Tagged: Dave Bush

Milwaukee Brewers Uniform Number History: #31

Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?

The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.

#31

Tommy Harper (’70)
Gary Beare (’76)
Jim Gantner (’77)
Ed Romero (’77)
George Bamberger (’78-’80, ’85-’86)
Donnie Moore (’81)
Alex Madrid (’87)
Jaime Navarro (’89-’94)
Tim VanEgmond (’96)
Pete Harnisch (’97)
Bronswell Patrick (’98)
Bobby Hughes (’99)
Paul Rigdon (’00-’01)
Luis Martinez (’03)
Adrian Hernandez (’04)
Russell Branyan (’04-’05)
Dave Bush (’06-’10)
Burke Badenhop (’13)

Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers: #18 Shaun Marcum

It’s been a long off-season for baseball fans, made to feel somewhat longer here in the Midwest by mild temperatures that we normally don’t feel until the regular season is well underway.

The Brewers made their first League Championship Series since appearing in American League’s version back in the 1980s. That means the off-season is officially shorter for Brewers fans and players, but after falling two wins shy of the National League pennant and an appearance in the World Series it’s been a painful shortened time.

There isn’t anyone among us in Brewer Nation who can claim a longer or more painful off-season than that of Brewers starting pitcher, and subject of today’s profile:

Shaun Marcum.

Acquired during the preceding off-season for top prospect Brett Lawrie, plenty was expected of Shaun Michal Marcum before he ever put on a Milwaukee Brewers jersey.

After missing the entire 2009 season while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Marcum rebounded in 2010 and seemed healthy and effective enough in doing so.

Milwaukee was in desperate need of an upgrade to its rotation after suffering for years with the likes of Jeff Suppan, Braden Looper, Dave Bush and even a stunted comeback attempt by Doug Davis. Sure, Yovani Gallardo was doing well and free-agent pickup Randy Wolf was fine enough, though overmatched by trying to be the number two, but they needed more front-end talent.

The Toronto Blue Jays made Marcum available and Doug Melvin pulled the trigger on the straight-up swap. The reason for the cost was because Marcum is talented and showed himself to be healthy. This is the same guy that pitched Opening Day for the Blue Jays in 2010.

It was immediately apparent that the Brewers had acquired a new number two…well, at least until the Zack Greinke deal went down.

Marcum’s 2011 campaign almost didn’t start off with the team. He suffered through a bout of shoulder stiffness (the same as he’s going through right now in 2012) that nearly took him to the disabled list. He was able to get up to enough of a pitch count to be deemed ready-to-go out of the gate. With fellow import Greinke on the DL with a cracked rib, Marcum was even more necessary to start the season on the right foot.

He began the year with very good results and was arguably the team’s best pitcher for the first two months of the season. Who knows how long that level of play would have kept up and what kind of season numbers he could have posted if not for a hip injury suffered during interleague play prior to a start at Fenway Park on June 17.

It’s my opinion that Marcum wasn’t the same all season after that injury.

His numbers prior to the injury look like this:

14 GS, 7-2 record, 90.2 IP, 69 H, 29 R (27 ER), 2.68 ERA, 23 BB, 83 K, 7 HR, 1.02 WHIP

And his number post-injury (regular season only) were:

19 GS, 6-5 record, 110.0 IP, 106 H, 55 R (52 ER), 4.26 ERA, 34 BB, 75 K, 15 HR, 1.27 WHIP

Still, Marcum managed to start 33 games in 2011 (winning 13 of them), but the season caught up to him eventually.

Despite all his overtures to the contrary, it was pretty apparent that something was wrong with Shaun Marcum this past October. He says he wasn’t injured, and while that must be true, he certainly wasn’t effective.

Now, all players go through certain periods of worse success than “usual”. Marcum is no exception and he and his coaches claim that all the 2011 postseason struggles were a result of one of those periods of ineffectiveness.

Those postseason numbers were:

3 GS, 0-3 record, 9.2 IP, 17 H, 16 R (all earned), 14.90 ERA, 5 BB, 5 K, 3 HR, 2.28 WHIP

Yikes.

I’m no pro scout or manager or baseball coach, but my educated eye saw some things that just lended themselves to the idea that Marcum was worn down. It wasn’t like the if the season lasted another two months that Marcum was going to pull out of that funk along the way.

