump two levels, which is always a bit dangerous to do with a pitcher.

But we’ll have to wait and see what happens. I would love to see one of these Minor Leaguers get a chance.

> And that’s about it. The Brewersplay at 9:10 CT tonight, and will send their other ace to the mound in Greinke (5-1, 2.70 ERA). He’s 0-2 with a 6.12 ERA in his career against the D-Backs, but, with the hot streak he’s on, I think he can beat anybody. Greinke’s ERA in May so far is an astounding 1.33, so he’s hoping to finish the month strong.

The Diamondbacks will counter with rookie Wade Miley (5-1, 2.14 ERA). He made a few starts for them towards the end of 2011, but he came out of nowhere after starting this year in the bullpen, and is performing well. He has never faced the Brewers before.

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

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Recap of all major awards

November 23, 2011

> Yesterday, the NL MVP was handed out. This marked the last major award of the offseason. And I’m proud to say that, for the first time ever, I got all of my predictions right. Not that I agreed with all of them, but they were probably the most logical choice fore each award.

> Anyway, here are the top finishers for each award (courtesy of Baseball Reference):

AL MVP

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox

3. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

4. Curtis Granderson, Yankees

5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers

6. Robinson Cano, Yankees

7. Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

8. Michael Young, Rangers

9. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox

10. Evan Longoria, Rays

NL MVP

1. Ryan Braun, Brewers

2. Matt Kemp, Dodgers

3. Prince Fielder, Brewers

4. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks

5. Albert Pujols, Cardinals

6. Joey Votto, Reds

7. Lance Berkman, Cardinals

8. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

9. Roy Halladay, Phillies

10. Ryan Howard Phillies

AL Cy Young Award

1. Justin Verlander, Tigers

2. Jered Weaver, Angels

3. James Shields, Rays

4. CC Sabathia, Yankees

5. Jose Valverde, Tigers

6. C.J. Wilson, Rangers

7. Dan Haren, Angels

8. Mariano Rivera, Yankees

9. Josh Beckett, Red Sox

10. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays

NL Cy Young Award

1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

2. Roy Halladay, Phillies

3. Cliff Lee, Phillies

4. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks

5. Cole Hamels, Phillies

6. Tim Lincecum, Giants

7. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers

8. Matt Cain, Giants

9. John Axford, Brewers

9. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

AL Rookie of the Year

1. Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

2. Mark Trumbo, Angels

3. Eric Hosmer, Royals

4. Ivan Nova, Yankees

5. Michael Pineda, Mariners

6. Dustin Ackley, Mariners

7. Desmond Jennings, Rays

7. Jordan Walden, Angels

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

2. Freddie Freeman, Braves

3. Vance Worley, Phillies

4. Wilson Ramos, Nationals

5. Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks

6. Danny Espinosa, Nationals

7. Darwin Barney, Cubs

7. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

AL Manager of the Year

1. Joe Maddon, Rays

2. Jim Leyland, Tigers

3. Ron Washington, Rangers

4. Manny Acta, Indians

5. Joe Girardi, Yankees

6. Mike Scioscia, Angels

NL Manager of the Year

1. Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

2. Ron Roenicke, Brewers

3. Tony La Russa, Cardinals

4. Charlie Manuel, Phillies

5. Fredi Gonzalez, Braves

6. Bruce Bochy, Giants

6. Clint Hurdle, Pirates

8. Terry Collins, Mets

8. Don Mattingly, Dodgers

> Most of them seemed deserving enough. Although I was surprised to see Longoria even on the AL MVP ballot.

> Anyway, onto some Brewers news. They’ve offered arbitration to free agents Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez. Assuming both decline it (which they probably both will), the Brewers will get four premium picks in next year’s First-Year Player Draft.

> Which brings me to my next point. I didn’t pay much attention to the small print of the labor agreement reached between MLB and the players’ union because I was celebrating Braun’s MVP award, but apparently this new agreement is creating a salary cap on how much teams can pay players to sign with them after being drafted. This will probably effect how some teams draft for the next five years, especially teams that rely on the draft in order to contend, such as the Rays.

But hey, it’s what we’ve grown to expect from Bud Selig.

