Brewers eke out a win in extra innings

26 05 2008

Prince Fielder, Gabe Kapler, Carlos Villanueva, and Salomon Torres may have saved Ned Yost his job for the time being.  They were the instrumental players in the extra frames and led the Brewers to a victory over the Washington Nationals 4-3.

Prince served an opposite-field double over the head of Ryan Langerhans.  I wasn’t completely sure what happened next was the correct move, as Corey Hart sacrifice bunted Prince to third.  If he would have done this earlier in the count, it would have made plenty of sense.  A 3-1 count though?  You have to let the best clutch hitter on the Brewers do some damage there.

The move appeared to be the incorrect one, as big Russell Branyan struck out for the fourth time of the game to follow Corey.  Gabe Kapler picked up his teammates, however, and laced the first pitch he saw into center to score Prince.  Milwaukee had a chance to add to that one run lead, but Rickie Weeks grounded out to end the inning with the bases loaded.

Salomon Torres then came in and shut the door relatively easily on the Nats.  It was very nice to see a Brewers closer breeze through in inning.  Perhaps Ned has found someone he can trust at the back-end of the bullpen.  Torres sure looked good this afternoon.

I cannot tell you how impressed I was with Carlos Villanueva today.  After struggling in the rotation and getting flak from every Brewers fan and their mother, Carlos came into the game in the ninth inning and struck out the side to send the game into extras.  He then set the Nats down 1-2-3 again in the bottom of the 10th to prolong the game.  In that inning, the young man struck out the first two batters before getting Christian Guzman to ground out to Craig Counsell.  Carlos was sharp today.  Perhaps there is something to the closing idea that The Brew Town Beat has thrown out for the past couple weeks.

The Brewers were down early after Ben Sheets gave up a first inning home run to Christian Guzman on a hanging curveball.  Benny pitched fairly well today, going six innings and striking out six.  He could have gone more, as the Brewers’ ace only had 86 pitches.  The Brewers needed offense though, so Ned pulled Benny in the top of the seventh in favor of Joe Dillon.  Joe reached on an error.

Overall, this was a good win for the Brewers.  They split the series with the Nationals, and the team went 4-6 on the road trip.  After getting swept by the Boston Red Sox, I cannot complain.  I have no way of proving this, but my gut tells me that the Brewers saved Ned’s job today with this extra innings win.  Gord Ash, Doug Melvin, and Mark Attanasio were on hand today.  They were no doubt scouting the skipper to see how he handled himself.  So far, so good for Ned.

Records: Brewers (24-27); Nationals (22-30)

Hero of the Game: Gabe Kapler

Gabe saved the Brewers today with his RBI-single in the top of the 11th.  After sitting on the bench all day, he steps into the batters box and lines a first-pitch fastball into center to score Prince Fielder.  It turned out to be the winning run.  One of the most difficult aspects of baseball is being a pinch-hitter, and most batters take a pitch or two to get comfortable in the box.  Not Gabe.  Not today.  He manned up and roped one to center.  I’ll consider today’s win a Memorial Day present.

Goat of the Game: Russell Branyan

It’s tough to give Russell the Goat after being so excited about his being called up yesterday, but he definitely deserves the award.  After a very nice performance in yesterday’s game, Russell struck out four times tonight.  The big one came in the top of the eleventh, as he only needed a sacrifice fly to get Prince home.  Instead, Russell swung at the first three pitches and quickly got sent back to the dugout.  Rough outing for Branyan today.

On Tap

Milwaukee will head home tonight and start a tough homestand tomorrow against the Atlanta Braves.  The struggling Dave Bush will looked to straighten himself out against the veteran Tim Hudson.  The game will start at 6:05pm CT.

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3 responses

26 05 2008
Tony

Is it bad that I wish the Brewers would have lost today so Yost would have been canned?

26 05 2008
Dan Wiersema

Carlos was fantastic! He pitches like a Cy Young winner the first time through and order almost every time. I don’t see why he wouldn’t get a shot at closer although then we have to find another long reliever.

I’m beginning to wonder what’s up with Sheets. I guess you can’t demand that he be lights out every day, but he has looked more vulnerable. The big inning against LA, the earlier homer today, and the 11 hits (although contained with great skill) makes him look shaky. What do you think Jim?

27 05 2008
Adam

I think the most important thing to look at when examining a pitcher is whether or not he puts his team in a situation that they can win the game. With the exception of the L.A. inning from hell, I would say Sheets has kept us in the game very well.

For the most part this season, Ben has kept the team in games regardless of how poor the offense has been performing. Especially in his first couple starts, Ben pitched some gems.

If he can stay healthy he is quite the pitcher, however I don’t consider Ben a true ace. As a GM I would be thrilled to have him as my number two start, and I believe 95% of the teams in the league would think the same way. However, due to his injury problems he does not qualify as a true ace to me. In addition, he is not the stopper that an ace should be.

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