Glendon Rusch? Really?

10 07 2008

The Rockies have heard all about the Milwaukee Brewers the past three days, and they must be sick of it.  They decided to put together a little fireworks show of their own tonight.  8-3 Rockies.

This wasn’t supposed to happen tonight.  Glendon Rusch took the mound for the Rox, a slow-throwing left-hander.  The Brewers trotted out ace #2 tonight, Ben Sheets.  On paper, the Brewers should have run away with this game.

Sheets did his part, fanning a season-high 11 Rockies.  He looked to have his ‘A’-stuff tonight.  The first seven outs of the game for Sheets were via the strike out.  From early on, fans thought they were going to see something special tonight from Big Ben.  Ben did pitch fantastically, but the Rockies took advantage of every mistake he made – even if they were few and far between.

In the sixth inning, Ben walked Matt Holiday after a long at-bat.  The right-hander was visibly upset with himself, talking and muttering intently on the mound.  At this point in the contest, it was 1-1.  Benny looked to get out of the inning with a ground ball, but served up a home run to Garrett Atkins.  The pitch count reached 110 pitches after the inning ended – fittingly on a strike out – and the bullpen took over.

The bullpen imploded and gave away any chance for the Crew to get back in the game.  Mitch Stetter, after my singing his praises this afternoon, struggled with his command and gave up an RBI bloop single to Scott Podsednik.  Colorado led 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh.

Offensively, the Brewers came alive against Manuel Corpas.  The suddenly red-hot Bill Hall continued his fine swinging against a right-handed pitcher with a one-out double to jump start the Crew.  Mike Cameron followed with an RBI single, who later scored on an infield single by Russell Branyan.  Yes, Russell had a base hit that was not a home run.

In a 4-3 game, who is the last person Ned Yost should have called on at this point?  Guillermo Mota.  The veteran right-hander has struggled mightily over the past month and a half, and the Crew needed someone to come in and preserve the one-run deficit.  Instead, Guillermo gave up four runs on four hits, and the Brewers were suddenly down 8-3.  The Crew never got any closer.

Guillermo will not be seeing any meaningful playing time in the near future.  At least, he should not see any meaningful playing time.  Ned Yost is notorious for having too long of a leash, but the Brewers manager has been much better about that this season (see Derrick Turnbow and Julian Tavarez).  Do you want to know the most maddening part of his outing?  All four base hits came with two outs.  You have got to put a team away with two outs in an inning.  You simply cannot give up four straight hits, two of them being home runs, with two outs.  That will give you a lot of time on the bench to think about it.

I know I have harped on this for the past month now, but what is wrong with throwing a change-up?  Guillermo Mota threw it three times in the eighth inning.  He got Joe Koshansky – who later homered – to swing over the top of it, he got Matt Holiday to ground out weakly to the pitcher, and he got Omar Quintanilla to line out to Corey Hart.  That is three pitches and no hits.  Something tells me Mota should throw that a little more often.  What do I know though, right?

Overall, this is a devastating loss for the Brewers.  The Cardinals lost, but the Cubs won.  The Crew had a match-up that practically handed them a win.  Even after going six innings and giving up only one run, Rusch still has a 6.25 ERA.  He looked like an ace tonight.  Good grief.

Records: Brewers (50-41); Rockies (39-53)

Hero of the Game: Bill Hall

It’s nice to see Billy swinging a hot stick again.  It is even against righties and lefties this time around, which is huge for the Brewers third baseman.  In last night’s game, Billy hit a clutch two-run single against a right-hander, and he started off the mini-rally tonight in the seventh inning with a double off righty Manuel Corpas.  In the meantime, Hall is still raking against southpaws.  He provided the only offense against Glendon Rusch with his mammoth home run in the bottom of the second.

Goat of the Game: Guillermo Mota

Unfortunately, Mota’s $3.2M contract will be almost impossible to move before the trade deadline.  The big salary will almost certainly keep him on the roster.  Either Ned Yost will pitch Mota in some mop-up situations for right now and let him work out his issues, or Milwaukee will DFA the veteran right-hander and send him to the minors.  No one will pick-up Mota at this point, and he would likely accept a demotion to Nashville.  Even if he didn’t accept the move, he would forfeit his contract and become a free agent.  That sounds quite appealing, doesn’t it?

