Brewers vs. Dodgers – Game 1 Recap

14 05 2008

For the second consecutive night the Brewers faced a staff ace in the Dodgers’ Brad Penny. And for the second consecutive night the Brewers emerged with a solid team-driven win. Carlos Villanueva took the mound for the Brew Crew and gave the home side their fourth consecutive quality start and subsequently their third consecutive win. Who would have thought that solid starting pitching would translate to wins?

The Dodgers came into town having just been hosed by the Houston Astros (been there, done that) and registering a paltry 1.8 runs a game during the four-game losing streak. The news got worse for LA as the injured Rafael Furcal was put on the disabled list (back). Despite these numbers the Dodgers have been a streaky team all year and with Penny on the mound (with a 5-3 record and a deceiving 4.79 ERA) anything is possible.

The early innings looked troublesome for the Brewers as the Dodgers tagged three runs on V-Dub (my new nickname for Villanueva in the first four innings. V’s breaking ball was looking good, but a couple of two out runs in the first and third showed that the young pitcher had trouble focusing to get the third out of each inning.

The Brewers proved apt in keeping the game close. Mike Cameron struck with a two out RBI single to score Rickie Weeks in the third and Bill Hall’ssolo shot in the fourth (his ninth of the season) made it 2-3.

The Brewes heroics were saved for the fifth inning (normally reserved for opposing teams to break out here) when Milwaukee scored three runs all with two outs. Ryan Braun continued his hot hitting (2-4) with a two-run double to left and Prince Fielder scored him on a single.

Villanueva’s efforts paralleled Dave Bush’s from last night as he limited hit damage (eight) over six strong innings. Despite Penny’s season-high six strikeouts (I saw this as troublesome early on that a low strikeout pitcher was getting so many) the Brewers’ hitting was superb.

The biggest surprise of the game was the appearance of Eric Gagne in the closer’s role. After throwing two innings in relief last night and only two games since he deemed himself “unfit” for the role, Gagne came out, made everyone’s heart beat a bit harder, and the got Juan Pierre to pop out to JJ Hardy to end the game.

Records: Brewers (20-19); Dodgers (19-19)

Hero of the Game: Clutch Hitting

No so much a player, but a concept. For a team that has struggled to bring runs home with runners in scoring position, the Brewers, of late, have found their “clutch” setting. All five runs were scored with two outs. The team’s small ball approach (manufacturing rather than homering in runs) has proved to be successful. Cameron, Hall, Braun, and Fielder all came through with two-out RBIs.

Goat of the Game: Corey Hart

Its always hard to “goat” anyone in a solid win, but Hart’s attempted steal of third in the fourth inning was a bit stupid. With one out and Hall at the plate Hart got greedy. I don’t know if he had the green light to take himself or he was sent, but he got caught badly. An inside fastball from Penny made it the perfect pitch for the Dodger’s catcher to toss him out. It just looks worse when Billy hits a dinger and instead of it being a two-run shot the Crew settles for another solo homer. Hart has been hitting wonderfully lately so I’ll cut him some slack if he gets some RBIs tonight.

On Tap:Manny Parra (1-2) takes on Derek Lowe (2-3) tonight in the second game of the series at 7:05pm at Miller Park.

By: Dan Wiersema




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