(…just change your name to Yovani.)
By: Big Rygg
This just in: Yovani Gallardo is good.
What a game! As I’ve made clear before, I love me a pitchers duel. Today was one of those days that garnered just that.
Gallardo won his second game for the Milwaukee Brewers today. You can say “single-handedly”, but his defense did still have to catch and throw (once in a while…Gallardo did strike out 11). Even still, nobody touched home plate to score a run in the entire 8.5 inning, 3-hour affair except for Gallardo after he laced a home run over the left-centerfield wall.
Gallardo’s final line was 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB (1 hit batter), 11 K.
That 9th inning? It wasn’t Trevor Time today for the third day in a row at Miller Park. Carlos Villanueva entered the ballgame and pitched a perfect inning including a strikeout of his own against Pirate slugger Adam LaRoche.
(Before anybody worries or goes crazy, Trevor Hoffman basically had a scheduled day off. He just got back from an injury that had him on the DL for nearly a month and really needs to be handled with a modicum of care for a little bit here as he eases into the swing of the regular season.)
The Brewers tallied six hits total, including the one big fly from Gallardo which was all the difference that was needed.
Milwaukee and Pittsburgh now have equal records after 21 games played of 11-10. Milwaukee is over .500 for the first time this season. They have now won six out of their last seven games. The one loss was the 2-3 game in Houston where we just couldn’t break through very much in the run column despite racking up seven hits and seven walks in that game.
Also of note? Pittsburgh opened the day in 2nd place in the National League Central. The Brewers have a chance to catapult from 4th to 2nd in today if other games result in certain ways. Both the Cubs and Reds have to lose and we instantly find ourselves in 2nd. Not a bad couple of weeks.
For now, though, another fantastic day for a team that is really in a groove right now.
Let’s keep it going here on the homestand. We’ve got four against the Arizona Diamondbacks starting tomorrow with veteran Jeff Suppan (1-2, 7.32 ERA) taking on rookie Max Scherzer (0-2, 4.91 ERA).
Suppan has, admittedly, pitched a lot better in his past two starts. I haven’t looked into Scherzer yet, but I will do that soon and post anything pertinent that I find out.
Come on out to Miller Park tomorrow and see the Brewers chalk up another one!
By: Big Rygg
For all of the talk about the last several games played at Citizens Bank Ballpark by the Milwaukeee Brewers, things have changed..
No longer have the Brewers lost their last seven games in a row in Philadelphia (including playoffs). No longer is the last Brewer win in the city of brotherly love May 17, 2007. No longer have we only one won game in our last 11 at Philadelphia.
The script, as they say, has flipped.
Could this be related to the comments Ryan Braun made to the media after yesterday’s mess of a game? Perhaps. More likely, though, it was directly related to the change that Manager Ken Macha made by flip-flopping J.J. Hardy and Mike Cameron in the lineup. Cameron has been red hot and came through with a two-RBI hit that pushed our lead to 3-0 at the time. Hardy also had a pair of hits (including a solo home run) and was on base three times. Necessary move by Macha and very nice that he actually made that move. Does anyone reading this honestly believe that move gets made last year?
A few notes on the pitching from this one:
First, good start by Braden Looper. 107 pitches, 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 0 R. It would have been very nice to see him get into the 7th inning. But the guy did his work in this one. The biggest gripe is that with no strikeouts and no runs scoring, you’d think 107 pitches would get you a bit deeper.
Second, the bullpen picked up Looper for his second win of the season by twirling 3 innings of relief. Mark DiFelice still carries a 0.00 ERA, Carlos Villanueva actually held a team scoreless in an appearance (despite falling behind hitters again) and although Todd Coffey made it interesting in the 9th, he still recorded his second save in as many appearances by working the 9th inning (including a strike out of Ryan Howard).
The downstream affects of this game?
First, we have the chance to win a series. Albeit a small chance if Cole Hamels remembers how to pitch by tomorrow afternoon, but a chance. You can’t win three-game series with a win in game 3 if you lose games 1 & 2. That math doesn’t work.
Second, it appears that we’ve found our 8th inning guy once Hoffman returns from the disabled list. Coffey is getting it done by using a simple philosophy: Make them hit the ball to beat you.
Third, shutouts breed confidence. Granted, we did give up the one run in the 9th, but the shutouts I’m talking about are Looper’s, DiFelice’s and (most importantly) Villanueva’s. Great news for those guys, especially against the offensive lineup of this Philly team.
So, we move on to tomorrow. Dave Bush is on the bump against Hamels.
…with a chance at a series victory.
Yes, baby steps, but steps in the right direction for a change!