Round ’em Up: Saturday

12 07 2008

UPDATE 07-12-08 12:45pm – The big news for BrewersNation is officially going down on Monday.  Be sure to tune in!

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Sorry about the lack of a game wrap last night. We had some bad storms, and I lost my internet connection for the night. High winds knocked down some trees in the area. Nothing too bad though. I made the trek to the library to write the Round ’em Up this morning. You can’t say I’m not dedicated…

Not as bad as last night’s game, at least. The defense was absolutely horrendous, and I’m not including Mike Cameron’s error when he lost the ball in the lights. That happens to everyone a couple times in Miller Park. The errors and wild pitches single handedly cost the Brewers the win last night. Not to mention the fact that Josh Fogg dominated the Crew again. Pitchers that are able to use our aggressiveness against us seem to absolutely dominate us. There were a ridiculous amount of weak pop ups last night.

New day today. New game. Brewers win tonight.

  • Morineko from Brew Crew Ball made an interesting observation about Seth McClung, who will take the hill tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers. The big right-hander seems to put together better starts when he is outdoors. He doesn’t like when Miller Park is closed, and he certainly doesn’t like domes (perhaps this is why he never pitched well in Tampa Bay). I think this is more of a statistical anomaly than anything, but we’ll test the theory tonight.
  • Jim Powell has a Brewers Roundtable posted with himself, Anthony Witrado, and Adam McCalvy. I think he must have listened to the podcast Pete put together and got the idea for himself. If only I were that naive and egotistical.
  • Right Field Bleachers has a great recap of the Player To Be Named Later (PTBNL) situation with the CC Sabathia trade. Will it be Michael Brantley or Taylor Green? This situation will probably not be played out until the end of the minor league season. Perhaps Cleveland is simply trying to see who ends the season on a higher note? Either that, or they are waiting for Brantley to come back from his injured ankle to scout him.
  • Team Wisconsin says the Brewers should ditch the retro uniforms. First, the Brewers never seem to win when wearing them. Agreed. Second, the Brewers organization needs to stop dwelling on something that happened a quarter of a century ago. I actually agree with this point a lot. Let this team create their own image. Let them have their own legacy. Stop tying them down by comparing them to the ’82 Brewers. They will never be the same team, nor should they be.
  • Pete from Brewers Fanatics says Dave Bush is starting to step up for the Brewers. I will wait until he puts together a good start on the road before I sing his praises too loudly. Bush teases me with these gems at home, but he cannot duplicate it on the road.
  • Jonathan Lucroy has done nothing but impress in Brevard County. He came in with high expectations because of his performance down in West Virginia. Needless to say, the young catcher did not disappoint. The article even says his defense has looked pretty good behind the plate. It is not mentioned as much as his offense, so I suspect is not up to par as of yet. He has time though.
  • The Texas Rangers should look to the Milwaukee Brewers as a guide for rebuilding their franchise. At least, that is what the Star Telegram says in a recent article. It’s nice to see Jack Zduriencik, Doug Melvin, and Mark Attanasio get some credit for the fine job they have done in Milwaukee. I have never experienced such Brewers fever since I’ve been alive. (A tip of the cap to Team Wisconsin for that one.)
  • Dugout Central asks which ten prospects have the highest chance of being dealt before the deadline? None of the ten are Brewers prospects, but it’s nice to have an idea of the trade landscape before late July comes along. Or maybe it’s just me that likes to track other teams’ prospects…
  • Jason Bay is one of the hottest names on the trading block this July. He has returned to his All-Star form in Pittsburgh, and other teams are taking notice. Sports Illustrated reports that the Arizona Diamondbacks and St. Louis Cardinals are seriously interested in the left fielder. I suspect Pittsburgh would much rather trade Xavier Nady, as Bay is under contract through the ’09 season.
  • Speaking of the Pirates, they shipped Craig Wilson to Seattle for a PTBNL. I highly doubt that PTBNL situation is nearly as frustrating and exciting as the one in Milwaukee. They also swapped a couple minor leaguers with Cleveland.
  • The Brew Town Beat is reporting that Ryan Braun has been placed on the 60-day DL. That is, Ryan Z. Braun, the relief pitcher from the Kansas City Royals, is on the DL. Way to make my heart skip a beat.
  • This is not about the Brewers, or baseball even, but most Brewers fans are de facto Packers fans. Chuckie Hacks has a very refreshing perspective on the Brett Favre situation in Green Bay. I completely agree. Favre has handled this situation very poorly and completely expected to be welcomed back to the Packers with open arms. It hurt his pride when the Pack didn’t roll out the red carpet and welcome him back like a mom with her kid who comes home from college. You retired, Brett. The Packers started to build their team around Aaron Rodgers. You kind of threw a big wrench in the gears when you said you wanted to come back.There is one thing lost in the situation. The Green Bay Packers just motivated Brett to succeed this season by playing hard to get. I would not be surprised if Brett goes to Baltimore or Tampa Bay and rejuvenates the team. I’m still telling myself Brett doesn’t have the heart to go to Minnesota.