His innings total (200.2) in just the regular season was the highest of his career. He had pitched through a couple of injuries during the regular season, not to mention the shoulder stiffness that he opened the spring with. The aforementioned hip injury was bad enough, but exactly one month late, on July 17, during a spectacular defensive play on a ball bunted to his right, Marcum bounded off the mound and spun while underhanding a throw to first base. That resulted in an official neck strain and likely an unofficial sore shoulder.

All of those things added up to a pitcher being put through a lot over 33 starts. To me, all signs pointed to physical exhaustion which coupled with a resultant mental exhaustion in the playoffs leading to the results on the field which we all remember far too vividly.

Much of that will fade with time, helped especially by Opening Day which of course is 18 days away from the day I’m writing this.

What will really help Brewers fans get over it, though, would be a duplication of last year’s early success out of Marcum.

As of this writing, that’s currently in mild jeopardy as Marcum has not yet appeared in a Cactus League game. There is still enough time to get him a handful of starts, but he needs to be to a certain pitch-count-based level of endurance before being ready to pitch in a regular season game.

That notwithstanding, the path in 2012 for the 6’0”, 195 pound, 30-year-old right-hander from Kansas City, Missouri is a relatively clear one. When healthy, be that on Opening Day or shortly at a point thereafter, he’ll be in the starting rotation. He’ll look to make 30+ starts and help lead the Milwaukee Brewers on a successful defense of their National League Central Division title, complete with a return trip to the postseason. It’s just that when Marcum last takes the mound in 2012, he’ll be anticipating much different results.

Let’s hope that by then, as fans, we’ll be able to anticipate a positive outcome as well instead of being haunted by the memories of opportunities squandered.

All Decade By the Numbers

By: Big Rygg

I know that this idea is a bit corny and overdone already, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t taken a fair amount of time to compile the information that that led me to the decisions that I have made regarding my (and since I’ve been the entirety of the written Brewer Nation for quite some time now) and the Brewer Nation’s….

ALL-DECADE 25-MAN ROSTER!!! (which will come in the next post)

But first, some interesting tidbits for you all to digest followed by some high and low statistical totals for the decade of 2000-2009. A lot of these numbers helped me figure out my all-decade roster.

  • There have been 111 non-pitchers that have have at least one plate appearance for the Milwaukee Brewers this decade.
  • There have been 131 individuals that have pitched at least one-third of an inning for the Milwaukee Brewers this decade, including two position players (Trent Durrington and Mark Loretta).
  • The most common first name amongst Brewers in this decade is “Chris” (11 players). Second place goes to “Mike” (10 players).
  • Most seasons (or parts of seasons) played with the Brewers in the 2000s was 8, a record held by Geoff Jenkins, Bill Hall and Ben Sheets

Hitting Mosts (you might notice some themes here):

Games Played: 1015 – Geoff Jenkins
Plate Appearances: 4154 – Geoff Jenkins
At-Bats: 3698 – Geoff Jenkins
Runs: 558 – Geoff Jenkins
Hits: 1021 – Geoff Jenkins
Doubles: 232 – Geoff Jenkins
Triples: 21 – Corey Hart
Home Runs: 182 – Geoff Jenkins
Total Bases: 1835 – Geoff Jenkins
Runs Batted In: 594 – Geoff Jenkins
Stolen Bases: 113 – Scott Podsednik
Times Caught Stealing: 35 – Bill Hall
Walks: 345 – Prince Fielder
Intentional Walks: 66 – Fielder (Five more than Jenkins, but more than triple third place)
Strike Outs: 970 – Geoff Jenkins
Times Grounding into a Double Play: 90 – Geoff Jenkins
Times Hit By a Pitch: 86 – Geoff Jenkins
Sacrifice Hits: 21 – Mark Loretta
Sacrifice Flies: 32 – Prince Fielder (One more than Jenkins in far fewer PAs)

Hitting Highests (minimum 100 plate appearances):

Batting Average: .320 – Felipe Lopez
On-Base Percentage: .407 – Felipe Lopez
Slugging Percentage: .574 – Ryan Braun
On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage: .931 – Ryan Braun

Hitting Worsts:

