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Friday, May 27, 2011

Now Comes a Real Test

The Brewers have been playing some great baseball lately, winning thirteen of sixteen games since returning from a lackluster road trip through Houston, Atlanta, and St. Louis. They've won eleven of twelve at home and have swept their past three home series. Tonight they host the San Francisco Giants before leaving town for trips to Cincinnati and Florida. They've played well against teams they need to beat if they want to contend in their division, but a better test begins tonight as Shaun Marcum takes the mound against Tim Lincecum and the World Champion Giants. Runs will likely be at a premium.

The Brewers can prove a lot over the next couple of weeks. Strong showings these next three series will position them well for a tough June that will feature the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays. The Giants will be no pushovers this weekend, in spite of losing Buster Posey to a broken leg, and the best home team in the National League needs to show that their success can transfer to the road, especially against the tough division rival Reds.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hart Makes History and the Crew Keeps on Rollin'

Corey Hart found his power stroke in dramatic fashion Monday night against the Nationals, hitting three home runs and adding another in his first at bat last night. His three home run night tied a franchise record, as did the seven RBI that came with it. The Brewers are firing on all cylinders right now and have won 12 of their last 15 games. They even managed to overcome a poor start by Chris Narveson (3.1 IP, 6 ER) by scoring two runs each in the seventh and eighth innings yesterday, the winning run coming from a two-run two-out single by Jonathan Lucroy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Success! (and thoughts on Carlos Gomez)

The Brewers are 2-1 on this short, poorly scheduled road trip after splitting with the Dodgers and taking the first of two from the Padres. Having entered this week with a 6-15 record on the road, a .500 road trip (however brief) is a great start to turning that stat around. The Crew now has a chance to sweep the Padres and return home with a 3-1 record, and after the Brewers bats finally made some clutch hits last night, it's possible they just might pull it off.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Headin' West on a High Note

Wednesday I asked if the Brewers could get back to .500 over the course of this homestand. They won five of six against the Padres and Pirates, improving their record to 19-21 and regaining third place in the NL Central. During that time the bats came around and all that stood between the Crew and a sweep of both teams were some tipped pitches by Randy Wolf and a heavy work load finally getting to Kameron Loe.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Climbing Back Toward .500?

The Brewers have won two in a row following a strong start by Zack Greinke in his home debut on Monday and an offensive breakout on Tuesday. They now hold a record of 16-20 as they look for a series sweep today against the Padres. Their recent road trip put them in a hole that won't be easy to climb out of quickly; to do so during this home stand would require them to beat the Padres again today and then sweep the Pirates this weekend. I may take the optimistic view, but some signs indicate they could pull it off, however unlikely that would be.

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Time to Start Winning Again

After a 2-8 road trip the Brewers sit in fifth place in the NL Central with a record of 14-20, 5.5 games behind the Cardinals. In order to win the division the Brewers will need to win roughly 72-75 games over their final 128 contests.  The rest of May will be important for the Crew. The Brewers are much better than they've shown lately, and they have an opportunity to turn things around this week at home against the Padres and Pirates. They need to position themselves well for a June schedule in which they play series against the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees. The winning needs to start tonight with Zack Greinke on the mound vs the Padres. It's still early, but as we were reminded in 2010, it's not too early to fall out of the race.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gallardo Ends Skid in True Ace Fashion

For the second time this season Yovani Gallardo took the mound and acted as a true ace. On a day when Justin Verlander threw the second no-hitter of his career, Gallardo took his own into the eighth inning vs the Cardinals and ended the Brewers losing streak at seven games. All told he threw 118 pitches over eight scoreless innings, allowing one hit and four walks with six strikeouts. Backed by strong performances by Casey McGehee (3-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI) and Carlos Gomez (2-3, 2B, 3B, BB, 2 RBI), Gallardo pitched brilliantly, his only hit a weak ground ball up the middle by Daniel Descalso (???) that barely slipped past a diving Craig Counsell.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Greinke Day, Brewers Fans!

As I'm sure you're all aware, today Zack Greinke makes his long-awaited Brewers debut in the second game of a double header in Atlanta. This is the day we've been waiting for since December and I am very excited to watch him pitch for the Brewers. The only question that remains is whether 2010 Greinke or 2009 Greinke shows up. It'd be great to see him in Cy Young-form right from the start, but it would be understandable if he's still a little rusty in his first start of the year. I might be asking too much for him to match a 2.16 ERA and 1.073 WHIP, but it sure would be awesome if he came close! Go Greinke, Go Brewers!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Two of Four in Atlanta and Two of Three in St. Louis Would Salvage Road Trip

A seemingly tall order, especially after yesterday's loss, but it just might be possible. After a disappointing series in Houston in which miscues and a non-existent offense led to a series loss, strong performances in Atlanta and St. Louis might just lead to success on this road trip. The Braves have not been playing well, though they'll certainly put up a bigger fight than when the Brewers took three of four from them in the first home stand of the season. Indeed, they'll be looking to get back on track beginning with this series against the Brewers. From their perspective yesterday was a good start. Still, I like the Crew's chances to at least split the series. The offense will come around and Zack Greinke's long awaited debut, along with the return of Nyjer Morgan, could provide a needed boost on Wednesday and Tuesday, respectively. Let's face it, for the benefits Gomez brings to a game, and, yes, he does bring benefits, the Brewers need a better hitter in the two-spot and Morgan would be a great fit.