Subs sparkle against ‘Stros

1 06 2008

Fans at sold out Miller Park were a little disappointed when arriving at their seats in the ballpark.  Every person received a Ryan Braun bobblehead at today’s game, but the excitement may have faded away rather quickly after reading the starting lineup for Milwaukee.

After securing the series win last night, Ned Yost chose to give five starters a day off this afternoon.  Players that usually warm the bench during the week got to start together.  Russell Branyan, Mike Rivera, Craig Counsell, Joe Dillon, and Gabe Kapler got the start for the suddenly surging Brewers.  They did not disappoint the fans.

The excitement quickly returned to Miller Park after Houston starter Shawn Chacon got chased out of the game after only completing one inning.  The right-hander struck out Joe Dillon and Gabe Kapler to start the game.  Things got ugly for the Astros after that.

Chacon hit Ryan Braun and walked Prince FielderCorey Hart then beat out a broken-bat single to short.  While Lance Berkman couldn’t believe Corey was called safe on the play (Corey should have been out, by the way), Braun never stopped running from second base and scored without a throw.  1-1 tie.

Russell Branyan coaxed another walk out of Chacon, and the bases were loaded for Mike Rivera.  The seldom-used backstop then got a fastball right on the wrist.  Trainers checked Rivera’s wrist as he walked to first base, and Prince Fielder walked across home plate.  2-1 Brewers.

Fans have been cooling on Craig Counsell for his lack of offense, but the veteran shortstop put it into another gear today.  Counsell took the first pitch he saw and roped it into the right field gap for a two-RBI double.  4-1 Brewers.

That first inning opened the floodgates for the Brewers offense.  In the fourth inning, the Crew put up six runs, and it easily could have been many more.  Ryan Braun, who hit a laser over the right field wall earlier in the inning, came up with the bases loaded and two outs.  He got a little overanxious at the plate and bounced an easy ground ball to Miguel Tejada at short.

Russell Branyan continued his fine play for the Brewers.  He clobbered a two-run home run to the opposite field in the fourth inning.  Getting on base has not been a problem for Russell since his call-up a week ago.  In today’s game, the third baseman homered and walked, while striking out once.  He did hit a laser-like line drive to center his final at-bat, but it was right at Michael Bourn.  The offense looked goooood today.

After pitching seven innings of two-run baseball in his last outing, Dave Bush looked for a little consistency on the mound.  He gave up a solo home run to Mark Loretta in the first inning, and things weren’t looking up for Bush early in the game.

The offense must have sparked a fire in Bush after the first inning, as he settled in nicely to pitch another seven innings of solid, one-run baseball.  Ned Yost had to have been pleased with Bush’s outing today.  We all know that the Brewers manager loves Bush’s “bulldog mentality” on the mound, but fans love it when that turns into production during games.  Dave is pounding the strike zone more often in his last two starts, and he’s utilizing his cut fastball more.  His curveball is not nearly as slow and loopy, but has developed into a sharper curve.  That mechanical adjustment has turned into better command of the pitch.

Break out the brooms, Brewers fans!  The Milwaukee Brewers successfully repaid the favor to the Houston Astros and swept the slumping ‘Stros.  This has turned into a fine homestand for the Crew.

I would also like to point out that the Brewers hitters looked extremely good at the plate tonight.  I don’t mean they pounded out 10 hits and scored 10 runs.  They played with much better plate discipline tonight.  Shawn Chacon threw 40 pitches in the first inning.  Jack Cassel followed with 26 pitches in the second inning.  Brewers hitters were battling back from 0-2 and 1-2 counts to get it to 3-2.  I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the Brewers scored 10 runs through four innings when the Brewers were taking a lot of pitches.  The plate discipline was lost later in the game as players lost their focus a bit.  I hope that doesn’t translate to tomorrow’s game.

Records: Brewers (29-28 ); Astros (30-28 )

Hero of the Game: Milwaukee’s bench players

If you include Russell Branyan in this group, Milwaukee’s bench players went 8-19.  That’s a cool .500 batting average for this afternoon’s game.  The group also accounted for one home run and seven RBIs in the game.  It gets better.  They were hit by two pitches and drew four walks during the game.  Ned Yost couldn’t have drawn it up any better before the game.  A good team can be made a great team because of it’s bench.  The Brewers are not a great team, but they are playing like it at the moment.

Goat of the Game: Shawn Chacon

Shawn struck out the first two batters of the game.  He then hit Ryan Braun and absolutely imploded on the mound.  His final line: 1.0 IP, 2 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K and an error trying to pickoff Braun at first.  Chacon lost his composure on the mound, and the Brewers hitters capitalized in a big way.

On Tap

RHP Jeff Suppan will take on ex-Brewer LHP Doug Davis, as the Brewers welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks to town tomorrow.  The first pitch will be at 7:05pm CT.  This series will be difficult for the Crew, as Arizona is a very fine baseball team.  The team cannot get comfortable after sweeping the Astros.  Momentum can turn very quickly in baseball.

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3 responses

1 06 2008
Adam

While its great to get a win, it takes notice that the Brewers left 16 guys on base today. Granted six of them were Dave Bush’s but that number is still higher than I would like to see. While its great to get out to an early lead, the Brewers should never let up with how their season has gone so far.

1 06 2008
Aaron

Adam, be happy they got that many runners on base. You have to remember that the more opportunities you get with runners on, the more you score because eventually the hits will come. A lot of those runners were a result of walks and HBPs, which I’m thrilled about. I hope they can keep this discipline tomorrow with the very deliberate Doug Davis on the mound.

Sad note… even though the Brewers have won 5 of their last 6, they’ve actually lost a game on the Cubs, who mangled the Rox this weekend. I don’t expect the Cubs to slow down very much unless something drastic happens, ie a line drive to Zambrano’s face. Great pitcher, but I can’t stand the dude.

2 06 2008
Jim Breen

That’s an excellent point about Doug Davis, Aaron. The Brewers will need to stay patient at the plate tonight. Doug is very stubborn on the mound and will nibble at the corners all night. He does not want to get too much of the plate on any one pitch.

The Brewers did leave a lot on base yesterday. It wasn’t quite as bad as one would think though. Dave Bush, as you said, accounted for six of those base runners, and Ryan Braun accounts for three of them when he bounced out to short in the fourth inning.

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