    I don’t want to start a comment thread about the Packers, but I thought Packers fans needed to read this post by Chuckie Hacks.

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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: 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: Sunday

6 07 2008

UPDATE 07-06-08 6:05pm – Tom Haudricourt says the deal is done. The Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians have agreed on a deal to send C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers. The word is the package is Matt LaPorta and two-lower level prospects. It does not include Lorenzo Cain, as he has been sent to class-AA to fill the void left by LaPorta.

Welcome to Milwaukee, Mr. Sabathia.

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UPDATE 07-06-08 3:38 pmThe first reports of the deal being finalized.

Castrovance is a beat reporter for the Indians for MLB.com. It may have some good credibility.

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Prince Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers no doubt partied a little bit last night, celebrating their walk-off victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Let’s hope the team doesn’t come out and lay an egg against Zach Duke today. Am I the only one that feels like we’ve faced the exact same pitcher three days in a row now?

  • Over at Brew Crew Ball, roguejim posts an article that says Milwaukee is interested in doing a Greg Maddux for Tony Gwynn Jr. swap. His numbers are average and would probably inflate away from the pitcher-friendly park down in San Diego. This says nothing about his full no-trade clause, however. Even if the teams agree, Maddux can veto the trade. With his brother in Milwaukee, he probably would not knock it down though.
  • The Brew Town Beat addresses this Maddux deal and hopes Doug Melvin gets it done, as well as the C.C. Sabathia deal. I really don’t think Maddux is an upgrade over any of our pitchers though. At least, not a big enough difference to warrant giving away TGJ for a rental. Is Maddux really that much better than Dave Bush? My gut reaction is to say yes, just because Bush is painful to watch sometimes, but Bush has the potential to do what he did last night quite often. Seth McClung has been very solid in the back-end of the rotation. Do we really need Maddux and Sabathia? My guess is that Melvin is kicking the tires in case the Sabathia deal falls through.
  • Jim Powell talks about the Sabathia trade rumors. He says that Taylor Green is better than most people are giving him credit for. Powell also makes a good argument that Yovani Gallardo’s injury probably cost us Matt LaPorta and Green if this deal gets done. If Yo hadn’t gotten injured, Milwaukee most likely would not be searching for a high-priced starter right now. Ah, what if’s.
  • Over at Let’s Go Tribe, many fans are hoping Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro can get both Matt LaPorta and Alcides Escobar in the deal. I think if they add Rafael Perez to the deal, they might have a shot at the two blue-chip prospects. It’s always interesting to see what other teams feel their players are worth. Naturally, some think C.C. Sabathia should garner the team some obnoxious bounty, but that is unlikely to happen.
  • Some have speculated that Tampa Bay is a major player in the Sabathia sweepstakes. That now seems unlikely, as they are preparing to put forth a competitive offer for Brian Fuentes from Colorado. It will take one solid piece for them to get the Colorado closer, and everyone knows Tampa’s farm system is stacked. The Rays won’t have much competition if they truly want Fuentes.
  • THonline.com has an article on Nic Ungs from the Huntsville Stars. He lost his mother to cancer recently, which has given him extra motivation when on the mound. The right-hander has pitched brilliantly in Huntsville the last couple weeks after struggling with Nashville to start the season.
  • Bill Chuck from Baseball Digest Daily gives out his mid-season awards. Nobody from the Crew makes the list, but Ben Sheets gets an honorable mention for the NL Cy Young. It will be interesting to see if Edinson Volquez can keep up his unbelievable season. That Volquez/Hamilton deal this off-season has worked pretty well for both teams, no?
  • Again away from Milwaukee, the Seattle Mariners are trying to prove that a managerial change mid-season does not spell disaster for the team. They have gone 10-5 since the switch, and their once-inept offense is now producing. Don’t look for that to last, however.
  • Chipper Jones has been struggling at the plate as of late. As you can see by the probability chart, his odds of hitting .400 for the season is the lowest it has been for a couple weeks. Perhaps he should just get his average over the .400 mark then get injured and shelved on the DL for the season. That would cement it.




