Round ’em Up: Friday

11 07 2008

UPDATE 07-11-08 3:04pm – Baseball America picked their minor league All-Star team last week. Mat Gamel, Alcides Escobar, and Matt LaPorta all made the squad. It is amazing how stacked Huntsville is, even with the departure of LaPorta. (Tip of the cap to Aaron for this one)

Dixieflatline from Brew Crew Ball has a great post that takes a look at the horizontal movement of Dave Bush’s pitches and attempts to figure out why he has struggled on the road. Ned Yost says the mound at Miller Park is to Dave’s liking. That could play a big part, as Dave has far more movement on his pitches when he’s at home. Give it a look. It’s great stuff.

I never wish injury onto anyone, but the Milwaukee Brewers get some good luck this weekend. Cincinnati’s Aaron Harang will miss his scheduled start against the Brewers due to a strained forearm. The injury is not serious, but it will allow the Crew to dodge him. Harang has killed Milwaukee when pitching against them throughout his career. In 2008 alone, the big right-hander has two starts and is 1-0. He went eight innings in both starts and only gave up one run in each game. Thank goodness the Crew doesn’t have to deal with Harang this weekend.

The Junkball Blues analyzes the amount of extra-base hits the Brewers hit.  No surprise, the majority of these hitters are extra-base hit machines.  The league average is about 1/3 of the hits to be for extras.  The only players for Milwaukee that do not live up to that are Craig Counsell and Jason Kendall.  No surprises there.

———————————————————————————

I know I usually write an NL Central Review on Fridays, but it takes far too long to write. The response is not nearly as high now as it was at the beginning, so I think I will begin to include more NL Central news in the Round ’em Ups instead of a separate post each week. I apologize if you were looking for the Review today, but I would rather spread the information out through the week and give more continuous attention to the NL Central.

  • In case you did not know already, Corey Hart officially made the All-Star team thanks to your votes! Chuckie Hacks has the video of the Brewers mobbing Corey and giving him a little beer shower during his press conference. You want to know why people say Milwaukee’s clubhouse is great? Take a look at the video. It’s obvious that the guys truly like and respect each other.
  • Bill Chuck from Dugout Central takes a look at the NL All-Star team and has a little commentary after each player. He doesn’t have Corey on the list though, so it must have been written before the final vote ended.
  • ESPN.com has an interview of CC Sabathia with reporter Amy Nelson. It’s nice to see that CC is an articulate young man who is genuinely excited about being in Milwaukee. When asked about how much money it would take to keep him in Milwaukee after the season, however, he gave a very evasive answer. He says he wants a winning team with a great attitude. Perhaps Milwaukee can be that place for him.
  • ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark says Zack Greinke was Milwaukee’s Plan B if they were unable to score Sabathia. This is interesting, as all reports have said Greinke is not on the market and will not be until after the season is over. The reliever idea is intriguing though.
  • Aaron from Brew Crew Pub has a recap of the Colorado Rockies series. Let’s hope the Reds series goes a little better this weekend. The Crew needs to go into the All-Star Break on a high note.
  • SportsBubbler names RHP R.J. Seidel the Prospect of the Week. His change-up is electric. It’s nice to see the LaCrosse native put a couple good outings together. I still see him in a relief role, but it will depend on how he handles Brevard County next season. Eric Fryer is also mentioned in the Three Up category, but they make it sound like he hasn’t done anything until this week. He has raked since being promoted to West Virginia. Get used to the name.
  • The Hardball Times has a great piece that breaks down the mechanics and projectability of RHP Jake Odorizzi and LHP Evan Frederickson. The general consensus is that Odorizzi is something special, and the Brewers were lucky to get him with the #32 pick. I had not heard this before, but Jake is apparently trying out a four-seam fastball and has seen his velocity jump up to 95. With such a wiry frame, he should be able to add a couple ticks to that fastball too.Frederickson, on the other hand, did not receive much praise from THT. The author actually refused to rate Evan because the video being used did not match the reports of him. He was throwing much too slow. His control was still horrible though.
  • The Brew Town Beat gives everyone in the batting order a theme song when coming up to bat. This is a nice light piece to kill some time while you’re at work.
  • The Seattle Mariners finally released former-Brewer Richie Sexson. When you’re as tall as he is, a drop from productivity is a big fall. I suspect he’ll land somewhere. Not Milwaukee though. Don’t get excited.
  • Cardinals Diaspora thinks its time for another NL Central team to negotiate a deal with Billy Beane. This time, the target would be Joe Blanton. If you really want Joe Blanton and his 5.00+ ERA, I will not stop you. St. Louis’ pitching coach, Dave Duncan, has worked wonders with the Cards’ pitching staff in 2008, but this may be asking for a little too much.
  • Do you think the Cardinals aren’t worried about the big moves made by the Brewers and the Cubs this past week? You’d be wrong. St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa is asking for the front office to get him help right now. He does not want to wait for the return of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright in mid-August. He wants that help right now. It’s nice to make other teams feel nervous.
  • JoeSportsFan.com has the 7 Worst Trades in the last decade. That Aramis Ramirez deal to Chicago remains one of the worst deals that has affected the Milwaukee Brewers. Every time I think about that deal, I just get upset. How did that seem like a good idea at the time? I know hindsight is 20/20, but seriously. What was Pittsburgh thinking?

