Power Propells Players

12 06 2008

A few days ago a commentator on this blog wrote that he was concerned about right fielder Corey Hart’s lack of power so far this season.  Hopefully all of those concerns have been eliminated because it was the power bat of Hart that lead the Crew to a 10-6 win over the Houston Astros.

For as punchless as Milwaukee was last night, the opposite was true for the Crew against a far less capable Brandon Backe.  He tried to locate the same inside pitches that Roy Oswalt was throwing (with great success) the night before, but he was off all night.  The result was hit after hit for the Crew (12 in all) that found the 3rd base line or the stands.  The Brewers ended a five game losing streak at Houston’s “Juice Box.”

Hart, of course, wasn’t the only hero for the Brew Crew. His 3-for-5 night, with two home runs, a double, and four RBIs makes him our “hero,” but more on that later.  Manager Ned Yost‘s line up moves, looking pretty poor in the opening game of the Houston series, played out with much more success.  JJ Hardy got on in the first inning with a double only to be replaced immediately by Ryan Braun with his RBI double.  It would set the tone for the evening.

Pitcher Manny Parra was looking strong through four innings before getting roughed up in the fifth, but his teammates bates were available to bail him out. After three consecutive wins and going deeper into the games, this start was a bit disappointing for Parra.  The bullpen was rested, though, and Carlos Villanueva and Mota (rebounding strongly from a rough Rockies game) proved to be solid. Mike Cameron, Russell Branyan, and Jason Kendall all provided timely home runs to create some breathing room for the Crew.

The trouble spot of the evening happened in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Hardy appeared to re-injure his surgically repaired left shoulder and was replaced in the line up by Bill HallCraig Counsell (the starter at second in Yost’s “soft platoon”) took over at SS and Hall fit in at second.

Despite this dark spot, Yost’s line up-shake up, in the absence of Rickie Weeks, proved to be very effective last night.  Hart was electric in the lead off spot and Branyan was equally up to the task of protecting Prince Fielder, although he hardly needed any protection after another tough evening.

Records:Brewers (34-31); Astros (33-33)

Hero of the Game: Corey Hart

In a night full of solid hitting, Hart was the brightest star.  The Brewers’ most consistent hitter was again amazing.  Despite his lack of power hitting, he has been just mashing the ball.  I was never concerned about the few homers as long as he kept on making solid and consistent contact with the ball.  Now the home run ball caught up with his base hit ball.  His only blemish was the missed diving catch late in the game. 

Goat of the Game: Prince Fielder

Fielder had an “oh-fer” game on Tuesday night and a 1-for-5 night yesterday.  As on Prince was just a week or so ago, he has slipped.  Prince has looked very comfortable at home, but shaky on the road and one might be able to connect the Brewers subsequent road woes to those struggles.  For the Crew to compete consistently on the road, Fielder has to be available too.  His defense has been pretty solid this year and his play last night as the cut off man cut another runner down on the bases (last night’s victim… Carlos Lee, whose out and prevented RBI was the difference for a while in a tight game).

On Tap: The Brewers will try and secure road series win with their ace on the mound.  Ben Sheets(6-1, 2.62 ERA) works against Brian Moelher (3-2, 3.76 ERA) in a matinee game with first pitch at 1:05 CT.

By: Dan Wiersema

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3 responses

12 06 2008
Jim Breen

Prince is overswinging, plain and simple. The big guy is trying to hit home runs instead of letting them come to him, and he’s not being nearly as patient at the plate. What’s so enticing about the shoulder-high fastball that he cannot lay off of it? Then again, it’s much easier said than done to lay off the high fastball.

12 06 2008
Dan Wiersema

Agreed, Jim. Just a few weeks ago it looked like he settled down and was making solid contact, getting hits, and the home runs were just a natural progression to his confidence, but not it looks like he’s sunk backwards to his early season struggles… overswinging… letting it all get into his head. I noticed he had a new facial-do… he always changes something when he’s down and out.

12 06 2008
Aaron

I agree. I think Prince is doing everything he can to increase his arbitration contract next season. There’s no way he’ll sign long term. How long before Corey realizes he could make just as much money and decides to try arbitration as well? It’s scary. I wish the guy would just sign a six year deal already, so we can get a discount and trade outfield prospects for pitching.

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