On Tap

RHP Dave Bush will look to help the Brewers split the series against LHP Jorge De la Rosa and the Colorado Rockies.  This is a huge game for the Crew, as they cannot afford to lose a 4-game series at home.  That would be devastating before the All-Star Break.  The game is not televised, but it will be on WTMJ at 1:05pm CT.

Advertisements




Round ’em Up: Wednesday

9 07 2008

Those are a couple of pictures I got of CC Sabathia during his pre-game warmup. They’re not very big on here, but program I’m using doesn’t let it get much bigger.

The atmosphere inside Miller Park was absolutely electric last night, and the Brewers did not disappoint. The Crew sent the fans home happy with a 7-3 victory over the suddenly hot Colorado Rockies.

In the first inning, Ryan Braun launched a 430′ home run into the left field bleachers. The guy behind me one row and two guys to the left caught the ball. I was about three feet away from getting my glove on it. How awesome would that have been? Oh well. Another day, another time, maybe.

Let’s get into the news.

  • Jim Powell says CC Sabathia delivered in a big way last night. The “Sabathia era” is now in motion, no matter how short of a time it would be. He has some audio from Sabathia himself, Doug Melvin, and the in-game audio from last night. In Sabathia’s post-game comments, he said he was overly excited and tried to overthrow a bunch of his pitches. I agree with that completely. It’s understandable that he was trying to impress the Miller Park crowd that gave him two or three standing ovations before even throwing a pitch.
  • In some other trade news, Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports is reporting that Milwaukee is showing interest in San Francisco’s second baseman Ray Durham and lefty reliever Jack Taschner. Durham makes a lot of sense for the Brewers, as Rickie Weeks is struggling again to find his swing. Taschner, on the other hand, is a little bit of a mystery to me. Mitch Stetter has better stuff than Jack, and Mitch is much younger. I would much rather Doug Melvin target someone like Jon Rauch from Washington. That would also deepen the bullpen past this season.
  • Milwaukee finally signs second-round draft pick RHP Seth Lintz. There was a bit of confusion last month, as a report had been leaked that Lintz had signed with the Crew when he hadn’t. That’s all inconsequential at this point. The young man went 9-0 with a 0.57 ERA in high school down in Tennessee last season. That’s not too bad. He will report to AZL Brewers very soon.
  • Driving home from the game last night, I turned on ESPN radio to see if the Cubs won or lost last night. After learning that they pulled out a win, I found out they traded for Rich Harden from the As. What?! That was quick! Chicago gave up Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, and minor-league catcher Josh Donaldson. The Cubs also received reliever Chad Gaudin to ease the load on Carlos Marmol. Not many Brewers fans are going to admit this after the big Sabathia trade, but this move by the Cubs hurts. I really thought they were going to be stuck with A.J. Burnett. By giving up Gallagher, however, their starting pitching depth is extremely thin. They cannot afford for Harden to get injured, and that is obviously no guarantee.
  • I never thought I would write this in 2008, but FOX Sports’ Dayn Perry actually wrote something positive about the NL Central. In fact, he even says good things about the Brewers! I’ll give you a second to catch your breath. He still gives the edge to the Cubs down the stretch, and it is very hard not to. Perry is right about something else, too. This is going to be a fun ride to the end of the season.
  • How did the Brewers react to the Rich Harden acquisition? Exactly as they should. Ned Yost couldn’t care less, and Doug Melvin loves the competition. The article also quotes Mark Attanasio saying that Doug Melvin is going to be looking for another piece before the trade deadline. Don’t get too excited though. Milwaukee simply cannot afford another big-name player. Their payroll is extremely high right now, and their is no room on the roster to add someone.
  • The Brew Town Beat is reporting that MLB.com contributor for Milwaukee said on the radio this morning that the back-end of the rotation will be a platoon once Jeff Suppan returns from the DL. Seth McClung is going to pitch on the road, and Dave Bush will take the ball at home. The statistics would argue that is a perfect solution, but I think McClung should move to the bullpen. It is extremely unlikely they will both be able to stay fresh pitching every 10th day or so. Give the ball to Bush every fifth and move McClung to the ‘pen. His control has improved greatly and could thrive in a late-inning role.
  • In-Between Hops takes a look at the Home Run Derby swing curse. It has long been suspected that the Home Run Derby messes up a player’s swing for the second half. Case and point, Bobby Abreu. This post, however, says it is a myth and gives some convincing statistics to back it up. Let’s hope Ryan Braun doesn’t come back from the All-Star Break trying to hit a home run every at-bat. Prince Fielder already does that.
  • Chuckie Hacks has an update on Derrick Turnbow in case you forgot about him.
  • Dugout Central hands out the mid-season Cy Young awards for both the NL and the AL. The clear-cut favorites are Edinson Volquez for the National League and Cliff Lee for the American League. There are others in the discussion, however. I just don’t understand how the article cannot even mention Ben Sheets in the Cy Young mix. That 10-2 record with a 2.77 ERA not doing it for you? Yes, Volquez has been better, but give Sheets his due. Mention him in the discussion.