Games Played: 1 (Tie – Carlos Corporan & Julio Mosquera)
Plate Appearances: 1 (Tie – Carlos Corporan & Julio Mosquera)
At-Bats: 1 (Tie – Carlos Corporan & Julio Mosquera)
Runs: 0 (8 players never scored but Pete Zoccolillo was on base the most times without scoring – 6 times)
Hits: 0 (4 players, Robert Perez had most Plate Appearances without a hit – 5)
Doubles: 0 (10 players with at least one hit had no doubles. Tony Fernandez had 18 hits without a double)
Triples: 0 (48 players with at least one hit had no triples. Carlos Lee had 275 hits without a triple)
Home Runs: 0 (20 player with at least one hit had no home runs. Tony Gwynn had by far the most without a home run with 60. Next closest? Nine.)
Total Bases: 0 (4 players. Robert Perez had 5 plate appearances without a base.)
Runs Batted In: 0 (11 players had at least one plate appearance without an RBI. Brad Nelson had 31 for the most.)
Stolen Bases: 0 (Since you can’t steal if you don’t try, 12 players had at least one attempt without a stolen base. Wes Helms and Felipe Lopez tied for the most with 3.)
Times Caught Stealing: 0 (16 players with at least one stolen base were never caught. Santiago Perez and Mel Stocker each stole 4 bases without getting caught.)
Walks: 0 (9 players never walked. Israel Alcantara had the most plate appearances without drawing a walk with 32.)
Intentional Walks: 0 (49 players never were intentionally given first base including Alex Sanchez who had 684 plate apperances without one.)
Strike Outs: 0 (5 players never struck out as a Brewers this decade. Nelson Cruz had the most PAs as a Brewers with 7. The fewest Ks with at least 100 PAs? Lenny Harris who only struck out 17 times in 215 PAs.)
Times Grounding into a Double Play: 0 (17 players never grounded into one this decade. Alcides Escobar had the most plate appearances without a GIDP with 138.)
Times Hit By a Pitch: 0 (36 players were never hit by a pitch. Marquis Grissom had the most plate appearances without ever getting plunked as a Brewer this decade with 640.)
Sacrifice Hits: 0 (58 players had none with Geoff Jenkins topping the list by having 4154 plate appearances.)
Sacrifice Flies: 0 (41 players never hit a sac fly this decade. John Vander Wal had 374 plate appearances without even a single sac fly.)

Hitting Lowests (4 players had zeroes in all categories, Robert Perez having the most plate appearances (5) without any stats, so the following is the lowest among players with at least one hit):

Batting Average: .067 – Chris Barnwell (2 Hits in 30 at-bats)
On-Base Percentage: .071 – Corey Patterson (1 Hit in 15 plate appearances)
Slugging Percentage: .067 – Chris Barnwell (2 singles in those 30 at-bats)
On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage: .143 – Corey Patterson

Pitching Mosts:

Wins: 86 – Ben Sheets
Losses: 83 – Ben Sheets
Games Played: 224 – Luis Vizcaino
Games Started: 221 – Ben Sheets
Games Finished: 129 – Derrick Turnbow
Complete Games: 18 – Ben Sheets (Sabathia had 2nd most in the decade in one-half season: 7)
Shutouts: 4 – Ben Sheets (Sabathia had 2nd most in the decade in one-half season: 3)
Saves: 65 – Derrick Turnbow
Innings PItched: 1428 – Ben Sheets
Hits Allowed: 1402 – Ben Sheets
Runs Allowed: 650 – Ben Sheets
Earned Runs Allowed: 591 – Ben Sheets
Home Runs Allowed: 160 – Ben Sheets
Walks Issued: 313 – Ben Sheets
Intentional Walks Issued: 25 Tie (Ben Sheets & Jeff Suppan though Suppan did it in far fewer innings – 1428.0 IP to 546.0 IP)
Strikeouts: 1206 – Ben Sheets
Batters Hit: 54 – Dave Bush
Balks: 5 – Chris Capuano
Wild Pitches: 49 – Ben Sheets

Pitching Bests:

Earned Run Average: 0.00 – 6 players (Chris Saenz pitched the most innings: 6.0)
Walks and Hits Per Innings Pitches: 0.00 – Trent Durrington (Best by an actual pitcher? Mike Crudale with 0.75)
Hits Allowed Per 9 Innngs: 0.00 – Trent Durrington (Best by an actual pitcher? Mike Crudale with 0.96)
Home Runs Allowed Per 9 Innings: 0.00 – 11 players (Mike Crudale pitched most innings without allowing a home run: 9.1 IP)
Walks Issued Per 9 Innings: 0.00 – 3 players (Jesus Colome pitched most innings without issuing one: 6.1 IP)
Strikeouts Per 9 Innings: 18.00 – Mark Loretta (Best by an actual pitcher? Allan Simpson with 16.88)
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio: 5.12 – CC Sabathia (of pitchers that issues at least one walk)

Pitching Leasts:

