Home runs cannot push Crew past Twins

27 06 2008

The offense did it’s part, but it wasn’t enough.

Corey Hart’s two homers were not enough to overcome Minnesota’s seven runs.  J.J. Hardy confused everyone watching by socking a two-run home run to the opposite field.  A monster blast by Russell Branyan was not enough.  The 12 hits pounded out by the Crew were not enough to pull out the ‘W’ tonight.

A long story short…one cannot blame Milwaukee’s offense for losing tonight’s game against the Twins.  Even Rickie Weeks continues to swing a pretty good bat since coming off the DL this week.  It may just be me, but Rickie always seems to rake after coming off an injury.  Just an observation.

The infallible Seth McClung came down to earth a bit this evening, struggling through 4.2 innings and giving up five runs.  Minnesota managed nine hits off the big right-hander.  Seth simply didn’t have his ‘A’ stuff tonight.  Heck, he didn’t even have his ‘C’ stuff.  After the bunch of fine performances in the past couple weeks, however, I am more than willing to look past this start.

Seth’s control was spotty at best today, as he found far too much of the plate far too often.  He seemed a little reluctant to throw the curveball this evening, and the Twins hitters jumped on his fastball.  The big man put together a poor outing in every sense, and he will look to rebound next week.  Let’s hope he does in a big way.  The rotation has begun to rely on Seth at the back-end.  If he begins to lose his command, the Brewers may seriously begin to push the C.C. Sabathia envelope.

With a tie game, Ned Yost turned to Guillermo Mota to preserve the 6-6 tie.  Mota has been struggling over the past month, but he looked to be throwing the ball quite well tonight.  Even Joe Mauer’s go-ahead solo shot was a 96 mph fastball at his shoulders.  That is not a location mistake.  A pitcher cannot do anything but tip his cap to the hitter at that point.  It was a good pitch.  Mota couldn’t go to the slider on an 0-2 count to a lefty.  If he hung it, it was gone.  He and Kendall made the right decision, and Mota threw it where Kendall wanted it.  Joe Mauer simply connected.  Ballgame.

The Brewers made it interesting in the top of the ninth against closer Joe Nathan, but were unable to capitalize.  Prince Fielder was up at the plate with runners and first and second.  A grounder to first base ended the threat, however.  Fielder is still over-aggressive when he has the chance to win the game in the ninth.  He needs to relax more at the plate.  Maturity will help alleviate that tension though.  It will come.

Records: Brewers (43-36); Twins (44-36)

Hero of the Game: J.J. Hardy

I know Corey Hart hit two home runs today, but J.J. did something I never thought I would see again.  He drove the ball with authority to the opposite field and hit a home run.  The Brewers shortstop went 2-5 in the two-hole in the lineup.  He has continued to look pretty good since being moved to the two spot.  If Hardy can consistently drive the ball to right field with authority, pitchers will have to pitch him inside again.  Brewers fans should know what Hardy can do with an inside fastball.  His scorching start to the 2007 season should be an indicator of that.  He mashes the inside fastball.

Goat of the Game: Seth McClung

This award cannot go to Guillermo Mota tonight.  He did not throw a bad 0-2 pitch to Joe Mauer.  It was shoulder-high and at 96 mph.  What more can you ask for from Guillermo?  The all-star catcher simply deposited his strikeout pitch over center field.

Seth McClung, on the other hand, had a terrible outing.  The big right-hander was unable to preserve any lead Milwaukee had over Minnesota, and it eventually came back to bite the Crew.  I look forward to next week when fans can see how he responds to this start.  He’s done nothing but impress thus far, so I suspect that will continue next week.

On Tap

Rookie left-hander Manny Parra will battle veteran right-hander Livan Hernandez tomorrow night in Minneapolis.  The game will start at 6:10pm CT.  Manny looks to rebound from a below-average start, but it will not be an easy task against the surging Twins.  Control will be key for Manny tomorrow evening.

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16 responses

28 06 2008
Dan Wiersema

Princy – O fer like 17 now. Kid has to relax….

28 06 2008
Aaron

McClung was up when he missed and the movement was gone. Unlike Cox, Yost doesn’t realize when his pitcher just doesn’t have it. McClung should have never stepped into the fifth inning, especially with the All-Star Break so close. Obviously that’s not the only reason they lost the game. Tonight was the first time I really saw Braun dog it in the outfield. I was disguested. Prince may have been ofer tonight, but you can’t say it was because he sucked. That Casilla play was wicked good.

28 06 2008
Bernie Carbo

Aaron…Brauntesorius might have lost that one in the white dome if you are referring to that foul ball that he suddenly stopped pursuing..but he made a bulls eye throw….an amazing game that serves the rivalry well.

Question….I don’t like second guessing managers, but with Weeks on first and one out against Joe Nathan, what were the chances of us getting back to back hits? Shouldn’t Rickey have stirred things up and attempted to steal second? We have a weapon in Weeks on base and we let him sit their for 5 pitches. You can’t beat Nathan and the Twins at home without taking a risk. I get the feeling sometimes that Yost is possessed by the ghost of George Bamberger’s wait for the three run homer..

