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.

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Brewers beat Cordero again on Counsell’s sac fly

July 11, 2011

4:01p Well, we can thank Francisco Cordero for sending us into the All-Star Break on a good note. I can’t imagine he’s going to be the Reds’ closer for too much longer.

Reds-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Reds again today, 4-3, in yet another thriller. All of the games the Brewers won in this series were one-run games, including two walk-offs. The first was the day before yesterday by Mark Kotsay off of Cordero. Then, there was another one today. Cordero was in again, and this time, Kotsay tied up the game, but there was a new hero- Craig Counsell.

The game got off to a rocky start for both sides. Brewers starter Randy Wolf wasn’t getting much help from the umpires in the first inning. He started off the game by walking Drew Stubbs, but the pitch before could have gotten him the strikeout, had the umpires not been blind, which they were the entire first inning. Wolf would go on to walk Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce (he might have also struck out Bruce, but do I even need to say what happened?). Then, Wolf “hit” Scott Rolen with a cutter that ran inside. It did, in fact, hit Rolen, but he clearly swung at the pitch. The umpires, however, didn’t see it, and a run scored from third base. Jonny Gomes would ground out to finally end the inning.

Reds starter Dontrelle Willis, making his first Major League start in over a year, didn’t have the greatest of starts to the game, either. After Rickie Weeks led off with a double, Carlos Gomez bunted him over to third, which set up an RBI single for Corey Hart. Willis would walk Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee, but got out of it after a pop-out and a groundout.

The second inning was also rocky for both sides. Joey Votto hit an RBI single to drive in Zack Cozart, but that was all the Reds would do against Wolf in the second. In the Brewers’ half, Willis walked Weeks, then Gomez hit an RBI triple to tie the game at 2-2.

In the fourth, Weeks was trying to turn a double play, but the ball sailed past Fielder. Ramon Hernandez, who started the inning with a single, scored on the error. After that, there was no more scoring until yet another Brewer’ rally in the ninth.

Wolf exited after seven strong innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits. He walked four and struck out two. Willis, meanwhile, made a solid return to the Majors, going six innings while giving up two runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out four.

After Willis left the game, flamethrower Aroldis Chapman entered the game and fired two perfect innings, continuing his domination of the Brewers. He struck out four, including in the seventh inning, when he struck out the side.

Then, Cordero came in, and you can figure out what happened from there. But, I’ll tell you anyway.

After Cordero retired the first batter he faced in Yuniesky Betancourt, Nyjer Morgan stepped up, pinch-hitting for Josh Wilson. Morgan, who has turned himself into one of the most clutch players on the Brewers, singled, then stole second while George Kottaras was batting. Kottaras eventually drew a walk, then Kotsay, the hero from a few nights ago, stepped to the plate.

Kotsay wouldn’t win the game, but he did tie it with a single that scored Morgan. Cordero nearly caught Kotsay’s line drive, but it deflected off his glove. Then, the struggling Counsell stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded an one out. Coming into to today, Counsell’s career average with the bases loaded was .382. So, you can probably figure it out now.

It wasn’t a hit, but it was a sacrifice fly that scored Kottaras from third. That was enough, as the Brewers won 4-3, and defeated Cordero yet again.

“Coco’s gone loco”

Came up with that phrase myself, mind you.

But it’s true. Cordero has blown three consecutive saves in as many opportunities, including the two blown saves against the Brewers in this series. He had also blown one before this series in the Reds’ previous series with Cardinals, giving up a game-tying homer to Jon Jay in the ninth inning of what would have been a huge Cardinals comeback, had the Cards not lost it in extra innings.

Cordero didn’t look like himself all series. He was walking guys like crazy, his velocity was somewhat down, and couldn’t contain Kotsay, who beat him and tied the game to blow the saves for Cordero.

Loe seemingly doing better in less-pressured role

Kameron Loe came in the game today, so naturally, I started to think the Reds would extend their lead. Instead, he threw two perfect innings and struck out two. He also had to work around a lead-off walk in the eighth inning, courtesy of Zach Braddock, who came in to try and retire Bruce. Loe was rewarded with the win. I’m still no too thrilled with his seven losses, but three wins aren’t bad I guess.