Round ’em Up: Monday

7 07 2008

UPDATE 07-07-08 3:14 pm How about a few more afternoon reads?

  • Corey Hart has a small lead in the All-Star Game final vote.  Keep voting for Corey!
  • Jonathan Mayo from MLB.com breaks down the prospects Milwaukee gave up to land CC Sabathia – I guess there are no periods between the ‘C’s. I just learned that. Sorry, CC.
  • Jim Molony from MLB.com says the Sabathia will cause a ripple effect as we near the trade deadline. The Wild Card almost certainly will come from the NL Central, with the Cardinals, Brewers, and Cubs fighting over the division lead. It may cause some teams that were sitting on the fence to become sellers before July 31st.Molony also says the Cubs are taking this Sabathia deal very seriously. The team has almost been forced to make a move for a starting pitcher. Does Chicago’s farm system have the prospects needed, however? Unless they include big league talent, I believe it does not. The Cardinals, on the other hand, are now firmly in the market for the likes of Matt Herges and Brian Fuentes. I doubt one of those two will make the difference down the stretch, but the Cards now know they have to get another player.
  • J.J. Hardy has been named the National League Player of the Week for last week. Is there anyone else it possibly could have been? There is not a human being that is hotter than Hardy right now.
  • This CC Sabathia trade has already boosted ticket sales for the Crew. This morning the team sold 10,000 individual tickets to games at Miller Park for the rest of the season. Normally, Milwaukee sells 500 tickets each morning on the phone.3,000 tickets have been bought for tomorrow night’s game already. Sabathia will get his first start as a Milwaukee Brewers, and everyone wants to be a witness to it. Hell, I already bought my tickets to the game. I’m driving from Appleton to be a part of it. Say hello to higher revenues Mark Attanasio. Say hello to a higher payroll Milwaukee.

——————————————————————————–

Well…naturally, there is a whole lotta news out there today. So let’s get to it.

