Brewers come from behind to bite the D’Backs

2 07 2008

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

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

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

And come back they did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hero of the Game: Mike Cameron

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

Goat of the Game: Prince Fielder

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

On Tap

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


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.

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.

Round ’em Up: Monday

16 06 2008

Unfortunately, I had to move to a new place yesterday, so I was unable to watch the game. It is pretty hard to give analysis of the game without watching it. The last thing I want to do is patronize you all with secondhand commentary.

Here are a couple game wraps for you – SportsBubblerMilwaukee JS.

Today’s Round ’em Up will be much better than yesterday’s. There is much more for you all to read, as the work week started. Let’s take a look:

  • The bullpen looks to be getting some help with the return of David Riske next week, but Eric Gagne could be coming back in a few weeks. He threw his first bullpen session since being injured. It’s not much, but it is a start. Salomon Torres appears to have the closer’s role secured upon Gagne’s return, but Eric will be a very valuable part of the middle relief squad.
  • Perhaps the best story of the year has been the success of Seth McClung in the starting rotation. After another very solid start yesterday, Brew Crew Ball analyzes the release point and movement of McClung’s pitches. Both have been much, much more consistent since he’s switched to the starting rotation. That mysterious “mechanical fix” has worked wonders for the big right-hander. He’s throwing much more over-the-top, which makes his curveball very much like that of Ben Sheets.
  • Speaking of David Riske and his imminent return, The Brew Town Beat hopes Doug Melvin and Ned Yost will send down Julian Tavarez rather than Mark DiFelice. I understand the reasoning, but Ned’s preference for gritty veterans will help Tavarez stick in the bigs. DiFelice would have more upside, however.
  • The Brew Town Beat also says that Brewers fans should give Lyle Overbay a huge standing ovation upon his return to Milwaukee tomorrow. I completely agree. Let’s not be like Cubs fans. Lyle gave the Brewers many good years, and he deserves to be congratulated for it. Brewers fans proved they are classy when giving Randy Johnson a standing ovation after moving into second in the career strikeout list. They should give that same respect to one of their own, Lyle Overbay.
  • Brew Crew Pub takes a look at the situations at third base and in center field. I agree that Russell Branyan has done nothing but prove he deserves more playing time. His defense has been better than anyone thought, as well. In center field, I’m not sure what should happen. There are arguments for both Mike Cameron and Tony Gwynn Jr. I will have to think about this a little more before coming up with a conclusion.
  • Brew Crew Ball interviewed RHP Garrett Sherrill, the Brewers’ 12th-round pick from Appalachian State University.
  • has their Farm Hops for May 2008. It’s a little late, but it has a great overview of the whole system. It even takes a look at a couple of the players the players drafted in the MLB First Year Player draft. They particularly like Jake Orodizzi with the sandwich pick. He’s compared to Will Inman, which cannot be anything but positive.
  • Fire Ned Yost is quite concerned with the Helena Brewers. Yost’s son, Ned IV is now the manager. Oh goodness…
  • There were a couple promotions yesterday in the minor leagues!LHP Chris Cody has been promoted to Brevard County.
    C Jonathan Lucroy has also been promoted to Brevard County.

    Congratulations to both players. They both were a bit old to be playing in West Virginia, so this promotion was a long-time coming.

UPDATE 06-16-08 – Jeff Sackmann from Brew Crew Ball is done with Tom Haudricourt and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

I agree with the sentiment that Haudricourt and Witrado can be snippy at times, but the Milwaukee JS still has incredible ties to the Brewers organization.  They can get information that no one else can.

I’m not willing to sever ties with the Milwaukee JS at this time.  I may change my mind if the trend continues, however.  His comments to Mass Hass at were inexcusable.  Mass Hass is a fantastic resource and extremely credible.  Tom Haudricourt was out of line.

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.

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.