Parra impressive in Brewers win

5 04 2008

Manny Parra was supposed to be nervous in his first start of the season for the Milwaukee Brewers.  He wasn’t.  Just ask the seven San Francisco Giants he fanned on his way to pitching five no-hit innings.  Manny began to tire in the sixth, and he was unable to make it out of the inning.

Still, the young Brewers hurler showcased a fine arsenal of curveballs, change-ups, and a low-to-mid nineties fastball.  The defense, which had been stellar in the first four games of the season, did not help Parra.  Craig Counsell made an awful throw to first early in the game, and almost tossed another one into the stands later in the game.  Bill Hall let a ground ball eat him up at third.

Manny was able to shrug off the sloppy defense behind him and hold the Giants hitless until the sixth inning.  He obviously began to tire.  His pitches began to inch up in the strike zone.  After an impressive 5.1 innings, Parra left the game only allowing two earned runs and striking out seven Giants.

David Riske then came into the game and got Jose Castillo to fly out to center field.  Ray Durham then tried to tag up from first, but Gabe Gross gunned him down at second to end the inning.  Actually, “gunned him down” is not quite correct there.  It was more like Gabe got lucky that the ball bounced right to Rickie Weeks at second base.  In the seventh, Riske lost his command and walked a couple hitters.  He was able to limit the damage and only allow one run.

I thought that Guillermo Mota threw the ball very well again today, even though he gave up a solo shot to Ray Durham.  Durham connected with a fastball that ran right over the plate.  Besides that pitch, Mota continued to show great stuff and great command.  He finished the inning giving up that lone run and striking out two.

On to Eric Gagne, the target for much criticism in the past few days.  Eric looked very good today, in my opinion.  It is easy to say that because he got the win, but he threw the ball much better.  He mixed up his pitches and featured his nasty change-up.  His fastball was not electric, but it does not have to be.  Gagne even mixed in a couple curveballs.  He kept Giant hitters off-balance very well.  I was very pleased with Eric’s performance today.

Enough about the pitching.  Rickie Weeks was unable to extend his consecutive runs scored streak to 18.  He just missed a home run in the eighth and drew a walk earlier in the game.  Ryan Braun clobbered his first home run of the young season, parking a hanging change-up from Kevin Correia over the bullpen in left field.  His plate discipline has been suspect this season, but that swing is still sweet.

The Brewer bench played fairly well today.  Mike Rivera had a two-RBI game, but that is a little deceiving.  He hit a little dribbler to the third baseman and beat it out, but on the play, Corey Hart continued hustling and scored from second on the play.  Mike did have a nice hit to center field to score Corey later in the game though.  In addition to Rivera, Gabe Kapler hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth to stretch the lead to two.  It turned out to be the difference in the game.

Records: Brewers (4-1); Giants (1-4)

Hero of the Game: Manny Parra

I cannot say enough about the performance Manny had today.  He located the ball very well in the lower part of the strike zone, and his curveball was near unhittable today.  Parra had the curve working to get ahead of the count, as well as being his strikeout pitch.  I’m sure Mike Maddux enjoyed seeing that today.  The one pitch he did not feature today was his split-fingered fastball, but I expect he’s saving that for a rainy day down the road.

Manny weathered the storm that was the Brewers defense today.  He was forced to get four outs two (perhaps even three) times today, but he did not let it faze him.  The at bat with Rajai Davis to end the fifth inning obviously took a lot out of Manny.  He came into the sixth inning fatigued, and it showed with his command.  Nonetheless, I think Brewers fans may have gotten a little taste of what the rookie can bring to the mound this season.  He has special stuff.

Goat of the Game: The Brewers Defense

The defense did make some nice plays, I must admit.  Bill Hall made a sweet diving catch at third, and Prince Fielder climbed the later to snag a line drive early in the game.  Overall, however, the defense nearly cost the Brewers the game.  Craig Counsell had trouble with his throws early in the game.  Bill Hall needs to get in front of that grounder that ate him up at third.  Those ended up not costing the Brewers any runs, so I will let those fly today.

Mike Rivera somehow got his signals crossed with Manny Parra in the sixth inning, and the past ball allowed a run to score.  Rickie Weeks did not turn a double play in the seventh that would have gotten the Brewers out of the inning without allowing a run.  I realize that Prince could have dug out that ball, but there is no excuse as to why Rickie couldn’t have made that throw.  He had plenty of time to get it done.

Against a better team than the Giants, those types of plays are going to come back to bite the Brewers.  They had been very solid defensively this entire season up until today, so let’s hope that this game is just a fluke.  If it becomes a trend, however, Brewers pitchers and the team’s record will suffer.

On Tap

Ben Sheets will take on Barry Zito in a battle of the aces tomorrow at Miller Park.  The Crew guaranteed a series victory today with a win and will go for a series sweep against the lowly Giants.  The game is scheduled to start at 1:05pm CT.  Let’s break out the brooms, boys!




One response

5 04 2008

If Eric Gagne can mix up his pitches like he did today, he will get plenty of saves. People just overreact.

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