  • In case you have not heard, C.C. Sabathia is now a Milwaukee Brewer. Doug Melvin has agreed to send OF Matt Laporta, LHP Zach Jackson, RHP Rob Bryson, and a player to be named later. How did Melvin convince Cleveland that Zach Jackson had positive trade value?
  • A press conference happened today. Doug Melvin said the much improved play of the team really sparked the deal. He also mentioned that if fans were not coming out to the ballpark in record numbers, this trade would not have happened. That shows what a dedicated fan base can do for a team. Keep going to the ballpark everyone! It does make a difference.
  • On to something I am quite concerned about. Cleveland.com is saying the Player to be Named Later may not be 3B Taylor Green. If it was going to be someone not as good, the deal would become an absolute steal. That may not be the case, however. The blog is saying CF Michael Brantley may be the last player involved in the deal. Let me say, please no. Brantley has quickly become one of my favorite prospects, and I believe he’s more valuable than LaPorta down on the farm because he is good at everything. With Grady Sizemore in center, Brantley probably doesn’t fit with Cleveland, but I can understand why they want him included in the deal. I just hope the rumor is not true, as I would then think Doug Melvin got swindled in this deal. Yes, one prospect can make that big of a deal in the power balance of a trade.
  • Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports says that the Dodgers made a strong push to try to get Sabathia and Casey Blake. That would have been a blockbuster trade. They have shifted their gears to Pittsburgh shortstop Jack Wilson. The New York Yankees were also heavily involved, which is news to me.
  • In a different update, Ken Rosenthal discusses the power shift in today’s game. Prospects are power. Small and mid-market teams can compete with big-market teams if they handle their prospects properly. Rosenthal says the Dodgers may have a better farm system than the Brewers, but they are too afraid to trade prospects for big league talent. He argues the Dodgers could be a much better team if they employed the strategy Milwaukee did this week. It’s not all about money anymore.
  • The Chicago-Sun Times says that the Chicago Cubs are now pushing hard for Rich Harden from the Oakland A’s. I’m not sure Chicago has the pieces to get this done. A.J. Burnett is probably a better fit for them, as they could move Ronny Cedeno to Toronto. I cannot help but think Milwaukee just forced Chicago’s hand on this one.
  • The New York Times blog says that Doug Melvin and the Milwaukee Brewers are not done before the trade deadline. Joel Sherman brings up a few names: George Sherrill, B.J. Ryan, and the most interesting Joakim Soria from the Royals.
  • WaitingForNextYear is wondering how much this trade will affect the Cleveland Indians in the next few years. How long will it be before they are next in contention? If Matt LaPorta can provide some offensive fireworks in 2009, they may have the tools to rebuild faster than people believe.
  • Take a look at C.C. Sabathia’s home page. He looks pretty good in a Brewers uniform, yes? (A tip of the cap to Chuckie Hacks for that one.)
  • Lost in the shuffle of the Sabathia news, Brew Crew Pub has a series preview of the Brewers-Rockies series starting tonight.
  • Both The Junkball Blues and Between the Green Pillars have a lot of reservations about the package Milwaukee gave up to Cleveland. If Taylor Green is the other player, the package is probably about the best possible scenario for the Brewers. If Michael Brantley will be included in the deal, Milwaukee gave up too much in the deal.
  • The Yost Infection says “Yes Please” to the Sabathia deal.
  • In-Between Hops says the Brewers strategy of drafting the best available player in the draft made this deal possible. If Milwaukee wouldn’t have drafted Matt LaPorta because they were worried about Prince Fielder blocking him, the team wouldn’t have been in position to make this deal. As all Brewers fans now, Jack Zduriencik knows what he’s doing.
  • Right Field Bleachers is looking forward to the playoffs, where C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets will be an unbelievable 1-2 punch in a five or seven-game series.
  • The Brew Town Beat writes that the Cardinals and Cubs are now absolutely terrified the Brewers are going to catch them now. My guess is that the Cards are not terrified, as Milwaukee tied them after yesterday’s win, but both teams now realize that Milwaukee is a legitimate contender. Both teams may have just been forced to make a deal they didn’t want to make.
  • Chuckie Hacks believes the Milwaukee Brewers just grew up last night. They have graduated from AAAA ball to the big leagues. I’m not sure I would go that far, but I understand the analogy.
  • Two Fisted Slopper wishes the Brewers would have not had to have traded Matt LaPorta. I understand, but sometimes a deal just has to get done so the Brewers can get to the post-season.
  • Team Wisconsin has given Milwaukee a spot in the playoffs now. They also say that Seth McClung will be the odd-man out in the rotation. Could he even be traded? I doubt it, as Doug Melvin believes the team can never have enough pitching. After Spring Training, I completely agree with that. (Hat tip to Right Field Bleachers)
  • Brewers Bar says the Crew gave up a lot to get the deal finalized, but Brew Town should celebrate now that Sabathia is coming to town.
  • Brewers Fanatics believes Sabathia could actually make a difference at the plate as well. He is a career .300 hitter in 40 at-bats. Unfortunately, I don’t think that means anything, but it’s nice to think about.
  • The Bucky Channel wants to run up and down the streets to celebrate the trade, as do the majority of Brewers fans.