> The biggest news of today was the Indians bringing back the injury-prone Grady Sizemore on a one-year deal worth around $5 million. I guess they aren’t giving up on the center fielder yet, despite the fact he’s had five different surgeries over the past three years, and has averaged below 100 games played per season during that span.

> Bruce Chen has decided to go back to the Royals for the third straight year, but this time signed a two-year deal. Chen really came out of nowhere as a solid pitcher for the Royals in 2010, and had an even better 2011. But I’m surprised Chen’s “chencision” was to return to the Royals instead of play for a contending team. (In case you haven’t noticed, I occasionally use @TrippingOlney jokes on here.)

> Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts. I’ll update again if any other big news comes out tonight.


A few predictions for the MLB awards…

November 6, 2011

> It’s been an extremely slow day for me in nearly every aspect. Close to no new baseball news, BreakingWI not getting any views (but I’m pretty used to that by now), and just not much to do. This is why I hate when baseball season ends.

> Anyhow, before I get into my main topic, here’s the Hot Stove news from this slow day:

> It appears Dan Duquette is close to becoming the Orioles’ GM. I talked last night about how it seemed like nobody wanted to fill the O’s GM vacancy, but, sure enough, someone takes it after I say that.

Anyway, Duquette has prior experience as a general manager with the Expos (1991-1994) and the Red Sox (1994-2002). Apparently he’s known for attracting fans to both of those teams during his time with them, but I don’t know how that will translate in Baltimore, who haven’t experienced as much as a winning season since 1997.

But I would like to see someone get that team turned around sometime in the near future. I, along with every other true baseball fan, am sick of the Sox and Yankees dominating the AL East due to high payrolls. But that’s what the Rays are there for, I guess…

> The Cubs managerial search is starting with Pete Mackanin, who has already met with the Red Sox as well. Mackanin serving as the Phillies hitting coach right now, but sounds open to leave for a managerial job. Anyway, the Cubs are also going to talk to Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux- the Brewers’ old pitching coach.

So that’s really all the Hot Stove news for the day. As I said earlier, it’s been a slow and rather boring day…

> Because I really have nothing else to write about, I’ve decided to show you guys my predictions for who’s going to win each award, and the reason why I want them to win. So, I’ll start with the MVPs from each league.

NL MVP: Ryan Braun, Brewers

That’s a given. If you’re a Brewers fan, odds are you want Braun or Prince Fielder to win. And either of them would be deserving- Braun hit .332 with 33 home runs and 111 RBIs, while Fielder hit .299 with 38 homers and 120 RBIs. But, if I had to choose between these two, I’d go with Braun, just because he’s the overall better player. Braun is a true five-tool player- he can hit for average and power, he’s fast, he can play defense (most of the time), and has a great arm. Oh, and he had a 30/30 season. Fielder, on the other hand, is what I would call a one-tool player- he hits for power, and that’s about it. He looked like an idiot defensively this year, can’t run, and, despite the fact he hit .299, he doesn’t normally hit for that high of an average. So, say what you like, but I think Braun is better, and I’m glad we have him signed through 2020 instead of Fielder (if I had to choose between which one I wanted signed that long).

I know there are people out there who want Matt Kemp of the Dodgers to win. And that’s a legitimate argument- he hit .324 with 39 homers and 41 steals, one homer away from the near-impossible 40/40 season. But, he plays for the Dodgers, which is going to not help him in the voting.

Anyway, that’s why Braun is my choice. Aside from Fielder and Kemp, his other competition is going to be Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks, but there’s nearly no chance of him winning.

AL MVP: Justin Verlander, Tigers

Yes- I’m choosing a pitcher as the MVP. But, so are many others, and it’s tough to argue with. Verlander had a career year, going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA. He also had 250 strikeouts, which won him the AL Triple Crown (an award given for leading the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts).

Another reason Verlander is a legitimate choice for MVP is that the Tigers would have been nowhere without him, and I mean nowhere. Try imagining their rotation without Verlander- Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Brad Penny, and Phil Coke. I didn’t even put Doug Fister in there because, with that rotation, they wouldn’t have even been in contention at the Trade Deadline, and wouldn’t have acquired him.

A few other contenders for the MVP in the AL are Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox), Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Curtis Granderson (Yankees), and Jose Bautista (Blue Jays). All of those guys had great seasons, but did any of them help their team as much as Verlander helped the Tigers?