I promised you all some big news either yesterday or today. I’m still working on it. The news just didn’t quite happen when it was planned. Stay tuned though. I’m not just teasing you all, don’t worry. Something is actually happening, and it is significant.

Advertisements




Bush fantasti-K against the Rox

10 07 2008

Obviously, the game was not on TV today, so I was not able to watch it.  I did listen to it and see the highlights, however.  Here is the extended boxscore, if you are curious.

With all the attention on CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets (and rightly so), Dave Bush went out and gave a performance to remember.  It’s too bad that the game was not televised for anyone to see it.  The right-hander went 8 innings strong and struck out 13 batters.  And you thought Big Ben was impressive yesterday.

I was surprised Yost let Bush go 120+ pitches, but with the All-Star Break coming up, it should not be a problem.  Bushie had fantastic control this afternoon.  For the second start in a row, he did not walk a batter.  That is absolutely key for someone like Bush.  The strikeouts are just an added plus.  He has made an extremely strong push for the final spot in the rotation once Jeff Suppan comes back from the DL.  In his last two outings combined, Bush has gone 16 innings and only given up one earned run.

Dave Bush is notoriously a slow starter.  In his career, he has had an ERA above 5.00 in April and May.  When the weather heats up, however, so does Bush.  That is what we have seen this season as well.  He had a 3.65 ERA last month, and those numbers have only improved in July.  It looks as if the best option for Milwaukee is to move Seth McClung to the bullpen and give the ball to Bush every fifth day.  The ‘pen sure could use some help, considering how well Guillermo Mota has been pitching.

Speaking of Mota, Ned Yost says his mechanics are off.  He is “collapsing his back side,” which is causing his pitches to have little or no movement.  Mota and Mike Maddux are working extremely hard on correcting this fault.  Apparently, they corrected this before the season started, and Mota simply reverted back to his old ways.  I may simply be hard-headed, but I believe a part of it has to do with his reluctance to throw his change-up.  I will not beat that comment to death again though.  Hopefully, Maddux and Yost can get that situation worked out quickly because Mota has been absolutely brutal in the past two months.  The only question I have is: Why did it take 2 months for Maddux and Yost to notice this if they corrected it before?

Back to the game.  The offense came out to play today after getting embarrassed last night by Glendon Rusch.  Perhaps they all read everything being said about them last night, as the Crew walked four times today.  Not great, but certainly not bad.  J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart both hit home runs this afternoon.  Hart made the All-Star Game, by the way.  If you all have not seen the team mob him during the press conference, you should check it out.  Hart’s daughter got a good part of it too.  Congratulations, Corey.  You definitely deserve it!