Round ’em Up: Wednesday

2 07 2008

Last night was a little frustrating to watch down the stretch, but the Brewers were able to pull out a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 2008 Brewers certainly have a knack for making their wins tough at the end of the game. They need a few blow-out wins. My heart gets a little stressed out after wins like last night.

  • Brew Crew Pub has a recap of the game from last night. Make sure you show BN reader Aaron a little love.
  • Jim Powell has an interview with Ryan Braun about the All-Star Game and a mailbag from last night’s game. He has a little token recap of the game, but nothing in-depth.
  • In case you were confused last night, Rickie Weeks missed the game because of a stomach virus. I’m not sure how long he will be out, but stomach viruses can last for a few days. At least Joe Dillon has looked incredibly solid in his past couple games. It might be good for him to get a few more at-bats.
  • Before last night, Milwaukee had not scored in 22 and 1/3 innings against relief pitchers. It is amazing that they have won as many games on this road trip as they have with those numbers. Part of the struggles have been due to the lack of patience at the plate. The streak ended last night when Mike Rivera it that ridiculous opposite-field double at his eyes.
  • FOX Sports Fantasy Baseball says that Salomon Torres appears to have secured the closer’s role in Milwaukee. Really? Perhaps the fact that Ned Yost said Torres is Milwaukee’s closer was a little too subtle. Sheesh. Salomon has been 13 for 13 in save situations since Eric Gagne went on the DL. Of course he’s staying put.
  • Al’s Ramblings has a quote from Peter Gammons on his blog today. It says that scouts believe there are at least five legitimate major league players on that roster. Another scout says that Huntsville has the best prospects he has ever seen in a minor league system. Jack Zuriencik, I thank you on behalf of all Brewers fans.
  • Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports says that the Brewers are interested in RHP Vicente Padilla. Rosenthal says that it would take quality young pitching to get Padilla out of Texas, however. The 30-year old right-hander has a 4.06 ERA playing in the tight Texas ballpark. Let me put it this way, Vicente Padilla is not my first, second, or third choice for a starting pitcher acquisition. In fact, he was not on my radar. Doug can do better than that.
  • Dugout Central has a nice look at the year thus far, giving a bunch of stats on every team in every division.
  • The Baseball Analysts has a Triple-A All-Star team on its site. Today, the site selected its starting rotation and bullpen. Mark DiFelice is coming out of the ‘pen. His walk-to-strike out ratio is ridiculous. I very much like DiFelice and think he can be a productive member of Milwaukee’s bullpen in September and into next season.
  • Diamond Hoggers gives Ben Sheets the NL Comeback Player of the Year award. I understand the logic, but Gabe Kapler deserves a look for that award. He was completely out of baseball last season and is now hitting north of .300 in the major leagues. That’s a comeback.Oh, and I utterly disagree with Joey Votto being the NL Rookie of the Year. I’ll excuse it though, as the site has an obvious Cincinnati bias. Not that it’s a bad thing. This site may or may not have a pro-Milwaukee bias.
  • C Michael Roberts made quite the debut last night for the Helena Brewers. He homered in his first professional at-bat, and also had a two-run triple later in the game. Not bad, young man.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies demoted Brett Myers to the minors yesterday, and he surprisingly accepted the move. This all but cements Philadelphia’s inclusion in the starting rotation market. They are said to covet Erik Bedard, but C.C. Sabathia could become a real possibility in a couple weeks.




Round ’em Up: Tuesday

1 07 2008

There is not too much going on the web today.  At least, nothing of too much substance.  Everything is focused on the possible C.C. Sabathia trade to Milwaukee.  That is understandable, as that would be the biggest news that happened to Milwaukee baseball in quite a few years.

