Round ’em Up: Saturday

5 07 2008

Thank goodness the Crew came back with a nice win yesterday.  Milwaukee could not afford a hangover after the horrendous collapse on Thursday.  Dave Bush looks to build a little winning streak tonight against Paul Maholm and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

  • Tom Haudricourt says that the Brewers are still actively pursuing C.C. Sabathia.  The latest rumor is that Doug Melvin is offering Matt LaPorta/Taylor Green/Lorenzo Cain as a package to try to get last year’s AL Cy Young award winner to Milwaukee by Tuesday.  This is quite a bit to be giving up for a 2 or 3 month rental, but it could very well push the Brewers over the top.
  • The Brew Town Beat fully expects Sabathia to be in Milwaukee by Tuesday.  I’m not totally sure that will happen, but Doug Melvin could perhaps get it done if he so chooses.  Brew Town also says that Melvin should also trade for Brian Fuentes.  I do agree that the bullpen needs another quality arm, but it needs to be one that can be controlled past the 2008 season.  That is not Fuentes.  Besides, Fuentes has not been pitching well at all the past couple weeks.  I’ve read that scouts have not seen an “out pitch” from Fuentes lately.  None of his pitches are moving much.  That is not who I want to trade a valuable prospect for this season.
  • Between the Green Pillars says that Ned Yost managed scared yesterday afternoon.  Because he used Carlos Villanueva for 3.1 innings, which makes him unavailable for the next three or four days.  The article argues that Yost should have used a different pitcher in the eighth and ninth, but he was too scared to do so because of Thursday’s collapse.  I do agree with his point that Milwaukee is now without a long man in the ‘pen because of yesterday.  You want to know what is interesting?  If C.C. Sabathia makes it into Milwaukee’s rotation, either Dave Bush or Seth McClung becomes the long man.  That would work out pretty nicely.
  • The Baseball Analysts continued their All-Star team from Triple-A.  Brad Nelson makes it in the outfield for the Brewers.  Nelson could be a nice addition to the team in September.
  • The Yost Infection asks Milwaukee’s play-by-play announcers to please stop celebrating J.J. Hardy’s defense.  It is not more than average because of his terrible zone rating.  I personally think the zone rating stuff is a little overrated.  J.J. is a rock at shortstop.  He doesn’t make plays?  In the last road trip, he flipped a ball with his glove to Rickie to start a double play, he made a diving stop in the hole, and his throws are always perfect.  Doesn’t make plays, huh?
  • Florida Today has an article about how difficult it is to hit home runs down in Brevard County because of this winds.  That is why you have to take the low power numbers from the likes of Lorenzo Cain and Taylor Green with a grain of salt.
  • The Charleston Daily Mail says that Milwaukee Brewers most likely will not renew their contract with the West Virginia Power next season.  Rumor has it that the Crew wants to sign the local Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in Appleton, WI to their Class-A affiliate.  I would absolutely love that, as I currently live in Appleton.  I would be a regular at the games, if that would happen.
  • Huntsville infielder Michael Garciaparra does not regret his move to play professional baseball over taking his scholarship to Tennessee.




Lack of defense and control dooms Brewers

14 06 2008

This morning I was feeling rather calm concerning the Brewers.  After tonight’s game, however, I have been reminded about what this team lacks.

You simply cannot win games with stupid mental errors.  Ryan Braun needs to learn to hit the cut-off man.  I understand he’s trying to preserve the lead, but the margin for error is so small.  You have to play the percentages at that point.  He did show off his arm on that play, however.  Corey Hart has got to stay in front of the ball in the outfield.  The cardinal rule in the outfield is to keep the ball in front of you at all costs.  He cost the Brewers a run in the ninth inning.  Bill Hall needs to get out in the field further when Mike Cameron is up against the wall.  He cost the Brewers another run.  A lack of concentration on the defensive side of the ball cost the Brewers tonight.

What to do about it?  Bill Hall cannot play second base.  Three errors in two games at the position is not going to cut it.  With that said, Joe Dillon looked solid at second today.  I can forgive Ryan Braun for making an aggressive play.  He’s inexperienced in the field, and he let his emotions get the better of him.  The coaches will sit him down and explain the situation.  He will make the right choice the next time.  Corey Hart, on the other hand, has no excuse.  Overrunning the ball and then trying to lazily reach down to pick up the ball is inexcusable.