Someone that deserves some ink is Gabe Kapler.  He produced again this afternoon, going 3-4 with three doubles and two RBI.  The comeback story is never-ending it seems.  I would love for Ned Yost to give Kapler more at-bats, but those at-bats are difficult to find.  Mike Cameron has been swinging the bat better as of late, and his defense is top-notch.  Did you see a couple of the plays he made last night?  He rarely makes a false step in center field and almost always takes a direct path to the ball.  It is an joy to watch him in the field.  Gabe provides the team with a more than capable fourth outfielder though, and that is extremely valuable.

Records: Brewers (51-41); Rockies (39-54)

Hero of the Game: Dave Bush

How can you go eight innings, give up only three hits, surrender zero earned runs, strike out 13, not walk a batter, and not get the Hero of the Game?  The only thing I would like to see is Dave have one of these performances on the road.  He always has been lights out at home, but has consistently struggled on the road.  He will need to deliver in his first road start after the All-Star Break to cement his status as Milwaukee’s #5 starter.

Goat of the Game: FSN North

Why was this game not on TV?  I understand the team does not have a contract to televise every game, but a game like this should never be only shown on tape delay.  Mark Attanasio should get a deal to televise all 162 games in the works.

On Tap

LHP Manny Parra will look to get the Brewers on a winning streak before the All-Star Break.  The Brewers will go up against RHP Josh Fogg, which is slightly concerning.  Yes, Josh Fogg is terrible, but he also went five innings and only gave up one earned run earlier in 2008 against the Brewers.  As Aaron said, the Crew has a way of making soft-tossing control pitchers look like aces.  Let’s hope the Brewers are patient at the plate and take their walks.  The game will start at 7:05pm CT.





Round ’em Up: Tuesday

8 07 2008

After falling to a little bit of a hangover last night, the Brewers will trot out CC Sabathia to the mound to a sold-out crowd.  Yes, yes…I will be there.  Perhaps I can get a picture of the big guy.  Probably not though, as I will not be close at all to the action.  Who cares?!  The atmosphere is going to be electric.