  • (Hat tip to battlekow at Brew Crew Ball) A Cleveland Indians blog, Tribe Report, takes a look at what Milwaukee could give Cleveland to get the deal done.  They are focused on getting Prince Fielder.  I will never say never, but…I see very, very, very little chance of Doug Melvin trading Prince before the off-season.
  • Doug Melvin talked to Tom Haudricourt about some trade possibilities.  The Brewers GM said that he is always keeping his ears open to trades.  It certainly does sound like Doug is pretty set on making a trade before the deadline.  He says he is not going to do anything stupid, however.  I guess he is saying that because of the Linebrink trade last season.  Let’s hope a Linebrink-esque trade doesn’t happen.
  • Joe Morgan from ESPN says that Milwaukee should try to sign Ben Sheets this off-season.  Good.  I’m glad he’s incredibly informed.
  • Jeff Sackmann from Brew Crew Ball takes a look at the first half of the season.  He concludes that Milwaukee is quite lucky to have 44 wins at this point.  I think the negative run differential is mostly due to the beginning of the season.  That will need to change though.
  • Scout.com says Manny Parra is starting to figure things out on the mound.  That is good news for the Brewers, obviously.




Round ’em Up: Monday

30 06 2008

I think all Brewers fans are relieved that Interleague play is over.  More specifically, I think we’re all happy to get out of Minnesota.  They are playing some very, very good baseball right now.  They made the Milwaukee Brewers – who are playing good ball in their own right – look very pedestrian.

The Crew now moves on to Arizona to take on the D’Backs tonight.  Let’s see what’s in the news.

  • I hope you all have some medicine handy.  The Milwaukee Brewers activated Eric Gagne from the 15-day DL and sent down Mark DiFelice.  Gagne has been analyzed every way possible, so I’ll leave that alone.

    DiFelice, on the other hand, has been a pleasant surprise this season.  He has struggled against left-handers in the big leagues, but still posted a 3.95 ERA in 10 appearances.  The word is that he’s going to start in Triple-A.  That should bring some relief to a horrid starting rotation in Nashville.

  • Jayson Stark from ESPN.com says that one GM that has talked to Doug Melvin reported that Milwaukee will not be afraid to ship its prospects to Cleveland to get C.C. Sabathia in a Brewers uniform.  It will be interesting to see if this is true.  Will Doug be willing to ship the likes of Jeremy Jeffress, Matt LaPorta, or Mat Gamel to Cleveland?  I’m not so sure he is.

    This is not a very reliable source, but a post in the Brewerfan.net forum gives a recap of a radio show in which Doug Melvin appeared.  He said that the Brewers are interested in adding a #2 or #3-type starter to the rotation.  There are some untouchables in the farm system.  He says he will not trade someone he can control for six years for someone he only has for a couple months.  It would be a “quantity trade.”

    To me that “quantity trade” sounds like something right up Billy Beane’s alley in Oakland.  Rich Harden anyone?

  • Right Field Bleachers gives a little review of the past week.  I didn’t realize that Ryan Braun was tied for third in the NL in outfield assists.  He does have a great arm out there, that’s for sure.
  • The Brew Town Beat wonders if Ned Yost is setting up the Milwaukee Brewers for another Summerfest Swoon.  I still think it is crazy how their post after winning Saturday’s game is all about how 08 is totally different than 07, yet after a single loss, the whole season is going down the drain.  It’s a long season.  There are going to be ups and downs throughout the whole season.  I enjoy their writing at The Brew Town Beat, but their outlook on the season changes game-by-game.  Look at the bigger picture boys.
  • Our friend Aaron has a Brewers-Diamondbacks preview for you all.  Give it a look, as he spends a lot of time writing those previews.  It’s good stuff.
  • The Yost Infection is back after a long hiatus, and his target is Michael Hunt from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  The hilarity of his name aside, Mike Hunt is apparently a little slow in figuring out that Ben Sheets was going to test free agency all along.
  • The newly drafted Evan Frederickson has performed so well in Helena in the couple weeks he’s been there, that he has been promoted to West Virginia.  (Hat tip to battlekow at Brew Crew Ball.  He certainly knows how to get it done.)
  • There has been a lot of movement in the Brewers farm system in the past week or so.  Let me give you a run down of some of the promotions, demotions, etc.