Jeff Suppan threw the ball quite well today.  His solid outing was overshadowed by the length of the game and the dramatics near the end, but seven innings of two-run ball is impressive.  Soup has been a rock in the rotation this season.  He’s truly earning his money thus far in 2008.

The relievers, however, struggled mightily.  Carlos Villanueva did not have his usual control on the mound, leaving the ball up in the strike zone for the Twins to slap all over the field.  He just hasn’t had his “A” stuff in his last couple outings.  Fans shouldn’t be worried, however.  The young right-hander has been the model of consistency in the bullpen the last couple seasons.  He will bounce back.

Julian Tavarez, on the other hand, hasn’t shown any consistency since being signed.  The movement on his pitches is phenomenal, but the control has been notably absent.  In his 1.1 innings of work, he gave up four hits and three walks.  The veteran worked from behind the whole night.  He’s not cutting it on the mound.  If he wants to get the ball in important situations, throwing strikes is key.

Amidst all the frustration that ended the night, fans at the ballpark tonight were treated to a dandy.  In the ninth inning, the Brewers trailed by one with two outs.  Russell Branyan gets the call to pinch hit.  He has one job at the plate: Tie the game.  On a fastball middle-in from Twins closer Joe Nathan, Russell absolutely clobbered a solo home run to tie the game at four a piece.  All looked right for the Crew going into extra innings.

Things even looked better when Prince Fielder connected on a high fastball in the bottom of the 11th.  The towering shot appeared to clear the wall just over the fingertips of Carlos Gomez, but the umps ruled it a triple.  Boos rained in from around Miller Park, and Ned Yost came out on the field to argue the call.  After seeing the replay, however, it was clear the ball bounced off the inside corner of the wall and back into the field of play.  The umpires made the right call.  A game of inches indeed.

Yost went back into the dugout and play resumed, but Milwaukee was unable to plate Prince home from third.  Mike Cameron swung at a ball way off the plate and hit a dribbler to the pitcher’s mound.  The momentum shifted to the Minnesota Twins, and they never looked back.  A rough, rough game for the Crew tonight.  They should have won the game multiple times.

Records: Brewers (35-33); Twins (34-35)

Hero of the Game: Russell Branyan

Russell had the touch for late-inning heroics today.  After sitting on the bench the entire game, the Brewers’ skipper called on him with two-outs in the bottom of the ninth against Joe Nathan.  Russell didn’t get cheated in his at-bat.  He absolutely killed a Nathan fastball into right-center field.  How clutch can you be?

This will be immensely unpopular, I’m sure, but Russell needs more playing time.  He has been better than advertised defensively at third base, and he’s seeing the ball incredibly well.  I understand he has not hit lefties well this year in the big leagues, but he had pretty good success in the minors.  You can say it was the minors all you want, but everyone said that before he got called up too.  Look how that turned out.  Give the guy a chance.  Bill Hall has sure proven he doesn’t deserve regular playing time.

Goat of the Game: Corey Hart

Yes, Julian Tavarez pitched horrendously.  This “award” has to go to Corey this evening though.  Besides the costly error in the ninth inning that made everyone’s collective heart sink in their stomachs, the Brewers lead-off hitter went 0-6 with two strikeouts.  Corey has been one of the most consistent players this season, so I will cut him some slack.  The young right-fielder should take this loss personally, however.  That error in right was pathetic and just a lack of concentration.

On Tap

Brewers right-hander Seth McClung will battle fellow right-hander Scott Baker tomorrow at Miller Park.  The Crew will hope not to get swept by the Minnesota Twins.  The contest will begin at 1:05pm CT.





Round ’em Up: Monday

9 06 2008

UPDATE 06-09-08 3:35pm – Rickie Weeks finished his examination on his knee in Milwaukee.  The doctored diagnosed the Brewers second baseman with a “sprained left knee.”  He is listed as day-to-day.

After the past couple years when Rickie has been injured, however, I highly doubt he will be back within the week.  I hope I am wrong.  Weeks doesn’t have a track record of bouncing back quickly from injuries.

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UPDATE 06-09-08 1:55pm – It seems the Brewers are not interested in Brian Roberts after all.

Tom Haudricourt spoke with Doug Melvin this afternoon, and Melvin refuted Ken Rosenthal’s claim. The Brewers did have scouts at the Baltimore games, but no specialist scout had been assigned to Roberts. The scouts attended the games as a part of standard protocol. There is apparently nothing special about the scouts being at the game.