NL Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Like Verlander in the AL, Kershaw won the NL Triple Crown, as he went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, along with 248 strikeouts. If you think that’s remarkable, add this to those stats- he’s only 23 years old.

And, he played for the Dodgers, who, other than Kemp, give close to no run support, so getting 21 wins with a team like that isn’t easy. But he was just one of those guys who, also like Verlander, appeared to be an automatic win every time he took the mound.

Some other competition for the NL CYA are Ian Kennedy (Diamondbacks), Roy Halladay (Phillies), and Cliff Lee (Phillies).

AL Cy Young Award: Verlander

I already explained what I could about Verlander in the AL MVP section, and winning the MVP as a pitcher pretty much locks up winning the CYA as well.

Jered Weaver (Angels), CC Sabathia (Yankees), C.J. Wilson (Rangers), and Ricky Romero (Blue Jays) are, in my opinion, Verlander’s best competition for the CYA.

NL Rookie of the Year: Craig Kimbrel, Braves

Kimbrel had a remarkable season in his first full year in the Majors, and had big shoes to fill, future Hall of Famer closer (at least in my opinion) Billy Wagner had just retired. But, Kimbrel put those expectation aside and broke the rookie saves record with 46. Yes, Neftali Feliz held it for all of one year.

Anyway, despite the fact he technically ended up costing the Braves their playoff chances, he still had a great season.

A few other good rookies in the NL were Freddie Freeman (Braves) and Josh Collmenter (Diamondbacks).

AL Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays

While Hellickson didn’t get much run support, as his 13-10 record shows, he still put up a 2.95 ERA and 189 innings pitched, both of which led rookie starting pitchers in the MLB. Not to mention he pitches in the AL East, arguably the toughest division to pitch in, and to put up those numbers as a rookie in that division is incredible.

Michael Pineda (Mariners), Eric Hosmer (Royals), and Mark Trumbo (Angels) are probably the best competition for the AL ROY.

NL Manager of the Year: Kirk Gibson, Diamondbacks

In his first full season as D-backs manager, Gibson completely turned this team around from an awful 2010 season in which his team won only 67 games. After a slow start, the stayed hot the rest of the season and beat out the 2010 World Champion Giants for the NL West division title. Of course, they would lose to the Brewers in the NLDS, but the fact that the even made the postseason this year was remarkable.

Ron Roenicke (Brewers) and Tony La Russa (Cardinals) both probably have a better chance at winning than Gibson, but I still think Gibson is deserving.

AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon, Rays

With a week left in the season, it didn’t look like the Rays would be going to the postseason. But, Maddon, who is arguably the most motivational manager out there, kept driving his team on, and the eventually passed the Red Sox for a playoff berth on the last day of the season.

Other candidates in the AL include Ron Washington (Rangers) and Jim Leyland (Tigers).

> Anyway, those are all of my predictions. Feel free to leave a comment saying if you agree or disagree with them (or you can post your own). These are purely from my opinion, and I don’t expect a couple of them to win. But I think they’re all deserving.


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…


Recap of the last two games…

July 21, 2011

7:46p Sorry for not getting up any recap posts for the last two Brewers-Diamondbacks games. The day before yesterday, I was hanging out with a friend I don’t get to see too often, so I had to make the most of that while I could, and that didn’t give me time to post. Then, last night, I just decided not to post because I was too tired after the game, and it was already nearly midnight. I guess that’s the only negative of these west coast games, because I hate trying to write a full-out blog post at midnight.

Anyway, I’ll just do a quick recap of the last two games right now. The Brewers lost the first one and won the second, so the four game series currently stands at 1-1.

The first game was nothing special, at least for the Brewers- they were shut out by the D-backs. Josh Collmenter tossed a gem, going eight scoreless innings while striking out seven and allowing just three hits. David Hernandez got the save, and both Hernandez and Collmenter continued their domination of the Brewers. Collmenter is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his career against the Brewers, and has a streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings against them. Hernandez, meanwhile, has recorded 1-2-3 saves in all of his opportunities against the Brewers, as far as I know. Randy Wolf had a decent start, going 7 1/3 while giving up three runs. He, along with the rest of the Brewers, made some extremely embarrassing errors that night. Wolf was trying to field a bunt and threw to second, but the throw instead nearly took off the second base ump’s head. Also, from my point of view, it nearly hit the guy running from first to second on the back.

