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Monday, April 4, 2011

Few Positives in Series vs Reds

By the 6th inning of Sunday's game vs the Reds the Brewers must have thought the series couldn't end soon enough. After Opening Day's deflating ninth inning loss, the Brewers failed to compete in games two and three. Consequently, many more negatives than positives come to mind when thinking of the series. Brewers' pitchers threw for a combined 6.57 ERA, second only to the Houston Astros for last in the National League. Needless to say, Brewers fans didn't see that coming after this offseason's moves to improve the team's pitching. Yovani Gallardo stands as the only starter with a sub-five ERA (3.00) and the staff's numbers would have been worse without scoreless outings by Zach Braddock, Sergio Mitre, and Takashi Saito.

The team batted .223 after leaving the Cactus League with by far the highest team average. In large part this average owes itself to poor performances at the plate by Mark Kotsay and Yuniesky Betancourt, batting 0-18 collectively (Yun-E6 0-11, Kotsay 0-7). Many now hope (myself included) that Nyjer Morgan and even Craig Counsell see more playing time in weeks to come. Others fared better than Brewers' fans favorite whipping boys of 2011, and some positives can certainly be pulled from the series as the Brewers move on to host the Braves.

Rickie Weeks hit leadoff home runs in both Thursday's and Sunday's games. He also hit two doubles, plating two more runs. Ryan Braun (2 HR), Casey McGehee, Prince Fielder, and Wil Nieves all batted at or above .300 for the weekend. Erick Almonte hit his second career home run exactly eight years after his first.

Gallardo held the bat-heavy Reds to two runs over six innings before getting a no decision in Thursday's loss. Shaun Marcum looked much sharper after struggling through his first two innings on Saturday, striking out seven over 4.2 innings.

After a horrendous start to the season, the team needs to put that series behind them. They play at home for the next week, hosting the Braves for four games followed by a weekend series vs the Cubs before they head to Pittsburgh. Things can only improve from here.

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