Brewers come from behind to bite the D’Backs

2 07 2008

Milwaukee has secured at least a split in the road series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The way almost all of the major leagues has played on the road this season, that is a victory in itself.  When you consider Brandon Webb will be on the hill tomorrow afternoon, the magnitude of this win is augmented greatly.

In one of the brightest stories of the 2008 season thus far for the Milwaukee Brewers, Seth McClung continued to impress on the mound as a starter.  I will be the first to admit that he did not have his A-stuff tonight.  The big guy may not have even had his B-stuff, but he battled and scraped together 5.1 innings while only giving up two runs.  The main thing: He gave the Crew a chance to win the game.  That’s what a starting pitcher must do.

Finishing with six strikeouts and only one walk, Seth excited the game in the sixth inning.  He scattered 8 hits and limited the damage.  Five of those hits, however, came in the first two innings.  His fastball had lots of life this evening, and McClung was dialing it up on the radar gun.  The big right-hander kept the team in the game and gave them a chance for a comeback.

And come back they did.

After Mike Cameron laced a two-out double in the seventh inning, Ned Yost called on Rickie Weeks to pinch hit.  Rickie has been out with a stomach virus the past two games, so it was a risky call on the part of the skipper.  Beware of the weary, however.  Weeks absolutely crushed an 0-2 pitch out of the park to left field.  3-2 Brewers.

The lead was short-lived though.  David Riske – who did throw more than fastballs today, by the way – gave up a first pitch bomb to Justin Upton.  It was almost a carbon copy of the Weeks home run.  3-3 Brewers.

For all the flak Mike Cameron has been getting from Brewers fans the past couple weeks, he came through in a big way tonight.  After Russell Branyan led off the inning with a single that ricocheted off Arizona first-baseman Mike Reynolds, Cam fought off a couple tough pitches before depositing the eventual game-winning single to left-center field.  That’s clutch hitting from the veteran center fielder.  That is why Doug Melvin signed him in the off-season.

Salomon Torres converted his 14th save after Branyan tagged third and threw a bullet to first base to end the game on a double play.  It was a big play by Russell, as Salomon worked himself in a spot of trouble after Orlando Hudson led off with a single and got to second after a deep fly ball to left.  All was for naught, however, as the Crew pulled out another one-run victory.

A couple other things to note after tonight’s game.  Did anyone else think that Stephen Drew’s cleat shot to Jason Kendall in the eighth was a cheap shot?  I understand he was trying to knock the ball loose from Kendall’s glove, but he risked seriously injuring Milwaukee’s catcher by spiking him in the gut.  I thought Kendall showed his true veteran mentality when he simply walked away from the situation.  Whether or not the Brewers catcher pursued the matter, I’m a little surprised a fine player like Stephen Drew would do that.  It was in the heat of the moment, but those metal spikes are no joke.

Joe Dillon pinch hit this evening and continued his fine approach at the plate.  He hit an absolute rocket out into deep left-center.  It looked to have a chance to get out of the park.  It certainly was going to give Milwaukee some insurance on the scoreboard.  That is, until Chris Young came out of nowhere to make a spectacular play, jumping into the wall and hanging on to the ball.  Fine play, Mr. Young.

Big Prince Fielder is still struggling at the plate.  He is going to very much welcome a little home cooking starting this weekend.  I’m not so sure Miller Park is going to help much unless he changes his approach at the plate, however.  He has a natural upper cut on his swing, which is why he hits so many home runs.  The upper cut is so pronounced right now though, that it is getting to Jim Edmonds territory right now.  Flatten out the swing, big boy.  That and don’t try to hit every ball out of the park.  That may help too.

This may be jinxing him, but J.J. Hardy continued his hit streak.  It is now at 14 games after a 2-4 performance with a clutch RBI in the sixth inning to start off the scoring for the Crew.  His bat is staying through the hitting area much longer right now, and he’s naturally getting better wood on the ball as a result.  That two-spot fits J.J. well, I think.

I have been unable to confirm this, but Arizona commentator Darron Sutton apparently said there is a deal going on between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers.  I did find it a little strange that Doug Melvin and Gord Ash have been attending this series, but there has been no confirmation.  The words were that the deal was going to come through “very, very soon.”

The only thing I can think of is a little help in the bullpen.  Arizona has some expendable arms with the likes of Tony Pena, Juan Cruz, and Chad Qualls.  They would almost certainly be looking for a bat in return.  Could Mike Cameron find himself on a plane to Arizona soon?  It could make some sense, as Gabe Kapler has been terrific.  Perhaps Gabe is the one in question.  Or perhaps this is completely unsubstantiated and nothing will happen.  Only time will tell.

