Sheets stellar as Brewers take series

31 05 2008

The Milwaukee Brewers kept it rolling this evening, beating the Astros 4-1. The team has now failed to drop a series in their last four. This is how the Brewers were supposed to play the entire season.

There are several things that can be gleaned from tonight’s game:

  1. If the bullpen needs a rest, the Brewers only need to call on Ben Sheets. After pitching a complete game against the Pittsburgh Pirates two starts ago, the Brewers ace goes 8 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the suddenly slumping Astros. Sheets is eating innings and pitching efficiently and effectively.Benny would’ve had a complete game, but Lance Berkman took too much out of his tank in the ninth. After the Berkman at-bat, he was at 122 pitches. Ned Yost made an unpopular, yet necessary move to call on Salomon Torres at that point. Sheeter was visibly upset at being taken out of the game. That is a nice sight to see for the Brewers pitcher. He always pitches better when he has a chip on his shoulder.

  2. The Russell Branyan call-up has been a good decision thus far. He is hitting .300 (in admittedly a small sample size), and he already has two home runs. Tonight’s shot was an absolute beast, measuring in at 465′. That is good for the third longest home run in Miller Park history. Russell may have a long swing, but it is dialed in right now. He is striking out at a high rate, but he is also drawing a healthy amount of walks. His on-base percentage is over .430 after tonight’s game. This “soft platoon” may get hardened if Russell can keep mashing like this.

  3. Prince Fielder likes to hit bombs with two strikes on him. Of his eight home runs this season, seven have been with two strikes. Fielder hit another two-run shot with two strikes on him off Brian Moehler tonight. Heat up, Prince. The team could use it.

  4. All the talk about Jason Kendall having an awful arm behind the plate is total bunk. After throwing out three runners in tonight’s contest, the Brewers catcher is now hosing runners at a 42%+ rate. It looks like all the work during the off-season helped Jason behind the dish. He’s been a terrific signing thus far in 2008. It is obvious that Ben Sheets loves pitching to him.

  5. Ryan Braun is not yet completely comfortable in left field. The Brewers announcers said that the wind made the ball difficult to judge after Braun made a couple of ugly adjustments, but I’m not sure that is totally correct. He is not breaking on the ball perfectly just yet. Braun is improving immensely, however. I will certainly not take that away from him.

Records: Brewers (28-28 ); Astros (30-27)

Hero of the Game: Jason Kendall

Ben Sheets may have pitched 8 2/3 innings of only one-run ball, but he wouldn’t have done it without Jason behind the plate. Kendall baled Sheets out of a couple of jams in the third and fourth inning by gunning out Astros on the basepaths. I’m especially talking about the instance when Kendall threw out Kaz Matsui trying to steal third. If Kendall doesn’t make any of those throws, Sheets is pitching a completely different ballgame.

Goat of the Game: Mike Cameron

Mike looked utterly lost at the plate tonight, going 0-4 with three strikeouts. The Brewers center fielder missed almost the entire first month of the season, and he still has 41 whiffs. That’s quite alarming, actually. With that said, Brewers fans should not have expected anything else from Mike. We all knew that he is a high strikeout guy that will hit about 20 home runs, steal 20 bases, and hit about .240. It may be a matter of weeks before JJ Hardy is batting second and Cameron is shuffled down to sixth or seventh in the order.

On Tap

RHP Dave Bush will take the hill tomorrow in the series finale against the Houston Astros. The Brewers will attempt to sweep the Astros, but RHP Shawn Chacon is likely to have other ideas. The game will start at 1:05pm CT at Miller Park.

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4 responses

31 05 2008
Adam

In regards to the comment on Kendall’s arm I would like to add that the Cubs pitching staff is notorious for giving up a lot of stolen bases if I remember correctly. While I do not have the statistical facts to back up my case I remember watching the Cubs on ESPN where Jon Miller was talking about how the Cubs were not a team who tried to hold runners on with their pitching staff. They prefer an approach of focusing on the batter, something that clearly would affect Kendall’s throwing numbers of previous seasons.

In addition, the statement of Braun looking uncomfortable in left field is long overdue. I did not watch the game tonight, so I do not know exactly what you are referencing Jim, but I have been comparing Braun to an excellent middle school outfielder. He ends up making the play the majority of the time, but he certainly does not make it look pretty. Braun still looks tentative and new out in left, which is certainly understandable. His instincts are clearly not there, and he takes awkward paths to the ball, which sometime cost us an out. What can be said however, is that while his defense is below where we all would like it to be, Braun is not letting it affect his offense. This is a guy that I am glad we signed to a long-term deal, he deserves it over anyone else on this team including Prince Fielder.

1 06 2008
Dan Wiersema

Brian Anderson was all over Braun last night at how great of a left fielder he was. I found that to be a ridiculous assertion. I believe he has fantastic potential, but to pretend that he is entirely comfortable out there is just pulling the wool over Brewers’ fans eyes. One more reason I’m submitting my application to FSN this year to take over play-by-play…. Jim you can have the color commentating.

1 06 2008
Jim Breen

Does that mean I can use the tele-strator?

1 06 2008
Dan Wiersema

Absolutely!

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