Monday, May 24, 2010

Let's Hope This is The Turnaround

So here's the deal. My brain is fried right now. Why? Well when your weekend starts off with you passing out in a parking lot, you know it's going to be a long one. In addition to that, the Bucky Channel crew had a raucous night in Chicago on Saturday, the Lost series finale has turned my brain into scrambled eggs, I'm legitimately sick and and under the weather, and this weekend I did something I never thought I'd do in my life. Spoiler alert - The Bucky Channel has joined Twitter. More on that later tonight.

In the midst of all that though, the Milwaukee Brewers were one state over taking on the Twins in round one of their annual interleague play series. Usually for the Brewers, the interleague play games are a mixed bag, except for the games against the Twins in which they always seem to struggle. That would be the case again this year, but if you look at the series as a whole, there's an argument to be made that this could serve as a microcosm for the season. That is unless, of course, I'm getting too excited about just one victory and they continue to lose six games a week as they have been.

Friday night's game, the first game of the series, perfectly illustrated how when the Brewers are bad, they are really, really bad. Dave Bush quite literally had a meltdown in this one, as not only did he get into a shouting match with the home plate umpire, but he was unable to control his emotions to the point where he gave up seven runs in the first inning. All the while only securing one out. This was a rare moment in my life where I rooted for Jeff Suppan to enter a Brewers game, only because he was warming up and Dave Bush desperately needed to exit the game. Suppan ended up not doing so hot either, and the Brewers lost the game 15-3.

The three runs the Brewers garnered came off the bat of former Twin Carlos Gomez, who not only hit a 3-run shot to get Milwaukee on the board but also did a little flaunting to his old teammates about it. Any time you strut your stuff even though your team is getting killed, you are going to catch flack for it. On the same token, Gomez's homer was the only positive thing about this game, so he'll be the one getting the Player of the Game nomination for Friday.

Milwaukee was hoping to forget about the series opener and grab a victory on Saturday afternoon, but things started off poorly again as Yovani Gallardo (our quote unquote ace - sorry but aces are supposed to go longer than six innings per outing) gave up four runs in the first inning. The Brewers would chip in a few runs themselves, including a home run from Corey Hart who is inexplicably hot right now, but coming into the bottom of the ninth inning they were down 6-2.

That's when this year's Brewers team does something they never do - they started to make a comeback. Rickie Weeks hit a 2-RBI double, Carlos Gomez came right back with a 2 RBI single, and Casey McGehee gave Milwaukee the lead with an RBI of his own. Do the math there, that's five runs, and that's a 7-6 lead for the Brewers heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.

But if there is one thing the Brewers do better than making a comeback, it's blowing a lead. Carlos Villanueva gave up a run in the ninth and the game went into extras. Villanueva went two innings but when he couldn't go any further, the Brewers had to call on Manny Parra, who was actually scheduled to start Sunday's game. Parra went 1 2/3 innings, and he wasn't able to go any further for a different reason - he gave up the game winning sac fly, and the Twins got the victory.

This was a backbreaking loss, and not surprisingly the calling of the heads of Ken Macha and even Doug Melvin increased heavily after this one, but so far it appears the two are safe in their current positions. As for player of the game, we'll give it to Corey Hart. Not only has he somehow remembered how to hit home runs, but he made a fantastic defensive play in the ninth inning to force extra innings and at least give the Brewers another chance.

Hoping not to leave Minnesota without some semblance of pride, the Brewers set out on Sunday to get their first victory at Target Field. Milwaukee did get a lead right away in the first, but then before you knew it the Brewers were back on the losing side of things. Well, Corey Hart hit yet another home run as did Prince Fielder, and the Brewers found themselves with a lead in the ninth inning for the second straight game. The question was, could they maintain it?

Up until this point, the Brewers pitching staff had been doing a decent enough job of keeping them alive in this one. Marco Estrada was forced into the starting role, and he was able to give three innings, giving up a pair of runs. Manny Parra was thrown into the game for the second straight game, and he pitched a solid two innings. Next up was newbie Zach Braddock, who pitched two more solid innings after getting called up to replace Mitch Stetter. Then, it was Trevor Time, albeit in the 8th inning. Hoffman pitched a solid inning, and the ball was then passed to our mustached hero John Axford who was going for his first save.

Things got a little shaky at first, as Axford did give up a run and shades of Saturday starting bleeding through like the Island world into the sideways timeline. But despite giving up a run, Axford ended up getting all of his outs via the punchout, and the Brewers picked up their second win in like two weeks. It's still a rough go of things right now for Milwaukee, as at 17-27 they are still ten games under .500. But I'd like to think that while we saw the awful Milwaukee (Friday night), the heartbreaking Milwaukee (Saturday night), we also saw the Milwaukee that is capable of winning games (Sunday afternoon). I'd like to think that going forward, this is the Milwaukee we'll see for the rest of the season, but I guess we'll just have to wait to find out.

The Brewers have an off day today, and they've still yet to fire anybody, so it looks like everyone's job is safe for now. If they are going to turn it around, now would be as good of a time as any, as they are home this week against the Astros and the Mets. They face some tough competition the next couple of games with the likes of Roy Oswalt and Johan Santana, but hopefully having an off day the day after a victory will keep the good vibes permeating in the clubhouse and things will start to turnaround.

POTG: I'm going with Zach Braddock. Just called up, solid two innings, kept us in the game. There's your future closer everybody, but for the meantime let's rally behind John Axford and his beautiful mustache.


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