Brewers hope to snap skid at home

August 6, 2012

Pregame News and Notes

Here’s what the Brewers lineup is looking like tonight:

  1. Norichika Aoki RF
  2. Carlos Gomez CF
  3. Ryan Braun LF
  4. Aramis Ramirez 3B
  5. Corey Hart 1B
  6. Rickie Weeks 2B
  7. Martin Maldonado C
  8. Jean Segura SS
  9. Yovani Gallardo P

Amazing how much formidable of a lineup that looks like without Cesar Izturis or Cody Ransom.

> The Brewers called up Segura in an unexpected move today. Izturis was sent to the Nationals in a trade (they placed a waiver claim on him), so, in a corresponding move, they were able to give Segura a chance. The young shortstop hit .433 since being sent to Double-A Huntsville upon his acquisition, and his batting eighth tonight in his first start with the Brewers.

(Scroll down for the news/opinions from earlier today)

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> The Brewers just can’t seem to find a break in their schedule that will get them going. Ever since the All-Star break, they haven’t been able to match up against the tough opponents that have been thrown at them. After going 4-2 against the Pirates and Cardinals to start their post-ASB season, the Reds dealt them a crushing blow, basically sweeping the Brewers out of contention.

Obviously, things haven’t gone well since. The Brewers were then swept by the Phillies in a series that should have been a sweep in the Brewers’ favor, but that series exposed how bad this bullpen truly is. Then the Nationals took three out of four from the Brewers at Miller Park. The Brewers followed that up with a three-game sweep of the Astros (who almost don’t even count as a team anymore), managing to put up enough offense that series to get around the horrible bullpen.

But, after getting swept out of St. Louis last night, the Brewers find themselves 17.5 games out of the division leader Reds, 10.5 games behind the third place Cards, and 13 games out of the second Wild Card slot. The Brewers have yet to be mathematically eliminated (unlike the Astros), but any real chance of contending definitely diminished after this series in St. Louis.

So, as Brewers fans, all we can hope for now is that the Brewers can just win some games and bring our spirits up, even if they aren’t in contention. That starts with a tough three-game series at home against the Reds, who have become the best team in baseball (66-42) after a recent hot stretch that included a 10-game winning streak (after which radio voice Marty Brennaman shaved his head).

Anyway, tonight’s match-up is between Bronson Arroyo (7-6, 3.87 ERA) and Yovani Gallardo (9-8, 3.92 ERA). Arroyo is 13-8 with a 3.67 ERA in his career against the Brewers. The Brewers seemed to have Arroyo solved for a while, but he’s come back to once again make Brewers hitters look foolish this season. Gallardo, on the other hand, continues to be relatively inconsistent against the Reds. Over his past two starts against Cincy (both at Great American Ball Park), he’s 0-2 with a 4.63 ERA. As always, Jay Bruce, Ryan Ludwick, and Scott Rolen have given him trouble over that span. Thank goodness Joey Votto is on the disabled list right now.

> Remember Yuniesky Betancourt? Of course you do. He was designated for assignment by the Royals yesterday after supposedly complaining about not getting enough playing time. It sounds like the Royals were going to give him a chance to stay had he been satisfied with less playing time so that younger players could get a shot, but Yuni wasn’t going to play that.

Betancourt was struggling at the plate this season, hitting just .228 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs. He also missed 27 games in May, which didn’t help with that.

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Betancourt back in a Brewers uniform before too long. The Cody Ransom/Cesar Izturis platoon just isn’t getting it done offensively (although I have to say I like their defense most of the time). Even though recently-acquired Jean Segura has been tearing it up at Double-A Huntsville, the Brewers seem reluctant to call him up until rosters expand in September. So that leaves the shortstop position in the flux it’s been in all season.

Which leads me to believe that Doug Melvin, who considered re-signing Betancourt last offseason as a utilityman, might go after him now. I’m not saying I’m in agreement with it (which I’m not), but don’t be surprised to see it happen.

UPDATE: Never mind what I said about Segura. According to multiple sources, he’s been called up to the big leagues. Izturis is also reportedly heading to the Nationals.

> Another ex-Brewer was also DFA’d yesterday in outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. There’s no chance the Brewers pick him up, though, since they’re already stocked with outfield depth. Plus, Gwynn is really nothing more than a late-inning defensive replacement anyway.

> Speaking of outfield depth, one Brewers outfielder seems to finally be reaching his potential: Carlos Gomez. He’s been tearing the cover off the ball lately, hitting .347 over his last 12 games. He has four home runs and 10 RBIs over that stretch. He also has five steals in that span, giving him 20 on the year, which is tied for 10th in the National League.

If the Brewers can keep him going like this on a consistent basis, what a weapon Gomez would become. He’s always been considered a five-tool player, but only three of those tools appeared in his first few years in the big leagues- a cannon arm, stellar play in center field, and speed on the bases. In this stretch of games, the other two tools- hitting for both average and power- have finally shown themselves.