Anyway, I figured out that the Brewers have been shut out in 31% of Wolf’s start. That explains why Wolf has a sub-.500 record, despite a decent 3.58 ERA, which is good enough for the second best in the Brewers’ rotation.

The second game was the complete opposite of the first for the Crew- the blew out the D-backs, 11-3, riding five homers. They crushed starter Barry Enright in the first inning, scoring five runs, including three homers by Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, and Rickie Weeks (all of them were moonshots that appeared to nearly hit the roof of Chase Field). Yuniesky Betancourt also added a homer off Enright in the third inning. Enright, who was making his first start since being recalled from the minors, was tagged with six runs, including four homers. All this offense covered up a solid start by Yovani Gallardo, who got his 11th win of the season.

Betancourt added another home run in the ninth inning, giving him the first multi-homer game of his career.

Anyway, that’s about it. The Brewer game tonight is starting soon, and I’m watching the Cardinals-Mets game right now. They’re currently tied, 4-4. And, the Pirates already lost today, meaning that if the Brewers can pull off a win tonight, we’ll be in first place all alone in the Central, no matter what the Cardinals do. So tonight is a must-win for the Brewers.


Brewers edge Rockies to split series

July 17, 2011

5:58p The Brewers didn’t win this series at Coors Field, but they didn’t lose it, either.

Brewers-Rockies Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Rockies today in a tight game, 4-3. They managed to split a road series at Coors Field, where they have the worst record of any visiting opponent at the Rockies’ home.

The struggling Aaron Cook was on the hill for the Rockies, and came into the day winless. The Brewers aimed to keep it that way, and they did. They got to Cook in the second inning, when Rickie Weeks led off with a double. He advanced on a George Kottaras groundout, then Casey McGehee drove him in with a sacrifice fly to give the Crew an early 1-0 lead.

The Rockies wouldn’t answer until the fourth, when Brewers starter Shaun Marcum got into a jam. After walking Dexter Fowler and Jason Giambi to lead off the inning, Marcum gave up a single to Seth Smith to drive in Fowler. Weeks nearly caught it at second, but it deflected off his glove, which allowed Fowler to score. Marcum would then strike out Ian Stewart and induce an Eliezer Alfonzo groundout to get out of the jam.

The Brewers, however, immediately answered in the fifth. Cook walked Prince Fielder with one out, then Weeks singled to put men on first and second. Kottaras then took advantage of a sinker that Cook left up in the zone and drove it to left field to score Fielder. Weeks, however, was thrown out at home trying to score a second run. McGehee then proceeded to drive in Kottaras with an RBI single. Reliever Matt Belisle, Cook’s replacement, finally ended the bleeding by inducing a Marcum flyout. Cook went just 4 2/3 innings while giving up three runs on eight hits. He walked three and struck out one. He would have given up more runs, but the Brewers left the bases loaded twice against him.

Mark Kotsay added an RBI single in the sixth to give the Brewers a 4-1 lead.

Marcum came back out for the sixth inning, but would not stay for long. He had made a highlight reel play the inning before to rob Fowler of a bunt single, but, while making the play, landed weird on his shoulder. When he came out for the sixth, he immediately gave up a mile-long homer to Giambi. Marcum was removed from the game after that to make sure he wouldn’t injure himself more, and it was later determined that he had a neck strain.

LaTroy Hawkins came in to finish the sixth, and got himself in and out of a jam.

Marcum’s line finished with 5+ innings pitched while giving up two runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out four.

Takashi Saito pitched a perfect seventh, and Francisco Rodriguez threw a scoreless eighth while working in and out of a jam.

Then, closer John Axford came in to try and keep his save streak alive. It didn’t look like he was going to at first, as he gave up an RBI double to Ty Wigginton to make it a 4-3 game. However, Axford would strike out Troy Tulowitzki to end the game.

McGehee has solid day at the plate

McGehee finally had one of his rare decent days at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. He brought his average up to .225. (Yes, you read that correctly- he brought it UP to .225.)

I’ve noted this in a few posts now, but McGehee is still in a season long slump that hasn’t really ended. He’s been doing slightly better lately, but it’s too late in the season for him to make a complete turn around. It looks he’ll be having the worst season of his career at this point.