  • CC Sabathia is very excited to be in Milwaukee.  He is a little worried about his batting average going down – yes, the man has a sense of humor.  The big lefty is saying all the right things on his first day in Milwaukee.  He’s always been a fantastic clubhouse guy who is extremely charismatic.  Can’t complain about that.
  • Here is some audio from the CC press conference.
  • The agent of Michael Brantley and Taylor Green has a blog.  The latest news is that both Brantley and Green are on the table for Cleveland’s PTBNL.  Why would you get rid of Brantley?  He had all the makings to be Milwaukee’s lead-off hitter and center fielder in just a couple years.  I can only hope the fact that he does not fit into Cleveland’s plans (because of Grady Sizemore) steers them towards Green.  Taylor Green is a great player, but he is not as polished as Brantley.
  • Yahoo! Sports has a nice little article about how excited Milwaukee is to have CC Sabathia on the team.  The management is extremely excited.  Giddy, in fact.  I never realized that David Riske and CC were such good friends.  They have been texting and calling each other for over two weeks about the impending trade.  CC may like his time in Milwaukee a whole lot.
  • Jim Powell says Doug Melvin cements his status as one of the game’s best GMs through this trade.  The news about Michael Brantley changed this for me.  If Brantley is the PTBNL, only a playoff berth will ease the pain.  If it is Green, I will be upset…but not heartbroken.  I just do not understand how Doug could even consider giving up two of the “Huntsville 5” to get a 3 month rental.  If CC signs an extension after the year, the deal becomes a steal, even if Brantley is included.
  • Dixieflatline from Brew Crew Ball analyzes how much CC will affect the win-loss record in Milwaukee.  After a some calculations, it comes out to about 10%.  I’ll take that.
  • The Hardball Times has a great breakdown of the trade.  It assumes that Taylor Green will be the PTBNL.  I agree that Cleveland most likely wouldn’t have been able to draft someone of Matt LaPorta’s value next season.  He’s a very advanced bat for his age.  The one issue I have is that the article says CC will provide some wins because it will push Seth McClung to the bullpen and send Randy Choate to the minors.  There is a problem with that logic.  Choate isn’t on the big league squad…
  • In-Between Hops says Brewers fans can thank Mark Attanasio for the Sabathia move.  I couldn’t agree more.  The article mentions something about the Brewers finishing in the red this season, but there is no way that will happen.  Did you see the ticket sales in the first two days after the trade?  Enough said.
  • Right Field Bleachers has their week InReview segment.  I do enjoy the part about Corey Hart.
  • The Brew Town Beat is hoping Yovani Gallardo will be back in September.  I did see the article from Baseball Prospectus that says Yo is already throwing from 45-feet and has a chance to be back in Sept.  Just do not rush him back from his injury.  He is a huge part of the team’s future.  Gallardo will almost certainly come in from the ‘pen if he returns.  There is simply not enough time to stretch his arm out and get him into the starting rotation.
  • Brew Crew Pub has a recap of last night’s game.  The Brewers played flat baseball.  There was no emotion.
  • Brewers Fanatics has a Prospect Watch on OF Cutter Dykstra.  There isn’t much for a scouting report in there, but he is certainly someone to watch down in Helena.  He is showing solid plate discipline already, which is exceptional for a high school prospect.
  • Philly.com says the Phillies could not compete in the Sabathia sweepstakes because they did not have high-caliber position prospects that Cleveland demanded.  They will most likely shift their attention to Erik Bedard.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates expect SS Jack Wilson to stay exactly where he is.  Reports said the Los Angeles Dodgers backed out of the Sabathia race to focus on Wilson, but it seems that is no longer the case.  If LA wants Alcides Escobar and Zach Braddock, I wouldn’t mind taking Clayton Kershaw off their hands…
  • ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark thinks the Brewers just upgraded their team in a big way, but he still likes the Chicago Cubs in the division.  Oh really?  ESPN went with a big-market team?  Excuse me if I don’t gasp in amazement.
  • A few Brewers fans had been clamoring for a trade for RHP Justin Duchscherer from Oakland during the off-season.  That is unlikely, as Justin wants to sign an extension to stay with the As.  He’s been absolutely phenomenal this season.

On a side note, the big news I promised for the site should happen around the end of the week.  Stay tuned.  I am quite excited.





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.





Prince’s Power Hour Propels

22 06 2008

The big boys came out to play in the Milwaukee Brewers’ final game against American League opposition, the Baltimore Orioles. Home runs from Corey Hart, Bill Hall, and a pair from Prince Fielder bailed out an out-of-sorts Manny Parra. Sprinkle in some nice defensive plays and a season-tying high for double plays and the result was good 7-3 victory finishing off a 6-3 homestand for the Crew.

From the get-go it looked like Parra might set up Milwaukee for a long afternoon. His pitch locations were off and a tight zone from the home plate umpire wasn’t helping his cause. Parra walked six guys including four in the first three innings. Two of Baltimore’s three runs were walks that came around to score.

Rickie Weeks was back in the lineup today (and in the lead off spot in the order) and looked shaky early on. Jason Kendall caught Jay Payton off of first, but Weeks, attempting to get Payton out, dropped Kendall’s throw.

Fielder has also looked shoddy on defense recently (something that he had looked to improve this season. He misplayed a bunt single in the second inning failing to pick up the ball and get it to Parra at first base. Earlier in the season is looked as though Fielder was making big strides in his defensive play, but in the last few series he has made several mistakes on plays that should be outs.