I doubt Gomez will ever be a .300 hitter; I just can’t see it happening. But the power could be there to stick, which gives the lineup a huge boost.

> And that’s about it. I’ll update with the probable lineups later, but for now, thanks for reading.

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Greinke dominates Dodgers in Crew’s sixth straight win

August 18, 2011

10:35p So… How about the pitching on this homestand? Or, the pitching this entire year, I should say.

Dodgers-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Dodgers, 3-1, in yet another close game on this homestand. It was also their sixth straight win, and this marks the third consecutive winning streak in which the Brewers have won at least six games.

It was a pitching duel between starters Zack Greinke and Nathan Eovaldi, but Eovaldi finally broke in the sixth inning. After walking Ryan Braun, giving up a single to Prince Fielder, and walking Casey McGehee (all with one out), Yuniesky Betancourt promptly popped out. But, after that, Jerry Hairston Jr. FINALLY came through offensively with a two-run single to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead.

That would be the rookie Eovaldi’s last inning. He went six innings while giving up two runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out two.

Greinke, meanwhile, pretty much danced around danger all game while shutting out the Dodgers in the process. He gave up a solo home run to ex-Brewer Tony Gwynn Jr. in the seventh inning, but that would be it.

Greinke’s line was seven innings with a run on five hits. He walked three and struck out eight.

Anyway, LaTroy Hawkins threw a scoreless eighth, and John Axford struck out the side in the ninth for his 33rd consecutive save. That continues to add on to a franchise record, and, with each save he gets, he adds to a career high (which currently stands at 36). Axford had 24 saves as a rookie last year.

Greinke’s long-awaited sub-4.00 ERA

At long last, Greinke’s ERA dipped below the 4.00 mark. That marked the first time this season that he’s finished a game with an ERA below 4.00. In fact, the first time his ERA even went under 4.00 was in his last start against the Pirates, when it went as low as 3.96. But, he would give up two more runs after that, rising it to 4.08. Greinke’s ERA currently stands at 3.92.

Now, the only guy in the Brewers’ rotation with an ERA above 4.00 is Chris Narveson (4.49). He’s injured right now, but, even when he gets back, I don’t think he can bring it under 4.00 before the season ends.

Gomez on the way back from DL

Injured center fielder Carlos Gomez is still working his way back from the DL, but, he cleared a milestone earlier today. He took his first swings since the injury (25 dry swings and 25 swings off a tee).

Gomez injured himself while making a highlight reel play in Arizona back on June 20. It was determined that he had fractured his collar bone after that game.

The Brewers hope Gomez will be able to go on a Minor League rehab assignment before the Minor League seasons end in the first week of September.

Injured players Rickie Weeks (second base) and Chris Narveson (pitcher) are both further along in their returns from the DL than Gomez, as far as I know.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a four-game sweep of the Dodgers tomorrow, but it certainly won’t be easy, and I’ll explain why in a bit. Anyway, the Brewers will send Marco Estrada (3-7, 4.46 ERA) to the mound, and he’ll be making his second spot start in place of the injured Narveson. He threw five shutout innings his last time out against the Pirates and got the win in that start.

The Dodgers will counter with one of the best pitchers in the National League: Clayton Kershaw (14-5, 2.72 ERA). Kershaw is definitely an early favorite to win the National League Cy Young Award this year (in fact, he’s my first choice to win it). Anyway, the good news is he’s 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA in his career against the Brewers. The bad news is that he’s having a career year this year and has already set a career high in wins, and his ERA is lower than it’s been the past few years. And yes, this is why it’s not going to be easy for the Brewers to get a sweep of the Dodgers.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Los Angeles Dodgers 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 6 1
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 X 3 6 1

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 .267
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 1 0 0 1 0 .312
Ryan Braun, LF 3 1 1 0 1 1 3 .329
Prince Fielder, 1B 4 1 1 0 0 0 2 .304
Casey McGehee, 3B 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 .236
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 .264
Jerry Hairston, 2B 3 0 1 2 0 0 1 .257
Jonathan Lucroy, C 3 1 2 0 0 1 0 .289
Zack Greinke, P 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .188
a-Craig Counsell, PH 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .151
Total 26 3 6 2 4 4 10

a-Walked for Greinke in the 7th.

BATTING

2B: Lucroy (12, Eovaldi).

RBI: Hairston 2 (26).

Team RISP: 1-for-4.

Team LOB: 5.

BASERUNNING

CS: Counsell (1).

FIELDING

E: Betancourt (15).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Zack Greinke (W, 12-4) 7.0 5 1 1 3 8 1 3.92
LaTroy Hawkins (H, 19) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.63
John Axford (S, 36) 1.0 0 0 0 1 3 0 2.31

Pitches-strikes: Greinke 107-66, Hawkins 18-12, Axford 20-11.

Groundouts-flyouts: Greinke 8-5, Hawkins 2-1, Axford 0-0.

Batters faced: Greinke 29, Hawkins 4, Axford 4.