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The Milwaukee Brewers have an off-day today, but are traveling to Houston to take on the Astros tomorrow. Monday’s Round ’em Up is always much more fun, as all the bloggers are out in full force after the weekend. It still means that the weekends are slow.

  • Second baseman Rickie Weeks is on his way to Milwaukee to get his injured knee examined by the team doctors. He had his knee buckled by a hard slide while he was trying to turn two over the weekend. Hopefully this is not as bad as it sounds…because it could turn into a Yovani Gallardo type of situation.
  • Mike Cameron has been seeing the bench a little more lately. He’s been struggling mightily at the plate, and Gabe Kapler has been the model of production in the early months. I suspect Cameron will be back in the lineup tomorrow, but Tom Haudricourt says he will probably not be in the two-hole. You know the saying, “How many licks does it take to get to the inside of a tootsie pop?” This situation is more like, “How much has to go wrong before Ned Yost admits he’s wrong?” Perhaps nobody will know…
  • Chuckie Hacks says that Salomon Torres and Carlos Villanueva should be the 7th through 9th inning tandem from here on out. I’m sorry, but I thought we discussed this whole “set formula” thing. Not a fan.
  • Jeff Suppan is finally pitching like he’s worth the money the Brewers signed him for last off-season. It is nice to see Soup grinding out some tough starts and just plain producing for the Crew.
  • Here’s another diary entry from Matt LaPorta, courtesy of Baseball Digest Daily.
  • The Jay from Brew Crew Ball has a nice graphic up about the Brewers bullpen. They are not overused, but they do throw a lot of pitches. I do appreciate the category that has Milwaukee without Turnbow as its own team. How true that is.
  • This is something I have not heard until today. Ken Rosenthal from FOX Sports is reporting that the Milwaukee Brewers are interested in Baltimore second-baseman Brian Roberts. The Crew has had scouts at the past couple Orioles games. Rosenthal suggests that a Rickie WeeksBrian Roberts trade would be unfair for Milwaukee. If Weeks’ knee gets better in the coming week or so and the Brewers could pull off this trade without giving up anything but Rickie Weeks, you pull the trigger. No questions asked.
  • Jim Powell writes about the Brewers and their lack of momentum on the road. Their road woes sicken me.
  • Speaking of Jim Powell, he has an interview with Brewers first-round pick, Brett Lawrie. Here’s the audio stream.
  • In-Between Hops suggests that Carlos Villanueva is the closer for the future for the Milwaukee Brewers. I agree that he’s been spectacular out of the bullpen this season, but Carlos will have to prove his worth over a full season before I would hand over the 9th inning duties to him for good.
  • As BrewersNation reader Aaron pointed out, the Brewers could take a look at RHP Sidney Ponson. His ERA seems to be misleading, as batters are getting good wood on the ball consistently. I don’t think Milwaukee is a team that goes the “troubled player” route.
  • SS Matt Cline was demoted to West Virginia this week. He has responded, however, giving the slumping Power a nice little jolt.




Brewers squeak past Rockies to avoid sweep

8 06 2008

The Milwaukee Brewers never make it look easy on the road, do they?

The pitching staff wiggled off hooks left and right, but managed to pull out a 3-2 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field.  Jeff Suppan struggled mightily with his command early in the contest, but he settled down a bit in the third through fifth innings.  The veteran was not sharp.  He did keep the Brewers in the game today, and that’s all you can ask for from the pitching staff.

In the sixth inning, Ned Yost called on Carlos Villanueva to get the final two outs after Soup scuffled to start the frame.  The former starter did it on one pitch, getting Ian Stewart to ground into a double play.

The Brewers got in trouble again in the seventh inning.  Joe Dillon, who had a great day at the plate, bobbled the ball and committed a costly error on a relatively easy double play ball.  The inning should have been over right there.  Carlos gutted out the rest of the inning without giving up a run.  He struck out Todd Helton on a questionable called third strike and got Garrett Atkins to ground out to short.  After Friday’s game, I think Ned Yost rethought about taking out Villanueva in a pinch.  Yost stuck with the young right-hander, and Carlos showed Brewers fans why he’s so valuable in the ‘pen.

The day didn’t get any easier in the eight, however.  Left-handed specialist Brian Shouse gave up a base hit to Brad Hawpe, who got to second on a careless error by Gabe Kapler.  Ned Yost then called on Salomon Torres to get the final 5 outs of the game.  The veteran closer happily obliged, and the Crew avoided the sweep.

