Extra innings, extra special

8 04 2008

Well Brewer fans, the series against the Cincinnati Reds started much like the series did against the Chicago Cubs. Eric Gagne faltered and blew a save, but the Crew scrapped out a win in extra racks.

Eric Gagne looked strong to start the inning. He was mixing in his off-speed pitches, and he located his fastball well. Corey Patterson, the center fielder for the Reds, parked a 2-2 pitch just over the right field wall to tie the game. Brewers fans stood throughout the park in shock after Patterson tied the game, but Gagne worked out of the inning to preserve the tie.

The top of the 10th inning turned out to be very uneventful, as Salomon Torres worked around a walk to Adam Dunn to finish the scoreless frame. Torres threw the ball very well today. It is invaluable to have good, durable arms stashed away in the pen like the Brewers have.

J.J. Hardy then started out the bottom of the 10th with a single. Joe Dillon bunted him over with a perfect sacrifice on the first pitch from David Weathers. Jason Kendall followed up with a broken bat single for his third hit of the game. The flare was a little too weak to score J.J. from second, however. Next to the plate was Rickie Weeks. Last season, there is no doubt in my mind that Rickie would have struck out. Tonight, however, Rickie was able to shoot a ball into the outfield for the walk-off single.

Before the game, I was incredibly excited to see the youngster, Johnny Cueto, pitch tonight. He did not disappoint. He has a mid-90s fastball and an absolutely electric slider. Cueto struck out eight Brewers in 6.1 innings. This was one of those days when the hype surrounding this kid lived up to reality. I would like to point out that before the season even started, I picked Johnny to be the breakout player of this Reds squad.

Jeff Suppan was not to be outdone, however. He was not flashy in any way, but he frustrated the Cincinnati hitters and consistently got outs. Pitching through seven strong innings, Soup gave up six hits and only allowed one earned run. I did not expect Jeff to start the season this well. I highly doubt anyone did. Brewers fans everywhere are getting a glimpse of what Doug Melvin thought he was getting when signing Soup to the $40M deal last winter. Jeff looked very solid today.

Records: Brewers (6-1); Reds (4-4)

Hero of the Game: J.J. Hardy

It was almost like J.J. must have read what I wrote after the last game. After struggling offensively over the first six games of the season, J.J. broke out in a big way today. He ended the game going 3-4 with two runs scored, including the game-winner. If it works out that every “Goat of the Game” turns out to score the winning run of the following game, I will take it.

Goat of the Game: Eric Gagne

I did not want to give this “award” to Eric. I thought that he threw the ball very well. He made one bad pitch. Unfortunately, Corey Patterson connected on that pitch to tie the game. People are going to criticize Gagne for blowing two saves in the first two weeks of the regular season, but this instance was much different.

On Opening Day, Gagne did not have his control or a very good fastball. He did not use his off-speed pitches effectively at all. Tonight, he had a good curveball and a good change-up. Granted, the blown save is tempered because the Brewers were able to pull out the win, but I would have no problem if Eric threw the ball like this every time out (except that 2-2 pitch, of course). I’m not going to give Gagne too much longer of a leash before I start calling for his head, but let’s still give him a chance. He did not throw the ball poorly today. Let Eric ride a little bit. After all, Francisco Cordero blew nine saves over the course of his year-and-a-half tenure with the crew.

On Tap

Dave Bush will look to keep the Brewers rolling along with their winning ways tomorrow in Game 2 against the Cincinnati Reds. Cincy will trot Josh Fogg out to the rubber tomorrow. The game will start at 7:05pm CT.




2 responses

9 04 2008

I believe it was Corey, not Eric Patterson who hit the home run off Gagne.

9 04 2008

hahaha…good call. I don’t know why I had that in my head.

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