Kotsay, Weeks establish themselves as Reds-killers

Kotsay and Weeks both had a great series. Kotsay, obviously, beat Cordero twice in the ninth inning, but Weeks really dominated the Reds as well. Weeks was already a Reds-killer before this series, but continued it this series. He had one homer, which was the inside-the-parker off Mike Leake in the second game of the series.

Braun sits again, won’t start All-Star Game

Well, I was scared it would come to this, and it did. Ryan Braun announced that he will not start the All-Star game and didn’t play in today’s game, either. It was his eighth consecutive missed game. To be honest, I’m surprised we got by this series with the Reds without our most consistent hitter. Not to mention it was the Reds, the team we struggle the most against.

Braun will be replaced by Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, which I wasn’t too thrilled about. Don’t get me wrong, I think McCutchen is a good player. But, when he saw that he didn’t make the All-Star team when the rosters were announced, he started complaining because he didn’t make it and thought he should have. I can’t stand guys who smart about stuff like that.

By the way, Cordero was also smarting because he didn’t make the All-Star game. That was a few days ago, when his ERA was 1.49. Now, hopefully he sees why he didn’t make it.

Up next for the Crew…

There’s your first half for the Brewers. When they come back from the break, they’ll start a four-game set against the Rockies. Yovani Gallardo (10-5, 3.76 ERA) will be the most likely starter for the opening game. Gallardo has had a rough career against the Rockies, going 0-3 with a 5.85 ERA.

The Rockies will counter with Ubaldo Jimenez (4-8, 4.14 ERA). Jimenez is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

The Brewers swept a three-game set with the Rockies earlier this season at Miller Park.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Astros lost to the Marlins, 5-4. They are 19 games out. And remember, if they reach 20, I’m just going to stop putting what they do on here.
  • The Pirates beat down the Cubs, 9-1. They are one and 12 games back, respectively. (I’m still having a tough time comprehending that it’s the Pirates who are one game back. Then again, the Cubs being one game back would be scary as well.)
  • The Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks, 4-2. We remain tied with them for first.

Kotsay beats Cordero as Brewers walk-off

July 9, 2011

EDIT- 2:02p It doesn’t look like I’ll be home tonight, as I’m staying in downtown Milwaukee for the night. I doubt I’ll have access to internet where I’m staying, so that means there probably will not be a post tonight.

Anyway, let’s hope the Brewers can take this series from the Reds tonight, and that the Cardinals and the Pirates both lose to give us some breathing room in the Central. Let’s go Crew!

11:18p This probably goes without saying, but that had to be the best Brewer game I’ve ever been to.

Reds-Brewers Wrap-Up

I don’t know if it gets much better than that. The Brewers defeated the Reds, 8-7, in a crazy back-and-forth game. Early on, Zack Greinke was getting roughed up again, but settled down as the game went on. His counterpart, Reds starter Mike Leake, was the opposite. He was great early in the game, but fell apart in the middle innings. But this turned into a game of bullpens.

Things were not looking good for Greinke in the first inning. After Greinke retired the first two (including a caught-stealing of Drew Stubbs), Joey Votto hit a solo homer. Then, after a Brandon Phillips double, Jay Bruce drove him in with an RBI single.

In the third, Greinke got into a bases-loaded jam with no outs. After striking out two and coming close to escaping with no damage done, Scott Rolen hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Mat Gamel. The ball ate up Gamel and got into the outfield, and two runs scored, making it 4-0.

The Brewers would finally answer in the third when Rickie Weeks hit an inside-the-park homer off Leake, making it 4-1. They would score again in the fifth, when Weeks, after a Greinke single, hit an RBI double. Nyjer Morgan then drove in Weeks with a single. Morgan later scored on a Prince Fielder sacrifice fly, which tied the game at four. The Brewers would take the lead in the sixth after Mark Kotsay’s go-ahead homer. That would end Leake’s night. He went 5 2/3 innings and gave up five runs on seven hits, while walking one and striking out three. Greinke’s night also ended after six innings. He gave up four runs (two earned) on six hits to go along with two walks and 10 strikeouts. He finally lowered his ERA a bit, which now stands at 5.45.

