Soup solid in win over Cubs

2 04 2008

After Opening Day, I mentioned that anything at or better than six innings pitched and three runs allowed for Jeff Suppan would be a successful outing.  Count Wednesday’s start against the Chicago Cubs as a success then.  It was a typical Soup outing.  Jeff was not flashy, but he did keep the ball down and make the Chicago hitters battle.

Soup’s finishing line was 6.1 innings pitched, while allowing two runs and two walks.  Those two runs came on solo shots by Derrick Lee and rookie Geovany Soto.  Other that those long balls, Jeff nibbled at the strike zone and kept the ball down.  Few Cub hitters squared up a ball.

When they did, the improved Brewers defense picked up the slack.  Bill Hall made a couple slick plays at the hot corner, and even Gabe Kapler got into the act with a twisting catch in center field.  Even Ryan Braun made a couple nice plays in left field.  They did not look spectacular.  In fact, they looked very routine.  That is exactly my point.  There were a couple balls that were very difficult to judge because they were hit down on the trademark.  Ryan did not struggle with those tricky balls, even though the wind pushed the ball around all day.  The best compliment Ryan can get is that people did not notice him in left field.  The transition looks to be going very well.

After Suppan, Salomon Torres heightened Brewers fans’ blood pressures a little in the seventh.  He allowed a couple runners to get on base, but got Alfonso Soriano to strike out to end the inning.  Torres seems to be a level-headed guy on the mound, but even he jumped up and gave a huge fist pump.  The commentators were right when they said that Torres’ performance was “save-worthy.”  Saves do not always happen in the ninth inning.  Torres saved the game in the seventh by stopping any momentum the Cubs gained to that point.

Enough about the pitching.  The bats also came out to play today.  Rickie Weeks started the game with a bang, blasting the opening pitch from Ted Lilly out of the ballpark.  That home run gave the Brewers the lead, and they never relinquished it.  Ryan Braun continued his fine start to the season, going 3-5 with a double, two singles, an RBI, and a run scored.  Not a bad day.

Corey Hart was impressive on the basepaths.  After drawing a walk off of Cubs reliever Kevin Hart, Corey stole second and third off the young pitcher.  Corey also had a double that scored Bill Hall earlier in the game.  Stop the presses!  Who said that Jason Kendall couldn’t play from the nine hole?  Jason went 3-4 with a walk.  He broke the game open in the ninth inning with a two-run double that just about left Wrigley.  I suppose that was for all the Cubs fans that criticized his uselessness at the plate.  He also beat out and infield single.  Johnny Estrada wouldn’t have made it halfway down the first baseline by the time Jason made it to first.

All in all, it was a great win for the Milwaukee Brewers.  They begin the season 2-0 for the fifth year in a row, and they begin the season with the ever-elusive road series win.  Obviously, this is also very important because of the fact that it was against the Chicago Cubs.  The unfortunate thing is that the Cubs will certainly rebound to have a fine season.  They are a very good team.

Records: Brewers (2-0); Cubs (0-2)

Hero of the Game:  Jason Kendall

Jeff Suppan and Salomon Torres got considerable consideration for this award, but Jason Kendall won out because of his gritty play.  His throw to get Aramis Ramirez stealing at second after Suppan struck out Kosuke Fukudome was perhaps the biggest play of the game.  Who says Kendall cannot throw?  It looks like the mechanical adjustment Jason worked on over the off-season is working well.  He’s getting his momentum going forward much quicker, and his throws are much crisper.

I also gave Jason the award because of his work at the plate.  In the eighth inning, Jason beat out an infield single.  In the ninth, he broke open the game with the two-run double mentioned earlier.  That double crushed any momentum the Cubs could have been holding on to.  After that double, there was no way the Cubs were going to come back in the ninth inning like they did the day before.  It may have looked like icing on the cake, but it made the ninth inning a lot easier for every Brewers fan watching the game at Wrigley or at home.

Goat of the Game:  Geovany Soto

I tried to find someone from the Milwaukee Brewers to give this award to, but nobody came to mind.  Bill Hall and Corey Hart struck out in the seventh inning with the bases loaded.  That could have easily come back to haunt the Brewers, but it didn’t.  Salomon Torres could have given up a couple runs in the seventh inning, but he didn’t.  Everyone on the Brewers contributed today.  It was a fine team effort today.  I will not make a habit of giving this award to someone from the opposing team.  I just could not bring myself to bring any Brewers player down today.

Geovany Soto, however, may have given the game to the Brewers in the sixth inning.  He made a terrible throw to the second baseman after double clutching.  The ball sailed into the outfield and allowed Corey to score on the play.  He nearly let a couple of easy fastballs get by him, which would have certainly given up a couple more runs.  I did not think he called a good game for Ted Lilly at all, but that may not have been his fault.  He did hit the solo home run in the seventh inning, but that did not make up for the stupid, inexperienced play in the seventh.

On Tap

Dave Bush and the Milwaukee Brewers will attempt to complete the season sweep of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.  The Crew will have to face veteran pitcher Ryan Dempster to get that done.  The game will start at 1:20pm CT.  It would be a huge start of the season for the Brewers if they can pull out a sweep against the Cubs.



6 responses

3 04 2008

You forgot to mention how Kendall threw out Ramirez in the 4th for a strikeout/throwout DP. I remember quite a few Kendall haters out there claiming he couldn’t throw anyone out, and that teams are going to run on him a lot. In the first 2 games he has only had 3 SB attempts and he threw out 2 of them!

3 04 2008

2 runners thrown out, that must be more than Estrada had all of last year! haha jk but it was only like 10 or 11 haha

3 04 2008

Not only was Kendall gunning down base stealers, he stole a base of his own! He’s getting on base and on top of all of that, the guy seems to call a great game behind the plate… I hope he continues to quiet the nay-sayers.

3 04 2008

Ah, but I didn’t forget to mention that, Nate. It’s under the Hero of the Game section.

3 04 2008

I was very impressed with Corey Hart and how he stole those two bases after the walk he had. If Yost is committed to running that much, it will be fun to watch the Brewers this year!

3 04 2008

Haha, touche Jimmy! How did I miss that I wonder? I must have scrolled past it..I have no idea

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