Prince reigns over Pittsburgh

5 07 2008

Prince Fielder may be struggling at the plate, but sure saved the Brewers tonight with timely hitting in the bottom of the ninth inning.

In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the ninth, Rickie Weeks battled back from a 0-2 count to draw a huge walk to start the frame. That turned out to be a huge boost for the team.

J.J. Hardy then sacrificed his 16-game hitting streak by laying down a sac bunt to move Rickie to second base. Pittsburgh reliever Tyler Yates chose to next intentionally walk Ryan Braun to get to a struggling Prince Fielder and to set up the double play.

Brewers fans rose to their feet in support of their Prince. Yates started him off with a couple fastballs on the outside part of the plate to head in the count 0-2. The right-hander then tried to make Prince chase a ball at his eyes. Prince appeared to be too eager at the plate and almost obliged. Now down 1-2, I thought Yates was going to bury a ball in the dirt, as Prince showed he wanted to swing at everything. Instead, he tried to sneak an outside fastball by the big lefty. It didn’t work. Prince served a line drive to left-center field that scored Rickie from second. 2-1 Brewers. Ball game.

Milwaukee got an absolute gem of a start from right-hander Dave Bush. He changed speeds beautifully all day, and his curveball stayed down in the zone all day. Bushie had fantastic control this evening, especially on the outside corner. I’m not sure how often it has happened all season, but he did not walk an opposing batter all game, while striking out six.

It turned out that Dave Bush needed to pitch well tonight, as Paul Maholm also spun a gem on the mound. Besides a nice opposite field home run from Mike Cameron, Pittsburgh’s left-hander went eight innings without surrendering another run. His curveball and change-up fooled Milwaukee hitters all evening. Tonight’s game was the epitome of a pitcher’s duel.

Even Eric Gagne threw the ball well, pitching the top of the ninth without giving up a run. He gave up a hit and struck out one. While his velocity has gone way down since injuring his shoulder, the command has been a thousand times better. His change-up has been absolutely nasty for him, falling right through the zone and fooling opposing batters. The command on his fastball has been much better. He has been able to work the corners much more effectively than before his stint on the DL.

The lack of velocity will be a hindrance of Gagne, but the better control may land the former closer 8th inning duties. If he is able to keep up the fine performances, I wouldn’t mind that at all. Don’t worry, that’s not a self-fulfilling prophecy at all.

There is some news on the C.C. Sabathia trade front.

Tom Haudricourt reports that Doug Melvin is waiting for a response from the Indians on their trade proposal. All signs point to the package being Matt LaPorta/Taylor Green/Lorenzo Cain. The Indians will probably wait until Monday or Tuesday before deciding on anything. They could perhaps ask for more in return, but nothing new seems likely to occur before Monday.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney says that the Indians are fielding other offers from the Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Tampa seems more focused on a right-handed outfielder and probably lacks the motivation to make a strong offer for Sabathia. If they do decide to make a play, however, Milwaukee may be on the outside looking in. Tampa has an incredible farm system and can outplay the Brewers. They will test the waters, but most likely will look elsewhere.