Things started to look bad in the seventh. After Zack Cozart singled, Votto hit what looked like a single to the left fielder Kotsay. But, we’ve learned over the past few days that Kotsay has no idea how to defend in center field, and this was another example of it. The ball skipped past him, which scored Cozart and allowed Votto to advance to third. Phillips then scored Votto on a sacrifice fly. Bruce added on to the lead with a solo shot, making it 7-5. All of this came off of Zach Braddock, who deserved a better fate, but was charged with three earned runs and his first blown save of the year. Ironically enough, Kameron Loe came in to finish the inning. Loe went 1 1/3 scoreless before handing the ball off to Marco Estrada, who also pitched a scoreless inning. Then came the ninth, where all the action happened.

Francisco Cordero, a former Brewer, was on to close it out for the Reds. He had a two run lead, which you think would be enough for a guy like Cordero. But, after giving up a lead-0ff walk to George Kottaras, I could tell it was going to be a rough night for him. Kottaras would advance to second on a wild pitch by Cordero, then Morgan slapped a triple, which scored Kottaras. Corey Hart then grounded out but reached first on a fielder’s choice, as Morgan was thrown out at home attempting to tie the game. After that, Cordero’s command struggles continued, as he walked Fielder. Then, Casey McGehee reached on an infield single, which loaded the bases for Mark Kotsay.

Kotsay would hit a two-strike single to right field which scored Hart. Carlos Gomez, who was pinch-running for Fielder, scored the winning run. He might have been out had Bruce’s throw from right field been on target, but it was airmail, and flew passed catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Brewers get fourth walk-off win of season

If I’ve been counting correctly, this was the Brewers’ fourth walk-off win of the season, but I definitely didn’t picture Kotsay being the star.

I found it ironic that gave us the lead with a homer, then cost us the lead with that error, but wound up giving us the win on his single. I guess the walk-off lets him off the hook for that error, but I hope Ryan Braun is back so Ron Roenicke can stop playing Kotsay in left.

Speaking of Braun…

Braun sits again, but could be back tomorrow

Braun sat AGAIN today, and I’m kind of sick of having to put that in all of my posts. But, I noticed that he came running out of the dugout and was jumping during the walk-off celebration. I don’t think someone with a bad calf could do that, so I’m expecting him to be able to play tomorrow.

Slow curve is slow

For those of you who don’t know Greinke’s pitching repertoire, it looks something like this- fastball, circle change, curveball, slider. The slider is, obviously, is his out pitch. He doesn’t use the curve much, but when he does, it’s a spiked, or knuckle, curveball.

However, on occasion, he uses a half-eephus curve that’s usually only in the mid-60 MPH range. It’s similar to Randy Wolf’s sweeping curve, but Greinke’s doesn’t sweep as much, and it’s usually slower.

Anyway, Greinke was pitching to Chris Heisey (I think that’s who it was), and he threw the eephus curve to him. Heisey must have been looking fastball, because that’s just about how far ahead of the pitch he was. Then, I noticed that the pitch speed on Greinke’s curve was 61 MPH. 61. Now that is slow. It had to be the slowest pitch I’ve ever seen a Brewer throw.

I’m not sure what the slowest curve Greinke has ever thrown is, but that was the slowest I’d seen him throw. When he was with the Royals, the slowest I saw was 62 MPH, making this a new record.

Anyway, I don’t know why I ranted on about his slow curve for so long. I just thought it was worth being in this post. So, let’s move on.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will send Shaun Marcum (7-2, 3.32 ERA) to the mound tomorrow, who has been screwed out of a few wins by the bullpen lately (mainly Loe or Estrada blowing saves after Marcum leaves with the lead). Marcum’s two career starts against the Reds both came this year. He is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in that span.

The Reds will send their most consistent starter, without a doubt, to the mound tomorrow in Johnny Cueto (5-3, 1.77 ERA). He hasn’t been given the best run support, as evidenced by his five wins, but his ERA is no fluke; he’s really been throwing that well. Cueto is 2-2 with a 4.24 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Pirates defeated the Cubs, 7-4. The Pirates are now tied for second in the division, while the Cubs are 12 games out.
  • The Astros lost to the Marlins, 6-3. They are now 18 games out. (Note: If the Astros get 20 games out, I’m going to stop putting up what they do on this blog. It’s hilarious how awful they’re doing, though.)
  • The Cardinals lost to the Diamondbacks, 7-6, giving the Brewers the division lead all by themselves. If the Pirates pass them in the division tomorrow… That should be interesting.