Wins: 0 – 42 Players (Chris Smith pitched most games without a win: 35)
Losses: 0 – 29 Players (Chris Smith pitched most games without a loss as well)
Games Played: 1 – 4 Players (Trent Durrington, Mark Loretta, Chris Saenz, Chris Mabeus)
Games Finished: 0 – 5 Players (of players who relieved at least once – Chris Mabeus, Josh Butler, Mike Matthews, Kyle Peterson, Jimmy Haynes)
Complete Games: 0 – 42 Players (of players who started at least once – Jimmy Haynes started most games without a complete game: 62)
Shutouts: 0 – Jeff Suppan (Most games started without a shutout: 95)
Saves: 0 – 82 Players (of players with at least one relief appearance – Jose Capellan had most relief appearances without a save: 85)
Innings PItched: 0.1 – Trent Durrington (Actual pitcher with least? Chris Mabeus – 1.2 IP)
Hits Allowed: 0 – Trent Durrington
Runs Allowed: 0 – 3 Players (Chris Saenz pitched most innings without allowing a run: 6.0 IP)
Earned Runs Allowed: 0 – 3 Players (Chris Saenz pitched most innings without allowing a run: 6.0 IP)
Home Runs Allowed: 0 – 11 Players (Mike Crudale pitched most innings without allowing a home run: 9.1 IP)
Walks Issued: 0 – 3 Players (Jesus Colome pitched most innings without issuing a walk: 6.1 IP)
Intentional Walks Issued: 0 – 37 Players (CC Sabathia pitched most innings without issuing an intentional pass: 130.2 IP)
Strikeouts: 0 – Trent Durrington (Two pitchers only had 1 K but Jared Fernandez threw most innings with fewest strikeouts: 6.1 IP)
Batters Hit: 0 – 34 Players (Nick Neugebauer pitched most innings without hitting a batter: 61.1 IP)
Balks: 0 – 102 Players (Carlos Villanueva pitched the most innings without balking: 372.1 IP)
Wild Pitches: 0 – 27 Players (David Weathers pitched most innings by far without a wild pitch: 158.0 IP)

Pitching Worsts:

Earned Run Average: 27.00 – Bob Scanlan (5 Earned Runs in 1.2 IP)
Walks and Hits Per Innings Pitches: 4.20 – Chris Mabeus (4 hits, 3 walks in 1.2 IP)
Hits Allowed Per 9 Innngs: 32.40 – Bob Scanlan (6 hits in 1.2 IP)
Home Runs Allowed Per 9 Innings: 5.59 – Brandon Kolb (6 HR in 9.2 IP)
Walks Issued Per 9 Innings: 16.20 – Chris Mabeus (3 walks in 1.2 IP)
Strikeouts Per 9 Innings: 0.00 – Trent Durrington (Worst by Actual pitcher was Jared Fernandez who had 1 K in 6.1 IP for a 1.42 ratio)
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio: 0.25 – David Manning (2 Ks to 8 walks)

Lots to Catch Up On…

…so let’s get going.

By: Big Rygg

Hey Brewer Nation! Thanks for dealing with our collective hiatus from the written word over the past couple of weeks. It’s been a crazy length of time for both South Side Rob and me. Suffice it to say that my hiatus is over and I’ll be posting more often going forward.

Anyway, like I said in the lead…let’s get going.

When I last posted, the Milwaukee Brewers were 37-29 (put away your calculators, that’s 8 games over .500) and held a one-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals (then 36-30) as the Crew sat atop the National League Central.

While the Brewers have lost more than they’ve won over the past 18 games, they now sit 4 games over .500 at 44-40, and are one game behind the St. Louis Cardnials (who remain six games over .500 at 46-40) as the Redbirds sit atop the NL Central.

Casey McGehee has emerged as a potential NL Rookie of the Year candidate, Manny Parra threw his way to the minors and has hopefully pitched his way back to staying in the rotation for the remainder of the year. (Let’s be honest with ourselves…As much as I like Seth McClung and Mike Burns as people, they aren’t ever going to make up 40% of a playoff rotation.) Jody Gerut still can’t get a hit to save his soul. Prince Fielder is still tearing the cover off the ball.

But let’s hit on a few big items specifically, shall we?

And let’s get the negative out of the way.

Ryan Braun vs. Doug Melvin

I’m happy to say that this happened, exploded, was reacted to and overreacted to, and has nearly gone away from the mainstream media before I had the chance to comment here on the blog.