Joe Dillon got the start for the injured Rickie Weeks today.  He responded well, getting on base four times – three walks and a hustle double.  Bill Hall still looks lost against right-handed pitching, and Prince Fielder swung out of his shoes all day.  The offense had very little plate discipline after the first couple innings, and their offense struggled because of it.

The Crew had 13 runners left on base today.  That cannot happen on the road.  The only reason the Brewers won today’s game is because the Rockies were worse with runners in scoring position.  Colorado left 20 runners on base.  It was an ugly game all around.

After losing Friday and Saturday to the Rockies, the series unbeaten streak ends at five.  It should still be going after Friday night’s game, but you can argue that Milwaukee should not have won tonight  The Brewers will take what they can get and travel to Houston to take on the Astros on Tuesday.

Records: Brewers (33-30); Rockies (24-39)

Hero of the Game: Carlos Villanueva

The young-right hander was thrown into the fire in the sixth inning, but he responded by getting two outs with one pitch.  Things looked good in the seventh until Joe Dillon botched the easy double-play ball with one out.  The inning should have been over right there.  Carlos beared down and got the Brewers out of the inning without surrendering a run.  If Salomon Torres was not pitching so well in the closer’s role, I think I would begin to support the idea of giving Carlos a shot.  Villanueva is a very, very valuable part of the bullpen.  Ned Yost should think about keeping the young man there all season.

Goat of the Game: Bill Hall

I know Bill got the job done in the field and got a base hit in the first inning to score a run, but he was a big reason the Brewers couldn’t tack on any runs in the late innings.  He continues to take defensive swings against right-handed pitching, and I’m beginning to think that Russell Branyan should have pinch hit for Billy in the seventh inning.  Bill left four runners on base in the last three innings.  Others did too, but Bill looked terrible doing it.

On Tap

The Brewers have a day off tomorrow.  They will travel to Houston to take on the Astros.  Right-hander Seth McClung will face the Astros’ ace, RHP Roy Oswalt.  The Brewers will attempt to not get swept in Houston for the second time this season.





Bullpen blows up as Brewers fall to struggling Rockies

7 06 2008

This loss stings a little more than the rest of them.

The Milwaukee Brewers continued their losing ways on the road yesterday, dropping the opening game of the series with Colorado 6-4. All looked fantastic for the majority of the game, too.

Right-hander Ben Sheets was not dominate by any stretch of the imagination. He did, however, get through six innings with only one run allowed. That’s what an ace does for his team. Even when he does not have his best stuff, Benny still puts zeros up on the board to keep Milwaukee in the game.

Milwaukee was more than in the game though. In fact, going into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Crew was up 4-1. Russell Branyan and J.J. Hardy both hit home runs in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie at the time, and Jason Kendall snuck a triple down the right field line to score Hardy in the seventh to stretch the lead to 4-1.

Carlos Villanueva looked brilliant in the bottom of the seventh, and I waited for Villy to trot out the mound in the eighth to shut down the Rockies again. That was not the case, however. Ned Yost called on Guillermo Mota for the eighth inning.

That backfired on Ned extremely fast. Mota fell behind in the count early and often to the Colorado hitters. He gave up back-to-back singles to Jonathan Herrera and Ryan Spilborghs. The hot-hitting Todd Helton then smoked a double off the center field wall. Mota then falls behind in the count again and serves up a game-tying triple to Garrett Atkins. Needless to say, Brewers fans were falling all over themselves they were so upset.

Brian Shouse then came in the game to try and escape the jam. It didn’t work so well for Brian. On the first pitch he through, Brad Hawpe tattooed a curveball for a two-run homer. Rockies up 6-4.

After getting the wind knocked out of their sails in the bottom of the eighth, the Crew was unable to put anything together in the ninth inning. Brewers dropped their first game in their last seven, and not surprisingly came on the road. Tough, tough way to lose a game.

I don’t normally question Ned’s pitching changes, as hindsight is an unfair and unprofessional way to criticize a manager. Ned’s management of the bullpen needs to be addressed, however. After last night’s game, the Brewers manager said that he went to Mota in the eighth because he’s been Milwaukee’s eighth inning pitcher for the majority of the year. Why change now?

Besides the closer’s position, do relievers really need to have assigned roles? Did Ned not specifically say at the beginning of the year that the bullpen was stacked with quality arms, so he would mix-and-match roles with who was throwing the ball well? There has not been a reliever pitching any better than Carlos Villanueva. Using that philosophy, it would have been a no-brainer to leave Carlos in the game.