If the defense has fallen, the offensive game of Fielder has shown brightly. Prince belted a double and two home runs today. Fielder was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored. His monster, two run blast in the seventh gave the Crew some breathing room heading into the closing frames.

The secondary storyline of the game is the positive defensive plays that the Brewers made to back up the struggling Parra. Ryan Braun made two outstanding sliding catches (the one in the sixth was ESPN’s #5 “Web Gem” today) to rob Baltimore of base hits. The infield also turned five double plays on an Oriole team that has the grounded into the least amount of double plays in the American League (45). Weeks was strong on his DP turns (something that has been troubling… low throws to first) and made a fantastic play to end the seventh inning.

Guillermo Mota and David Riske both continue to struggle in relief appearances this afternoon issuing two walks apiece. A strikeout for Riske and two nice defensive plays by JJ Hardy and the already mentioned Weeks grab bailed out David. It took an appearance by Salomon Torres and a double play to get Mota off the hook in the ninth. Mark DiFelice had a good outing, going 1-2-3 in the sixth, but otherwise this bullpen is starting to worry. There are a bunch of bright spots (DiFelice, Torres, Shouse), but they can’t pitch everyday and allow the inconsistent guys to shake down games.

Records: Brewers (41-34), Orioles (38-36)

Hero of the Game: Prince Fielder

The Prince has been going on a power binge of late. He’s got five home runs in the last six games. For June all of his vitals are skyrocketing. Take a look at his May/June comparisons:

Stat May June

On Base Percentage .358 .432

Average .294 .343

Slugging: .450 .757

Promising stuff from the kid.

Goat of the Game: Davillermo RiskMota

What’s up with these guys? I know the zone was tight, Parra struggle with his stuff all night, but Riske and Mota’s inability to find a strike lately is looking Gagnesqe. I guess I’m particularly worried about Riske because I never was that high up on him since the beginning of the season. For the money we paid for him I feel like the Brewers haven’t gotten a lot of relief security.

A few good outings early in the season was marred by several rough outings before going on the DL. Since being activated from the DL two days ago, Riske has participated in the almost-loss on Thursday against Toronto and stunk it up today. These sorts of trouble should be worked out with a player before he comes back from his rehab stint in the minors. I know he blew threw the opposition in his one inning of work in Nashville, but there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe and seeing he’s all there.

On Tap:

The Crew hits the road to take on the Atlanta Braves. Jo-Jo Reyes (3-4, 4.05 ERA) is on the mound versus Ben Sheets (8-1, 2.74 ERA). Game time: 6:05 CT.

By: Dan Wiersema





Small Ball, Sheets Win the Night

19 06 2008

The polar opposite of the night before where all seven of the Brewers’ runs came courtesy of the home run ball, the Brewers put their faith in timely hitting, smart base running, and another solid, albeit short, outing from Ben Sheets. The victory last night, 5-4, guaranteed another series win for the Crew and the win over the Blue Jays meant the Brewers are sitting on a three game win streak.

Sheets, who threw six innings, was relieved by Carlos Villanueva, who quickly gave up two hits and a run in 2/3 of an inning of work. The relief pitching was more troubling when Guillermo Mota came in to work the eight. Showing a troubling pattern of alternating strong appearances with downright scary appearances, Mota brought out his Halloween game allowing three hits, a walk, and a run in only 23 pitches.

Salomon Torres to the rescue. Torres showed up in the eight inning with two outs, escaped unscathed and proceeded to record his ninth save of the season the next inning.

Besides a little solo home run love from Russell Branyan in the second and Mike Cameron in the sixth it was the small ball that propelled the Crew to the win. The key inning was the bottom of the fourth, with the game tied at ones, when Corey Hart lead of with a ground rule double. Hart would then be put over to third by Branyan’s sac fly. On the ensuing play Cameron rolled what amounted to a swing bunt back to the Jay’s pitcher Shaun Marcum. Hart, on a dead sprint from third, beat the fielder’s choice throw at home and Cam was safe at first (he should have made it to second as the catcher spiked the ball after Hart was safe).