What I am on record as saying is that Braun was out of line in the words he chose to express his feelings. We all agree that the pitching hasn’t been up to par, which was especially evident in the Cubs series, but the words Braun said called out half of his team whether he intended it that way or not.

Doug Melvin responded in the media, something he has never done before against a player to my knowledge (at least since taking over here in Milwaukee). Braun has been saying lots of things over the last couple of years, but again in the words he chose to use, he crossed the line a bit too far this time and Melvin let him know it. Should Melvin have taken it to the media? Probably not, but the way in which Braun took it there made a non-response a non-option for Melvin if he wanted the club to save face at all.

The two met, Braun apologized for the misunderstanding, we move on. Above, though, are some of my thoughts on it.

Speaking of St. Louis, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder…

Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder…St. Louis-bound!

The bad about this is that Trevor Hoffman isn’t joining them (though hopefully someone will have to back out and maybe he’ll be able to go). The positives are that both men are now two-time All Stars. Prince was the NL Starter back in 2007 at 1B and is a reserve this year. Braun became the first Milwaukee Brewer to be named as an All Star starter two consecutive years since some guy named Robin Yount back in ’82 & ’83. Sounds like impressive company to me.

Fielder will also be joining the three other National League first-basemen in the Home Run Derby on Monday, July 13th. For those of you that don’t know who they are, the four men are Fielder, Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez. That should be one heckuva display as all four men have 20+ home runs so far in the regular season and Howard (the low man on that totem pole) is a past winner of the Derby.

Milwaukee’s own Happy Youngster will be in attendance at the Derby as well. Look for the yellow shirt in the first row behind the St. Louis bullpen (from what he told me at the ballpark last night, anyway).

Rotation Situation

I use this heading to talk about the following things:

1 – The Death of Dave Bush’s Beard. I will summarize this situation with one question: Was Dave Bush on the DL when his Beard was protecting him?

2 – The Rebirth of Manny Parra. Parra was sent to the minors sporting a 3-8 record and an ERA of 7.52. After putting together “quality” starts in four straight outings and five of six starts, Parra went on a run of futility that landed him in the minors. His ERA jumped nealry 2 runs in three starts. That’s a lot when you get to June. Parra allowed a lot of runs, though, in accomplishing that feat. In those three starts combined, Parra amassed a stat line reading; 0-2, 11.1 IP, 21 ER, 25 H, 7 BB, 9 K. That’s an ERA, over that span, of 16.68!!

Now, having said all that, Parra comes back to the Brewers to start his first game since June 13th at Miller Park when he lost to the Chicago White Sox. I think he’ll be fine so long as he stays relaxed. Even though he might be pitching for his position in the rotation in the 2nd “half” of the season, he can’t pitch that way.

3 – The Life of Roy Halladay Rumors. Lo and behold, Roy Halladay is on the block after all! Despite so many people saying that Halladay would never be moved this year, I told everyone that he was on the block. Sure, the Brewers might not end up with him, but it wasn’t that hard to see coming despite the good doctor having over a year left on his contract if you were paying close enough attention. Halladay does also possess a full no-trade clause basically allowing him to hand-pick his next team or to choose to stay with Toronto. However, once your name gets dangled out there as possible trade bait, and you’re a superstar (in talent if not in recognition outside of the AL East yet), you will be moved.

The Brewers have prospects that they could package together to get Halladay, of this there can be little doubt. It’s really just a matter of whether or not Doug Melvin is willing to part with them, further depleting a farm system that lost two top prospects to Cleveland in the deal that brought CC Sabathia (and a playoff berth) to the city of Milwaukee. Another potential option that would help save a piece from the farm system would be to package a current major leaguer in with prospects. Regardless of what the winning team ends up spending, they will gain easily the best pitcher available this season. No Jake Peavy or Cliff Lee or Javier Vazquez or Jarrod Washburn or Erik Bedard or anyone else would make the impact that Roy Halladay can and most assuredly will make on a contending team.

So, the question here becomes…

What Would You Be Willing to Trade for Roy Halladay?

Here is how I worded it a couple of days ago.

Halladay is under contract for the next season. If only we had a larger sample size on Casey McGehee. I’d like Gamel’s LH bat in the lineup going forward but with Rickie back next season, McGehee’s ABs will come at 3B. I would be willing to move Gamel. Point two: I’d personally rather move Hardy and hang on to Escobar as his immediate replacement. That said, the Jays would certainly rather have Escobar what with his better range, more speed and cheaper cost. I would be willing to move Escobar, but only if we’re able to sign Hardy to an extension. And pretty much any pitching prospect (with a couple of personal favorites excluded) would be fair game. Oh and feel encouraged to throw in a bat from last year like Canada’s own Lawrie if that gets the deal done.

