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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Greinke We've Been Waiting For

Zack Greinke turned in a strong performance last night vs the Rays, pitching seven innings and allowing one run on four hits with ten strikeouts. He now has 80 strikeouts this season vs nine walks, good for a whopping 8.89 K/BB ratio. To put that stat in perspective, Shaun Marcum, known for his control and low walk rate, has a 3.5 K/BB ratio. Greinke also sports an equally impressive 11.98 K per nine innings pitched (K/9) this season, which, if it holds, will beat the franchise record set by Ben Sheets in 2004 of 10.025 (thanks to the Brewers Bar).

If they hadn't already, Brewers fans now have an idea of just how well Greinke can pitch. He kept the Rays guessing all night, racking up the Ks both swinging and looking by commanding his fastball, changeup, and slider with authority. He didn't disappoint at the plate, either, flying out to centerfield and lining a base hit to right. In short, last night was the Zack Greinke show, with supporting roles by Ryan Braun (1-3, 2 RBI, BB), Prince Fielder (1-2, RBI, 2 BB), and Jonathan Lucroy (3-4, R, while enduring a rough night behind the dish, including a pretty nasty ball to the crotch).

The Brewers look for a series win today at 1:10, as Shaun Marcum takes the mound vs Rays ace David Price.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Things Could Be Worse...

The Brewers managed to win a game against the Red Sox this weekend, though they lost by wide margins Friday and Sunday. Sunday’s loss capped a mostly forgettable, 2-5 road trip through Chicago and Boston. Thankfully, the Cardinals suffered through an equally poor stretch, and the Brewers still share first place in the NL Central as they return home today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Right Where They Want To Be

Today is a good day in Brewer Nation. Led by solid pitching and freakish play by Prince Fielder, the hottest team in baseball swept the Cardinals this weekend and grabbed first place in the NL Central. The Brewers now head to Chicago for a four game series against the downtrodden Cubs with a chance to pad their meager half game division lead.

The Brew Crew now sit ten games above .500 with a record of 38-28. The last time that happened, and the last time they led the NL Central, was June of 2009. This serves as a reminder that a lot still needs to happen for the Brewers to win their division, since they ultimately finished the 2009 season 80-82, falling short of a winning record and playoff birth. Granted, this isn't 2009, and the Brewers pitching is much, much stronger than it was back then, but a strong position in June in no way guarantees success over a whole season.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Prince Fielder is in Beast Mode

The Brewers won what may be their most impressive game of the year last night against the Mets. A rough inning by Kameron Loe saw the Crew fall behind 2-6 after a five run eighth inning, but the Brewers wouldn't stay down for long. Ryan Braun plated Rickie Weeks and Nyjer Morgan with a one out double in the bottom of the eighth, followed by Prince Fielder's second two-run home run of the night. After a clean top of the ninth by new father John Axford, Nyjer Morgan unknowingly won the game by plating Craig Counsell on a walk-off double.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Brewers Cap Strong Road Trip With Decisive Victory Over Marlins

A strong outing by Zack Greinke and a three-run bomb by Prince Fielder sealed a four game sweep of the Marlins in Florida. After dropping two of three in Cincinnati, the Brewers now return home to host the Mets having silenced any doubts about their ability to win on the road. If you're a Brewers fan, you're feeling pretty good about the team right now. They're still 1.5 games back of the Cardinals (who come to Milwaukee this weekend), but their 34-26 record places them alongside the best teams in the Majors. The Brew Crew has been on a tear lately, even with essentially no offensive contribution from the five spot in Casey McGehee, who has been killing rallies for what's starting to feel like forever.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

One Down, Three to Go

The Brewers pulled off a tough win last night at Sun Life Stadium against Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins. I was on the road in Wisconsin at the time and when I finally found decent reception of the game on the radio I heard that Yuniesky Betancourt was leading off the ninth inning while the Brewers trailed by one. When he reached base I thought, hey, maybe the bottom of the order might do something here. Through the still choppy signal, I barely made out that Ryan Braun had stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter, and I remembered that he wasn't in the lineup yesterday to give his shoulder some extra rest. My radio signal became stronger just in time, allowing me to enjoy Bob Ueker's signature "get up, get up, get outta here, gone!" as Braun quickly crushed what turned out to be a game-winning two-run home run. My wife and I shared a high five as we couldn't quite believe that Braunie came off the bench and again stepped up in the clutch.

John Axford hurriedly warmed up and entered the bottom of the ninth seeking his fourteenth save of the year. He certainly made it interesting, loading the bases on three walks (one intentional to Mike Stanton) before striking out Brett Hayes to end the game.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Brewers Narrowly Miss Series Win in Cincinnati

Last night as Joey Votto came to the plate against Kameron Loe I thought to myself that the next two matchups (Loe vs Votto, Jay Bruce) would likely decide the game. If Loe can keep the ball away from those two bats the Brewers would probably win the game and the series. Unfortunately for the Brewers, Votto's success against Loe continued (4-7, 3 HR) as he blasted a game-winning two-run home run. All that stood between the Brewers and a hard-fought series win at Great American Ballpark were the bats of two of the hottest hitters in baseball in Votto and Bruce (Bruce hit a two-run homer in the seventh).