28 06 2008
JAMES WRIGHT

McClung may not have had his best stuff, but don’t forget that he left the game with the lead. He couldn’t have gotten the win, but at least he didn’t exit with the loss. It was the bullpen’s job to protect that lead. I thought he was being squeezed just a little bit at home plate too. I was impressed that after he gave up 2 walks in the 1st, he came back and didn’t issue another. Especially after coming off a 5 walk outing.

As for Brauny, he had an off night. He misjudged the ball that hit the bottom the wall (the one he turned to watch go over the fence, but didn’t), and the foul ball (which is still a mystery to me). No one is perfect every night, but we really needed him to be that way for this game.

Fielder is a great player, but lately he has been going through his share of slumps. The problem is that when he breaks his slump……there is another one just around the corner. Is he healthy? Something is not clicking with this scenario. He is too good of a player to be having so many slumps or o-fers. The Brewers need him to be a solid part of the offense on a daily basis….not just one week out of each month.

28 06 2008
Bernie Carbo

James…I am no expert by any means but after watching Fielder for most of the season, I don’t think there is an injury issue. I think what Dan said is very true. He is pressing. He needs to relax…..and pressing translates into being overly aggressive and swinging at bad pitches. Remember, Fielder is the reigning home run champion so pitchers are pumped up to face him. Whatever weaknesses Fielder has a reputation for are being exposed. I totally agree with you about Fielder being a great hitter and I think he is gonna be even gretaer as he learns to wait for his kind of pitch. He will walk more and hit the ball everywhere.

28 06 2008
hobo hal

Did Mota hit the target Kendall set? My memory is that he was under it.

28 06 2008
Jim Breen

He may have been under it a bit, but the point is that a 96 mph fastball above the letters is not a bad pitch. How many times have Brewers hitters swung and missed at a pitch that high? It’s very, very difficult to catch up to. It wasn’t a bad pitch, whether or not it was below where Kendall put his glove.

28 06 2008
Aaron

Bernie, Nathan did an incredible job keeping Rickie at first. He may not have thrown over there, but made him wait for an incredibly long time each pitch. That really keeps the runner second guessing his jump and Rickie never even tried. I’m sure he had the green light, but the opportunity just wasn’t there.

28 06 2008
Bernie Carbo

Good insight Aaron. We were wondering while watching the game whether Nathan had a good move or not….I guess there are other ways to weaken a running game.

We’ve talked about the Brewers running game before. Man, I sure wish they would atempt some more steals. I don’t see any other way to improve Weeks….Hart…..Braun confidence on the base paths.

So many times I have heard that Braun is less likely to steal in order to not be thrown out with Fielder at the plate. On the other hand, maybe Braun being moe of a threat would cause a pitcher to lose focus on Fielder. As it stands now, Braun runs from second to third when the pitcher is not paying attention. Potentially, I see Braun being a big base stealer. He takes a huge lead and has as much confidence as anyone in the league.

28 06 2008
Aaron

Braun could be a 20 SB guy if he was more aggressive, and while you might not want people to pitch around Prince, I have a feeling pitchers would rather face him right now instead of Corey Hart who can damage you in so many different ways.

28 06 2008
Bernie Carbo

I’d like to see Braun put more pressure on the pitcher when he reaches first base and Fielder is batting. I’m not suggesting an automatic Braun steal attempt, but at least plant the possibility in the opposition’s head. Ideally, it might get Fielder some “woops! didn’t mean to throw that kind of pitch.” And then it would ideally leave Hart batting in more RBI situations.

28 06 2008
hobo hal

I don’t remember the pitch at the letters much less above. Gameday agrees. Maybe above the bellybutton.

28 06 2008
Jim Breen

After rewatching the video of the blast, I’ll give you that it wasn’t above the letters. Saying it was at the belly button though is not true. You can pause it when he hits the ball, the ball is at the letters.

The real problem with the pitch selection is that he threw the last two pitches in the exact same spot. Either way, Mauer hit a home run and the Brewers lost the game. It was a hard-fought game on both sides, and the Twins won. They’re hot right now. Hopefully the Crew can go in and pull out the series win. That would be huge.

28 06 2008
JAMES WRIGHT

Bernie,
I don’t think he is injured, but maybe the whole “no meat” thing isn’t agreeing with him, or maybe the pressure of living up to last year’s preformance is getting into his head. I just feel that something is amiss.

28 06 2008
Bernie Carbo

James….I don’t know about the whole meat thing. We’d have to study a sample of home run hitter years and how they performed the year after in their meat free season.
Is it possible that there are no stats on this?
But seriously, I think Princes first two at bats tonite Saturday are a decent indication of what is going on. First at bat….evety pitch from Hernandez was a border line outside strike..Prince bit the bate and struck out……Secend at bat…exact same strategy by Hernandez….border line outside strike….Prince took a walk…It must be terribly frustrating to be continuously pitched around..

28 06 2008
JAMES WRIGHT

You do make a good point!

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