Anyway…

I’ll go right ahead and close this down for tonight. There’s more I could talk about, but a hugely long post is usually a skipped over post.

So, good win tonight over the Cardinals. Glad Hoffman slammed the door shut. Let’s win a series tomorrow and then handle the Dodgers on our way to a nice three-day break for 23 of our 25-man roster.

Holy Crap…

By: Big Rygg

If it’s been said once, it’s been said 1,000 times as it relates to baseball…

“Things even out in the end.”

We’ve had a few gems in the pitching duel department this year, to be sure. Well, tonight we had a good old fashioned slobberknocker, if I may.

14-12 was the final score. That’s a total of 26 runs scored, math majors. The Brewers were down by five runs more than once in this game and battled back to within striking distance and eventually take the lead. We had home runs, timely hitting and just enough pitching (including a nice bounce-back from future member of the Hall of Fame Trevor Hoffman).

All told, the Brewers bats appear to have finally stopped hitting the snooze button and gotten out of bed. Hopefully we can continue the momentum that we built up over the past 9 innings (which started during the White Sox series) through the rest of the month and into the dog days of summer.

Without going into every part of the box score…

Ryan Braun finished a double shy of the cycle. Prince Fielder hit his first career grand slam. Together Braun and Fielder drove in a combined 11 runs (5 and 6 respectively) which is only the 4th time in the last 30 years that the numbers 3 and 4 hitters in a lineup drove in 11 or more runs together in the same game. Helluva night.

The same CANNOT be said for Dave Bush (who trimmed the beard…big mistake) and Chris Narveson as they combined to give up 11 of the Crew’s 12 runs allowed. Mark DiFelice gave up the other as he threw the pitch that Travis Hafner deposited into the right-field bleachers allowing two of his teammates to trot around the bases in front of him. But hey…the pitchers will have an off night every now and then too. The offense wiill have to pick them up every now and then, and while you usually can’t and therefore don’t overcome a pitching staff that gives up 12…well, they did it tonight and that’s all that matters at the moment.

Big win. Nice confidence boost for the bats and hopefully we can stay out of the funk for a while that this team finds themselves in a little too often.

The team is now 2-6 in Interleague play this year. Hopefully we can ramp up the victories a bit and even that record up over these next few days.

 

One For Their Last 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!

Home Cooking

By: Big Rygg

In what is hopefully the first of 9 victories on this homestand, the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Atlanta Braves by a score of 3-2 courtesy of a Mike Cameron walk-off sacrifice fly. It was one hell of an ending to an exciting game, if at times frustrating, game.

J.J. Hardy had a 3/4 night with two huge RBIs and recently maligned Bill Hall scored the winning run on the aforementioned sac fly. Pretty much every one contributed in some way, but probably the biggest story of the night goes to starting pitcher Dave Bush.

The night started out seemingly on a powder keg as Bush allowed a solo home run in each of the first two innings, one being a rookie’s first career homer. Those two runs, though, would be all the Braves would get off of Bush or any other Brewer pitcher for that matter. Recently acquired Julian Tavarez pitched a perfect 8th inning on 8 pitches and Salomon Torres worked around one hit in the 9th and earned the victory on Cameron’s walk-off.

All in all, a good night for the Brewers and hopefully the jumping off point for a strong homestand. The Brewers are, after tonight, a mere 3 games over .500 at home. Granted, they’ve only played a MLB-lowest 21 games at home, but even still, the Crew needs to pick it up. I’m very encouraged by the face that the Brewers now sit 2 games under .500 overall after having played 31 games on the road so far. That being said, if we pick up the pace on this homestand, we stand to be a few games over .500 by the end of it.

The Braves have won 6 games on the road all year. We need to exploit that. Houston is only one game over .500 on the road, so we can hopefully use that to our advantage. Arizona, who had the majors’ best record at one point this year, did most of that work at home where they are 19-9. Away from Chase Field, they are 11-13.

After the beginning of the year where we ran into everyone’s aces, things have turned a bit, at least during this homestand. We avoid Roy Oswalt when Houston comes to town (even though he’s been getting hit way above average so far this year). We avoid Brandon Webb when the Diamondbacks come to town. We’re going to avoid Tom Glavine while the Braves are here…

The point is, all nine of these games are winnable. We won one…let’s see how far we can take these next eight games.