    RHP Jason Shiell – Transferred from Nashville to Huntsville
    RHP Jake Orodizzi – Sent to AZL Brewers
    RHP Josh Wahpepah – Transferred from Huntsville to Brevard County
    LHP Troy Cate – Acquired from Orange County and sent to Huntsville
    RHP Joe Bateman – Transferred from Huntsville to Nashville
    LHP Steve Bray – Transferred from Nashville to Huntsville
    RHP Nic Ungs – Transferred from Nashville to Huntsville
    LHP Evan Frederickson – Transferred from Helena to West Virginia
    C Martin Maldonado – Transferred from Brevard County to Huntsville
    C Chris Corporan – Transferred from Huntsville to Nashville





Complete Game Sheets Saves the Day Again

24 06 2008

I’m stunned, absolutely stunned. If you told me in April that Ben Sheets would be as dominate as he has been this season I would have laughed you out of the refrigerator box I live in. Sheets has great stuff (which is an understatement) and has proven to be durable when he’s healthy. But that’s the key phrase: “healthy.”

We’ve all come to getting used to Big Ben getting hurt. Even the local NBC affiliate began this season updating us with a new Brewers stat, DOR, or “days on roster” for Sheets. The feeling was that is was nice to have Sheets around, but an injury was inevitable.

I can’t say for certain that something won’t happen to Sheets, but so far this season he is pitching like a mid-season CY Young candidate. There have been games where he has struggled with his command at times or his single terrible outing against the Dodgers, but when its all said and done Sheets has been unbelievable.

Last night was no different. Sheets went nine innings, allowing only four hits, one run, while striking out seven. The two most impressive parts of his performance were that: 1) he didn’t register a K until the last out of the fourth inning, so all seven took place in less than five innings ; and 2) he is also a workhorse. Going into the pre-bottom of the ninth inning commercial break the Crew was in a save situation. Was Salomon Torres going to have to come out again? Nope, Sheets to the rescue. He had retired the last 13 batters in order, so wasting the last three in order was nothing new to the staff ace.

Mike Cameron was great in his return from a toe injury, putting the Brewers on the board in the second with a two run home run to left. The first runs against Jo-Jo Reyes spelled trouble for the young pitcher. By the third inning, Reyes was pulled by Braves manager Bobby Cox, after giving up two more runs and loading the bases. Unfortunately, the Braves wiggled off that hook and held Milwaukee scoreless for the rest of the game. Buddy Carlyle three 4 1/3 innings of scoreless ball allowing only two hits and stranding Brewer runners at third in three separate innings.

But, the Brewers had Sheets on the mound and as the Braves tightened their part of the game, he only got better.

Records: Brewers (42-34), Braves (38-40)

Hero of the Game: Ben Sheets

If I didn’t give the “hero” award to Sheets he’d be as mad as if Ned Yost didn’t let him finish last nights game (remember when Yost took him out with one out left a few weeks ago?). Everything about how Sheets went through last night’s game was a testament to what a great pitcher he is. All his strikeouts came in the fourth inning or later. He faced only one, ONE, three ball count during the whole game. SIXTEEN batters in a row. Seventh consecutive win. 6-0 on the road. 9-1 record. The achievements are astounding. Punch his ticket to Yankee Stadium this All-Star break.

Goat of the Game: Bill Hall

Poor guy can never catch a break. A rare start and he goes 0-for-4, with a strikeout, and leaves three on base. Everyone of his at-bats he put hard hit balls into play. If Russell Branyan wasn’t so dominate right now I’d really be feeling for this guy.

On Tap:

The Braves march Charlie Morton (1-0, 4.91 ERA) to the mound to stop the bleeding. Dave Bush (3-7, 5.26), coming off his best start of the season, will try to secure the road series win for the Crew. Game time 6:05 CT on FSN.

By: Dan Wiersema