Coors Field has “courteous” fans

Remember in the first game of this series when Fielder had to borrow a Rockies fan’s sunglasses because he couldn’t find his own? That was an example of the usually-kind Rockies fans at Coors Field.

Today was a different story. While Saito was pitching the seventh inning, a Rockies fan was supposedly yelling something directly at him as soon as he went into his delivery. This distracted Saito, so he repeatedly attempted to ask the umpires to do something about it. Only one issue- Saito can’t speak English.

It appeared Saito was trying to act out what was going on, but to no avail. He was starting to get booed after a while, and Saito’s translator finally ran out onto the field and must have gotten the umps to do something, because Saito finally started pitching without any distractions.

But, I’m not going to lie about this- Saito looked hilarious. While he was trying to act out what was going on, it looked like he was dancing and laughing, so I don’t blame the umps for not knowing what was going on. That’s the only down-side of Japanese pitchers in America: none of them know how to speak English.

Wilson > Betancourt

Josh Wilson has gotten the start at shortstop for the past two days, and let me say I’ve been extremely impressed with his defense for the most part. He’s making plays that Yuniesky Betancourt would never make, even if he tried (but he would never try anyway). Wilson’s offense has been better than Betancourt’s as well.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will open up a series with the Diamondbacks in Arizona tomorrow. Randy Wolf (6-6, 3.65 ERA) will take the hill for the Brewers. He got knocked around his last start against the D-backs, giving up seven runs in six innings. He is 10-4 with a 4.77 ERA against them in his career.

Josh Collmenter (4-5, 2.92 ERA) will go for the Diamondbacks. He shut out the Brewers for six innings in his only start against them, but was forced to settle for a n0-decision because his bullpen blew the game.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Reds defeated the Cardinals, 3-1. The Brewers now move ahead of the Cards in the division standings and are in first all alone.
  • The Pirates defeated the Astros, 7-5. The Pirates are just a half game back, while the Astros are an astounding 19.5 games back. Wow.
  • The Cubs lost to the Marlins, 7-5. They are 13 games back.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee Brewers 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 4 11 1
Colorado Rockies 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 7 3

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 4 1 1 0 1 0 2 .266
Nyjer Morgan, CF-LF 4 0 2 0 0 1 4 .335
Mark Kotsay, LF 4 0 1 1 0 1 3 .257
b- Carlos Gomez, PH- CF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .223
Prince Fielder, 1B 3 1 0 0 2 0 2 .299
Rickie Weeks, 2B 4 1 2 0 1 0 3 .277
George Kottaras, C 4 1 1 1 0 0 1 .226
c- Ryan Braun, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .315
Casey McGehee, 3B 3 0 2 2 0 1 0 .225
Josh Wilson, SS 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 .294
Shaun Marcum, P 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 .114
a- Jonathan Lucroy, PH-C 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .275
Total 36 4 11 4 4 3 21

a- Grounded into a forceout for Saito in the 8th.

b- Lined out for Kotsay in the 9th.

c- Grounded out for Rodriguez in the 9th.

BATTING
2B- Weeks (24), Kottaras (2), Wilson (5).

RBI- McGehee 2 (38), Kottaras (10), Kotsay (20).

Team RISP- 3-for-11.

Team LOB- 11.

FIELDING

E- Wilson (2, fielding).

Milwaukee Brewers

Pitcher IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Shaun Marcum (W, 8-3) 5.0 4 2 2 3 4 1 3.39
LaTroy Hawkins (H, 13) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.65
Takashi Saito (H, 3) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3.86
Francisco Rodriguez (H, 1) 1.0 1 0 0 1 2 0 3.02
John Axford (SV, 25) 1.0 1 1 0 1 2 0 2.84

Marcum pitched to 1 batter in the 6th.

Pitches-strikes: Marcum 82-48, Hawkins 18-12, Saito 15-9, Rodriguez 20-12, Axford 24-17.

Groundouts-flyouts: Marcum 4-4, Hawkins 2-1, Saito 0-1, Rodriguez 1-0, Axford 2-0.

Batters faced- Marcum 22, Hawkins 4, Saito 3, Rodriguez 5, Axford 6.


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.