Thursday, April 15, 2010

Milwaukee Finally Hangs On

Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs were heading into Thursday's game against the Brewers looking for the sweep, as they were able to take full advantage of the Brewers pitching staff's struggles in games one and two in the series. So you can imagine that Cubs fans had to be feeling pretty excited as they were throwing Zambrano out against the one, the only, Jeff Suppan.

When asked by a friend before the game how I thought Suppan would do, I said that I bet you this will be one of those games where Soup looks good and then comes back and gives up ten runs in his next start. Not two minutes after I said that, he delivered meat to Derrek Lee in the form of a solo home run. Silly me, thinking that Suppan would actually peform well in this game.

The thing is though, he didn't pitch that bad. Granted, he didn't pitch good, but his performance was nothing different than what we've been getting out of our starters this season for the most part. Suppan gave up four runs in his five innings of work, two of those being long balls. The way our offense has been performing, maybe we can get away with performances like this for awhile, but I'd feel so much better about myself is Suppan could mysteriously wind up on the DL again in the coming weeks.

For the most part, this game was about trading runs back and forth, and the Brewers came out on top with the 8-6 victory. Ryan Braun started things off with an RBI single which scored Jim Edmonds. Braun is going to get our Player of the Game award, not just for getting the run scoring started but also for keeping the Brewers lead in tact towards the end of the game. In total, Braun finished 4-for-5 with 3 RBI and two runs. One of those runs was a deep shot sent to Waveland Avenue when he homered in the top of the eighth inning.

Along the way, the Brewers also had RBI singles from Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder. Casey McGehee also continued his strong series against his former team, as the third baseman had 3 RBI, including a two-run home run in the 3rd inning. Also deserving mention should be Gregg Zaun, who appears to be out of his slump as he went 3-for-5, raising his batting average a full 100 points all the way up to .148.

As for the pitching, the bullpen did a good job for the most part not letting too many more runs cross the plate. Chris Narveson will get credit for the win, although he had a rocky inning in which he gave up a run, although it could have been a lot worse. Carlos Villanueva pitched very well across two innings, striking out four batters and continuing his hot season. And then it came down to our closer, Trevor Hoffman.

Hoffman has already blown two saves this season, and fans have been nervous that we may have to start looking elsewhere at the closer position. I've never been worried yet about Hoffman, as he proved his worth to us last year and I'm more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for a long time to come. He entered the game with a three-run lead, and you have to believe that in those situations he should be able to get the job done. Corey Hart tried to make it tough on him with his inability to play right field, but Hoffman got the save, his third of the year.

It wasn't easy, but playing the Cubs never is. Thankfully, the Brewers were able to get at least one victory in this series to avoid the sweep, and hopefully they can take some of this momentum with them into Washington. The Crew will face the Nationals on Friday night, and then have matinee games on Saturday and Sunday. Two wins in that series would get the Brewers back to .500, but hopefully we can muster out the sweep, although the Nationals usually do give us a hard time for some reason.

"Life is not a spectator sport. If you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you're wasting your life." - Jackie Robinson


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