Weeks’ homer helps Brewers edge Reds

July 8, 2011

10:13p The Brewers beating the Reds? That’s not something you hear too often, at least over the past few years.

Reds-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers took game one of a four-game set against the Reds today, 5-4. It turned into a bit of a thriller at the end, but was a win for the Crew, nonetheless.

The scoring started in the second inning, when Yuniesky Betancourt drove in Prince Fielder with a sacrifice fly. Fielder had doubled to begin the inning, then Mark Kotsay moved him to third on a groundout.

The Reds answered in the third, when Miguel Cairo hit an RBI single to drive in Homer Bailey, who doubled earlier in the inning. The Reds then took their only lead of the game in the fourth, when Ramon Hernandez hit an RBI single to drive in Zack Cozart, who was making his Major League debut. Cozart had a solid debut, going 1-for-3 with a single.

In the fifth, however, after Jonathan Lucroy singled and Chris Narveson walked, Rickie Weeks took Bailey deep with a three-run shot to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead. Later in the inning, Kotsay added an RBI single to make it 5-2. Bailey would go one more inning after that, finishing with six innings, while giving up five runs on eight hits along with two walks and a strikeout.

Narveson turned in a solid outing, going six innings while giving up two runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out five. It was Narveson’s first career win against the Reds. Coming into today, Narveson was 0-3 against the Reds with an ERA above seven.

The Brewers bullpen was a bit shaky after Narveson left. Takashi Saito tossed a scoreless seventh, but LaTroy Hawkins ran into trouble in the eighth. He got out of a jam after giving up one run. Closer John Axford’s save didn’t come easily, either, as he gave up a lead-off homer to Hernandez in the ninth. After allowing back-to-back hits to Miguel Cairo and Joey Votto, Axford fielded a Brandon Phillips comebacker to record the save.

Bullpen surprisingly shaky

I was surprised that the bullpen had a rough time today, considering Kameron Loe didn’t enter the game. Both Hawkins and Axford, who are two of the most consistent guys out of the bullpen, gave up runs. It appears Saito is getting settled back in from the DL, considering he tossed a scoreless inning.

But I am happy that Ron Roenicke used Hawkins in the eighth again today. That marks back-to-back days that he’s done that, and that could symbolize a role change for Loe, who just hasn’t been doing it in the setup role. That could very well be the case, because I was actually at the game today and noticed that Loe was warming up in the sixth inning. It was probably just in case Narveson got in trouble. But that was the role Hawkins was used in for awhile, which is why I think they may have changed roles, at long last.

Braun sits AGAIN…

Alright, it didn’t surprise me today, because Roenicke said yesterday that Ryan Braun probably wasn’t going to play today. But note that this is fifth consecutive day not on the field, and if it gets longer than this, Braun might need some rehab time before coming back to the Brewers. I hope it doesn’t get that far, though, because we’re going to need him back soon.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will play the second game of the four game series with the Reds tomorrow (I’m actually going to that game too…). Zack Greinke (7-3, 5.66 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he is in need, and I mean in NEED, of a good start. He is 7-3 with a 5.66 ERA, and let me tell you, I’m sick of seeing that high of an ERA next to his name. It’s just so uncharacteristic of him. He’s coming off a start in Minnesota where he gave up five runs (four earned) in six innings. But he really needs to get it together, and a start against the Reds could be what he needs. In two career starts against the Reds, he is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA.

The Reds will send Mike Leake (8-4, 4.03 ERA) to the mound, who has made two starts against the Brewers this season, but didn’t take a decision in either of them. Those are his only two career starts against the Brewers, and he has a 3.46 ERA against them over that span.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals and Diamondbacks just got out of a delay, and the Diamondbacks are leading 3-0. Joe Saunders was tossing a gem against the Cards, but the D-backs turned to their bullpen, meaning the delay didn’t let him finish. If the Cards lose, they will be tied with the Brewers for first in the division.
  • The Cubs defeated the Nationals, 10-9. They are 11.5 games back.
  • The Astros were shut out by the Marlins, 5-0. They are a whopping 17.5 games back. (I have no idea why I even put what they do on here, but they are part of the division, despite they aren’t contenders.)
  • The Pirates had an off-day today. They are 1.5 games back.