The Dodgers need a shortstop, but could change gears and hone in on the left-hander. They should have enough to get the deal done. It all depends on the motivation and the transparency of their proposal. Olney says Los Angeles has a tendency to balk at proposals. They will say one player is available, then back off and say he’s not.

Most likely, the Philadelphia Phillies will be the toughest opponent if they choose to be aggressive. Their farm system does not have as many offensive five-star prospects, but they could offer more players to get the deal done. I have heard that Philadelphia prefers Erik Bedard though.

Records: Brewers (48-39); Pirates (40-46)

Hero of the Game: Prince Fielder

The award could easily go to Dave Bush for his gem of a performance, but I came away from the game very impressed with Fielder’s resilience in the ninth inning. He has fought his swing the past couple weeks, but the big guy came up big to win the game. After trying a little too hard on the first three pitches, the fourth pitch from Tyler Yates turned out to be the charm. He didn’t overswing and took the ball where it was pitched. A great win for the Brewers.

Goat of the Game: Jason Kendall

Jason just didn’t look comfortable at the plate tonight. He did call a superb game for Dave Bush this evening, but he went 0-3 at the plate. The catcher doesn’t really deserve the Goat. Sorry, Jason.

On Tap

RHP Jeff Suppan will battle LHP Zach Duke in the series finale at Miller Park. The Crew looks to sweep the Pirates and continue their fine play. The game starts at 1:05pm CT on FSN North.





Bush struggles as Brewers are snake bitten

30 06 2008

Brewers fans enjoyed the Dave Bush affectionately known as “Cy Bush” the past couple starts.  His fine performances did not carry over to Monday night, however.

Dave Bush returned to form, giving up multiple runs in the first and fifth innings.  That is vintage Dave Bush if I ever saw it.

He gave up a double and a triple in the first, which ended up costing the Crew two runs.  It sacrificed all of the momentum gained in the top of the first.  J.J. Hardy looked very comfortable at the plate again tonight.  He plated Rickie Weeks with a double to start the game, and later scored on a Prince Fielder single to right.  All seemed right in the world in the top of the first.

The Brewers right-hander must have decided that Milwaukee’s 2-0 lead was just too good to be true.  After giving back those 2 runs, things calmed down until the fifth.  Both Bush and Doug Davis appeared to have found a groove.

That groove ended for Milwaukee in the fifth, however.  Dave Bush strikes again.  He gives up three more runs to the slumping D’Backs order, and Milwaukee was never able to recover.  Doug Davis consistently kept the Brewers hitters off-balance after the first inning, and Milwaukee struck out a lot against the Diamondback relievers.

The offense could not bail out Dave Bush, but I cannot help but think the Crew could have pulled out the win had Dave been able to quiet the D’Backs in the first inning.  Should have, would have, could have, though.  That doesn’t put any tallies in the win column.  I do wish, however, that Dave Bush could do that more consistently.

Records: Brewers (44-38 ); Diamondbacks (42-41)

Hero of the Game: J.J. Hardy

J.J. started off the game right with a double that scored Rickie Weeks.  The Brewers shortstop has looked much more comfortable at the plate in the past week or so, and he showed that tonight.  He followed up that first inning double with a 3-5 night, adding another double to his stat line.  If J.J. can heat up in the second spot with Rickie getting on base ahead of him, this Brewers offense would be downright scary.

Goat of the Game: Dave Bush

You need to figure out those first inning woes.  That’s all that needs to be said.  Figure it out, or you’ll be on the outside looking in after the trade deadline.

The second Goat of the Game goes to Ryan Braun.  He has looked downright awful at the plate the past couple games, and it continued tonight.  Striking out twice and grounding into a double play, Ryan seemed to kill any momentum the offense tried to get going.

On Tap

Jeff Suppan has scuffled a bit in his past couple outings.  He will look to turn that around Tuesday night against the future hall-of-famer, Randy Johnson.  Randy shut down the Crew pretty easily until the late innings in his last start in Milwaukee.  The game starts at 8:40pm CT.  This is a big game for Milwaukee.  The squad needs a big win.





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