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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).

A frustrating loss, but the Brewers have struggled lately on the road and against the Reds, and overall they played a pretty good series in Cincinnati. On Monday Chris Narveson actually pitched pretty well, but made one very bad pitch to Jay Bruce that decided the game. Hitters like Jay Bruce and Joey Votto do not miss bad pitches.

On Tuesday Zack Greinke fought his command all night, limiting the damage over six innings, and was rewarded for his quality start with a win. Last night Shaun Marcum again pitched how we've come to expect him to, but Bruce and Votto ended up on top.

If the Brewers can manage two of four wins in Florida over the weekend this road trip would still be a success. A series win in Cincinnati would have been a huge moral victory for the Brewers, but beating the Reds at home still remains a tall order. Overall I'm happy with the Crew's performance, even if I really wish they had pulled off the win last night.

On another note, much has been made of Casey McGehee's struggles at the plate this year. I like him in the five spot, but the fact is he's just not hitting well enough to stay there right now. He's hitting too many ground balls with runners on base, ruining scoring opportunities left and right. Here's my suggested batting order for the Brewers:


Nyjer Morgan is a contact hitter who can get on base and set the table for the middle of the Brewers order. I was happy to see him batting second last night and I hope Ron Roenicke keeps him there when McGehee rejoins the lineup Friday. Corey Hart has certainly produced from the two hole, but his power suits him better as a #5 or #6 hitter where he can bat in more runs. Lucroy hits much better than your average #8, but his minor league statistics paint him as patient hitter and suggest that he'll become more patient at the plate as he gains more major league experience. He's a good fit in front of the pitcher because he's more likely to lay off bad pitches than other bottom of the order Brewers hitters. I think my lineup does a better job of maximizing current Brewers talent than batting McGehee fifth, Hart second, Lucroy sixth, and Morgan eighth.

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