Ned’s response is that he would have left Carlos in the game, but it was a save situation. Therefore, Ned must follow his prescribed plan that has Guillermo Mota pitching in the eighth and Salomon Torres in the ninth. I don’t know why it needs to be that way, but apparently it does.

I understand that relievers want to know their roles. I understand that if Mota cruised through the eighth, we wouldn’t be having this conversation this morning. You know what though? Mota did blow up. The Brewers did lose the momentum they gained at home this past week and a half. This is a loss that can really take the wind out of a team’s sails.

It is true that Carlos could have done the exact same thing as Mota. All signs pointed to an easy bottom of the eighth for the former starter, however. You stick with the hot hand in the bullpen, Ned. I thought Yost was beginning to understand that concept when he started Gabe Kapler in center (who had an RBI single in the first, by the way). Apparently not. Save the closer’s role, relievers do not need assigned roles in the bullpen. A win does not need to be formulaic. Why go to an unknown entity in Mota when you have visual proof that Carlos is throwing the ball exceedingly well? I just don’t understand.

Records: Brewers (32-29); Rockies (23-38 )

Hero of the Game: J.J. Hardy

J.J. had a solid game all around today. He scored two of the Brewers four runs yesterday. The power has returned a bit for the Brewers shortstop, as Hardy hit another home run. He also scored on Jason Kendall’s triple in the seventh inning. The Brewers need J.J. to keep hitting if they want to be more consistent on offense. With that said, Milwaukee didn’t lose last night’s game because of a lack of hitting.

Goat of the Game: Guillermo Mota

In the eighth inning of a road game, with a 4-1 lead, Mota gave up four earned runs without recording an out. You have to pound the strike zone when leading a close game. The former Met failed to do that the entire inning. He fell behind hitters consistently, and the Rockies made him pay. Throw strikes, Guillermo.

On Tap

After yesterday’s brutal loss, Milwaukee will trot RHP Dave Bush to the mound to take on LHP Greg Reynolds. Game two of the series will start at 7:05pm CT. The Brewers need to win this game. They do not want to start another losing trend on this road series.





Round ’em Up: Saturday

31 05 2008

It’s a beautiful day, and the Brewers won last night.  Therefore, I’m in a fantastic mood this morning.  Let’s take a look at what the blogosphere has to say today:

  • Backtracking a bit, Jim Powell has some reflections about the Brewers-Braves series.  He especially liked the sequence when Brian McCann got a strike called on him while he was out of the box arguing with the home plate umpire.  I loved that.  McCann had no reason to complain about that pitch, as the home plate ump gave him four chances to step in the batter’s box to hit.  He refused, so he lost his chance to swing.
  • In-Between Hops is still ranting about Prince Fielder and his lack of home runs in 2008.  At least he is no longer blaming it on the lack of meat.  Prince is not hitting home runs at the same rate this season because he is pulling off the ball a lot more.  Pitchers are busting him inside, and he’s not been able to extend his arms.  Hopefully, he’ll be able to adjust.
  • Ned Yost is holding true to his new rule for relievers – no more than three days in a row.  Since Eric Gagne and David Riske got injured presumably from pitching too often, Ned is trying to protect his bullpen.  Really Ned?  It took you three years to figure out that probably wasn’t a good idea?  And people say you should be fired…
  • Milwaukee’s young stud, Yovani Gallardo, is cautious about trying to pitch again in 2008.  As he should be.  Don’t try to rush yourself back, Yo.  Get yourself reading for 2009.  Brewers fans will patiently wait.
  • The Brewers strike out a lot.  That’s not surprising.  You know what else isn’t surprising?  Ned Yost isn’t concerned about it.  Of course he’s not.  Just like it’s still early.
  • A sports economist says that Mark Attanasio and the new Milwaukee Brewers are building their franchise in the correct way economically.  Bud Selig and his regime did not build it.  Well, Mark Attanasio cares more than Bud Selig did about the Brewers.  That usually makes a big difference in the outcome.
  • Al’s Ramblings notes that the Milwaukee Brewers have the 5th best bullpen ERA if you discount Derrick Turnbow’s numbers.  The starting rotation is actually 5th in innings pitched too, despite the short outings compiled by Manny Parra, Carlos Villanueva, and Seth McClungBen Sheets is probably a big part of that.
  • The Brew Town Beat writes a nice piece on Carlos Villanueva.  In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past week or so, Carlos has been flat-out nasty in the ‘pen.  He has yet to give up a run, and he’s striking out far more than he did in the starting rotation.  Perhaps there is something to this Carlos as closer talk.  Not that Salomon Torres should be replaced anytime soon.  He’s been great.
  • Minor League Ball has a 2008 mock draft going on right now.  In the first round, the Brewers selected RHP Shooter Hunt from Tulane.  He’s a very raw prospect, especially for a collegiate pitcher, and he’s an injury concern right now.  I wouldn’t choose him with the #16 pick, but that’s just me.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals have sent OF Chris Duncan to Triple-A to get his swing figured out.  With his power, I thought the Cardinals would give him a little more time to sort things out before dumping him to the minors.  The team called up OF Joe Mather, who has been tearing up Triple-A.
  • RHP Franklyn German refused an outright assignment to the minors after being DFA’d by the Texas Rangers.  With a 2.08 ERA, the Brewers might be wise to give him a look.  He would be a huge risk for Milwaukee, however.  His ERA is stellar, but his WHIP is 1.431.  The right-hander walks far too many batters, but he is definitely worth a look at only 28-years old.  With that said, I don’t think the Brewers do anything with Franklyn.  The bullpen has been solid lately.