Cam stole second, advanced to third on Jason Kendall‘s single, and scored on a squeeze play. Squeeze plays have been notoriously bad for the Brewers this year with either the batter or runner missing the calls on multiple occasions leaving runners for dead, but this one played out perfectly, if not a bit unmethodically (if that’s a word). Sheets put down a great bunt, catcher Gregg Zaun looked Cameron back to third and threw Sheets out at first. That was when Cam broke for home scoring without even having to slide.

Sheets working from the mound look good in the opening frame striking out two, but unraveled a bit as the game went on. Sheets walked for batters, tossed two wild pitches, and gave up several hard hits. Yost lifted Sheets for a pinch hitter in the sixth, a call that I second guess.

Records: Brewers (38-33), Blue Jays (35-38 )

Hero of the Game: Mike Cameron

I’ve been harping on Cameron a bit lately, but last night he epitomized an all around solid baseball player. He mixed small ball with the powerball scoring Hart on his (very) small ball and scoring himself with a solo homer later in the game. But it was his smart base running to sneak a run in from third in the fourth that gets the big kudos. The box score 1-for-4 doesn’t show how intelligent one is on the base paths to try to take home plate on a bunt, hold, then break for the base, and beat the tag with some great speed. Good work, Cam.

Goat(s) of the Game: Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder

Both the big men in the line up had “oh fer” nights. RB and PF came to the plate and left empty all four times and racked up two Ks each. The plate discipline is looking a bit shaky guys… work it out.

On Tap:

David Bush (2-7, 5.37) takes on AJ Burnett (6-6, 4.90) in the matinée wrap up of this Interleague series. Which Bush will show up? Game time 1:05 CT on FSN.

By: Dan Wiersema





Brewers ride homers in win

17 06 2008

If anything is clear over the past couple weeks, it is the fact that the Brewers can still hit the long ball.

Everyone was concerned with the power outage in Miller Park for the first couple months, but that is no longer a problem.  Fans are again saying the Brewers are relying too much on the long ball.  My how things change…

Ryan Braun went deep twice, while Russell Branyan and Prince Fielder knocked a homer a piece.  Even Craig Counsell joined the homer barrage against the shell-shocked Toronto Blue Jays.  Yes, things got so bad for the Jays that the light-hitting Craig Counsell hit a home run.  The Brewers certainly knocked around Dustin McGowan and company tonight.

That is pretty much the whole story with the offense this evening, but Manny Parra should not get lost in translation.  He spun a gem through seven innings.

Working around four walks and four hits, the Brewers lefty held the Toronto Blue Jays scoreless before giving up the reins to the ‘pen to close the game out.  Most of his walks came early in the game, and he looked stronger as the game wore on.  That is the kind of night Manny can give Milwaukee consistently.  He definitely has the stuff to get the job done.  It appears as if he’s gaining the confidence too.

Mark DiFelice also looked good out of the pen.  The journeyman right-hander pitched two scoreless innings to close out the game.  It could have simply been that Toronto gave up at the end of the game, but Mark pounded the strike zone and genuinely looked good.  Someone doesn’t want to go back to Triple-A when David Riske comes back.

Records: Brewers (37-33); Blue Jays (35-37)

Hero of the Game: Ryan Braun

What can you say about Ryan Braun?  He has been an absolute stud at the plate and better than advertised in left field.  When he centers on a ball like he did off Dustin McGowan, the ball has that special sound to it.  He’s a stud and there’s nothing else I can say about it.

Goat of the Game: Corey Hart

Corey is the “goat” because he went 0 for 3 and left a guy on base.  Not a bad night, but the worst of the Crew tonight.  It’s fine though, just don’t do it again Corey.

On Tap

RHP Ben Sheets will face RHP Shawn Marcum in Game 2 of the series tomorrow night at Miller Park.  The game will start at 7:05pm CT.