Bats Support Sheets’ Outing

12 06 2008

An up-and-down afternoon for Ben Sheets was held up by another home run barrage from the Milwaukee Brewers bats. Corey Hart, feeling right at home in the lead-off spot, Prince Fielder, Mike Cameron all connected for long balls in a monster second inning to lift Ben through his start.

From early on Sheets was having trouble with his curveball. The power curve that usually slams down on opposing hitters was hanging up in the zone allowing the Astros to feast on some early chances. With theĀ curveball looking shaky Miguel Tejeda launched a fastball into the stands for a early Houston lead. Fielder evened the match with a solo shot of his own. Cameron put the Brewers ahead with a solo home run of his own; a lead the Crew would not surrender. Hart continued his power binge smashing a three-run home run.

Sheets struggled over the next two innings giving up an RBI single to Michael Bourn in the second and a solo home run to Darin Erstad in the third. Sheets looked out of sorts. His curveball wasn’t dropping and he seemed to be taking much longer in between pitches. Normally, Sheets works very quickly from the stretch, but this afternoon he was pacing about the mound instead of setting and pitching right away.

Whatever problems he had early on, Sheets put the Astros on lock-down like a prison warden after a riot. He retired Houston in order in the fourth and fifth innings. In the sixth and seventh innings, Sheets found his payoff pitch curveball. He dropped the hammer on Hunter Pence in the sixth and Tejeda and Lance Berkman in the seventh. Sheets finished the afternoon with a season-high nine strikeouts, with six of those coming in his last four innings of work.

Some poor glove work by Fielder in the eight made the game interesting, setting up a two-run Mark Loretta home run, but the gap between the Brewers and Houston was restored in the ninth with super-sub Gabe Kapler solo shot and an RBI single from Ryan Braun.

Records: Brewers (35-31), Astros (33-34)

Hero of the Game: Corey Hart

I LOVE this guy. I wrote yesterday that his two home runs should silence any critics of a previously soft bat and another home run today, one that put the Crew on top and gave Sheets the breathing room he needed to get comfortable, should put those critics six feet under. Hart even managed to make improvements on his defense with a great foul ball catch in the I-can’t-remember-inning.

Another point I wanted to make is that Hart’s success with the long ball has been parallel to the Brewers success as a team in the home run category. The Crew launched 10 home runs in the Houston series, including nine in the last two games. Over the last 12 games the Brewers have put 25 ball into the stands.

Goat of the Game: Lance Berkman

Its nice to put Jerk-man in this spot after his performance from Friday night. Berkman was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against Ben Sheets, including the one in the seventh where he looked like a total chump going after Sheets’ dirt ball. Not to mention he playfully hugged Fielder when trying to run out the third strike in said dirt. No one touches Princey.

On Tap: Dave Bush (2-6, 5.85 ERA) hits the mound against Minnesota’s Kevin Slowley (2-6, 5.26 ERA) in the opener of the Brewers’ nine-game homestand against the Twins, Blue Jays, and Orioles.

By: Dan Wiersema

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6 responses

12 06 2008
Jim Breen

Good stuff, Dan. I also liked how Ned Yost gave Hart the green light on the 3-0 pitch he absolutely smashed out of the park. It was one of Yost’s better moments. It shows how much confidence he has in Hart at the plate. He’s growing into a fine, fine player.

12 06 2008
Aaron

Highlight of the game for me was the play before Hart’s homerun. SHEETS TOOK A WALK!!

13 06 2008
bernie carbo

Hart said he was looking forward to batting lead-off so he would get a few more chances to steal a base…..funny how his homeruns have put a wrench in that plan.

13 06 2008
Dan Wiersema

Jim, absolutely. Great green light call. Aaron.. I though that was hilarious too that Sheets took a walk. Parra has his first career walk on Weds and now Sheets takes his first since 2006. Nice!

13 06 2008
gobrewers

not to put a damper on things…but the brewers are still not hitting with runners in scoring position. i know home runs are great, but it scares me what’s going to happen after they don’t come so often. there weren’t many base hits the past few days….

13 06 2008
Aaron

You’re absolutely right gobrewers. In my last post yesterday I said the Brewers have improved their homerun swing but at the sacrifice of walks and more opportunities with RISP. BARISP is important, but the opportunities are more important. You have good reason to be worried, but hopefully they can overcome it.

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