Homers give Parra plenty of support against Astros

31 05 2008

The Brewers remember all too well the drubbing they got the last time the team played the Houston Astros.  It marked the beginning of a 6-game losing streak on the road.  Manny Parra made sure it didn’t happen again.

The inconsistent lefty showed great stuff last night, regularly hitting 93-94mph on his fastball.  His four walks were a bit misleading, as his command was much sharper overall.  It’s amazing what a little confidence can do for a pitcher.

Perhaps it was Houston’s Miguel Tejada that knocked some confidence into the young pitcher.  In the first inning, Miggy hit a laser-like line drive that hit Parra in the stomach.  Milwaukee stared another injury in the face, but Manny showed resiliency and pitched another five innings of one-run ball after the first.

The offense jumped on the opposing starter, Brandon Backe, early in the game.  Mike Cameron and Ryan Braun hit back-to-back jacks in the bottom of the first inning.  That was all the support the Brewers pitching staff needed to win the game.  It was a nice change for the Brewer faithful.  The team has not won too many games that weren’t nailbiters.

Speaking of Ryan Braun, he has been playing with an inner-ear infection.  Reports say that Ryan is experiencing dizziness and a lack of hearing in his right ear.  After a 4-4 performance last night, however, I think Ryan should keep that infection around for a while longer.  Just kidding, Ryan.  Get better soon!  Just keep the bat hot…

Carlos Villanueva looked superb in the bullpen again last night, going two strong, scoreless innings and striking out two Astros.  The young right-hander may have found a niche for himself in the bullpen.  Yost will have to make certain he doesn’t get worn down in August like he did last season.  Lessons learned, Ned…lessons learned…

The big fella accounted for the other home run Milwaukee hit during the game.  Prince Fielder hit an absolute laser beam over the right field wall for a two-run homer.  It was nice to see Prince get back in the home run column, but I would especially like to see him hit an opposite field home run sometime soon.  When Prince got on his power binges last season, he consistently took the ball the opposite way.  He hasn’t done that in 2008 yet.

Records: Brewers (27-28); Astros (30-26)

Hero of the Game: Manny Parra

This award could have gone to Ryan Braun quite easily, but the offense was unneeded today, as Manny gave Ned Yost and the Brewers a very strong outing tonight.  His pitch count was extremely reasonable tonight, which was a nice change for Manny.  He only had 87 pitches through six innings.  50 of those were strikes.  Last night’s outing gives Manny something to build upon.  His consistency needs to improve if the Brewers are going to make a run for the division in the coming months.  All signs point skyward for Manny, but he showed how quickly things can turn around last weekend in Washington.

Goat of the Game: Corey Hart

Sorry Corey.  You went 0-4.  Rickie Weeks went 0-3, but got hit by a pitch, stole a base, and scored a run.  Russell Branyan at least walked once.  You took the collar.  Get ’em next time, kid.

On Tap

RHP Ben Sheets will face RHP Brian Moehler tomorrow night in Miller Park.  The Brewers look to secure a series victory against the Houston Astros.  The first pitch will go out at 6:05pm CT.