Records: Brewers (46-38); Diamondbacks (42-43)

Hero of the Game: Mike Cameron

Mike came through today in a big way at the plate.  He almost hit one out of the park in the second inning, but it hit a little too far down on the trademark.  That at-bat was a sign of things to come for Mike, as he finished the game going 2-4 with two huge RBI.  His single in the ninth inning proved to be the difference in the game.  This is the type of player Mike Cameron can be on a daily basis.  Hopefully he can get on a hot streak sometime soon.

Goat of the Game: Prince Fielder

I understand Prince is an incredibly streaky hitter, but that swing needs to get a little flatter.  The plate discipline needs to improve.  He’s far too talented to fall into huge funks like he has this season.  Prince sorely needs to see Miller Park again.

On Tap

Manny Parra will take on Brandon Webb tomorrow afternoon in the series finale.  Parra has looked much better on the mound lately, and he’ll have to pitch effectively for Milwaukee to stand a chance against the fantastic Brandon Webb.

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8 responses

3 07 2008
Bernie Carbo

Interesting idea about DBacks bullpen, but I don’t think anyone is available. Brandon Lyon is the closer today, but he is walking on egg shells I think which leaves Tony Pena and everyone else needed just in case.

Sure was a relief to see Petit leave the game. I have no stats on this, but I’m thinking the Brewers offense is more Mendoza-ish when facing crafty pitchers….comparred to more fast ball pitchers. Maybe, this is totally obvious. Do you think Yost insert players based on their ability to wait and be selective against pitchers like Petit? If not, I wish he would consider situational platooning against certain pitchers. And base the platoon strictly on one’s ability or inability to wait on junk.

It doesn’t seem so ridicilously specialized to seek out a hitter who can hit off speed pitches.

Regarding Prince, I watched Josh Hamilton’s 2 strike approach last night with 2 outs and 2 on. Sure, it was against Sidney Ponson, but he made a nice pitch low and away and Josh waited back and took the easiest swing…soft liner up the middle…2 runs scored.

It must be tricky messing with a batters style considering he made it as far as MLB All Star….but the right instructor I would think can make a very subtle suggestion that makes a world of difference.

Aaron…that’s what probably separates decent hitting instructors from unforgetable hitting instructors.

3 07 2008
Dan Wiersema

Commentators were talking about Riske last night and apparently he’s given up on his slider for now. He was working on it earlier, before the DL stint, but no more. His first pitch that Young put in the stands was a sinking fastball… glad to see he’s going to try to throw some more pitches because Riske is starting to look like a one trick pony.

3 07 2008
Aaron

Tell you what, Riske may have given up that homerun but he looked a lot more comfortable out there. The Stephen Drew thing was definitely Bush League. I’m surprised Kendall didn’t do a damn thing about it. Perhaps retaliation is in order if there’s two out or a big lead. And finally, this is just another instance of the Brewers failing miserably against a pitcher they’ve never seen. It’s sickening.

3 07 2008
Bernie Carbo

If there is any retaliation it better get done today…last meeting. Somehow, I doubt Brewrs will retaliate. Remember last year The Mad Kapps of Pittsburgh and Princes clenched fists after scoring the winning run or was it two homers retaliation….Prince is the one to never back down, so if I’m gambling today…Prince will retaliate for the team by connecting off Webb.

3 07 2008
Bernie Carbo

It was May 8, 2007…A day after Prince got some Kapps chin music, the Prince hit two homeruns.
Kendall will retaliate with 4 infield singles today?…or maybe Rivera will catch the day after night game. Let’s go Prince.

3 07 2008
Aaron

If the rumors Sutton, who is not incredibly worth listening to, are true, I would be game for picking up Pena, Juan Cruz, Max Scherzer or Dan Haren in a deal. With Eric Byrnes tearing his hamstring on Monday, SCREW YOU SCHROEDER WHO SAID HE DIDN’T GET A GOOD JUMP AND IT WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA (sorry), the D’Backs really need something right away. LaPorta, Cameron and Bush for Scherzer and Cruz would be something I would really consider. Perhaps a Salome instead of Bush or a LuCroy. Scherzer is under control for at least six years and would give us at least four years of an awesome 1-3 rotation with Yo, Parra and Scherzer. It is no doubt questionable and a dream world, but it’s fun to consider.

3 07 2008
Bernie Carbo

No doubt a dream world

3 07 2008
Bernie Carbo

Aaron…with all due respect to you…I don’t share your views on Shroeder and really don’t understand why you are obsessing about the Byrnes play. It sure looked to me like Burnes was limping before his typical belly flop slides, but what do I know?

Now Darrin Sutton is another story. I do agree with you there. However, every announcing team operates on a different buzz and the Diamondback crew of Sutton and Grace are clearly clowns with the red hair thing and Big league and CAR….but man oh man…lightin’ up or don’t lighten up…it’s a free country, but I don’t see the sense in writing a comment if it’s personal attacks against player or announcer…
and please don’t take me as the thought police…I simply don’t see the pont.
As far as the Diamondbacks needing something, I think their need resembles the Brewers needs….disciplined hitters.

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