Sunday, June 6, 2010

Brewers Salvage Sunday, Drop Series to Cards

This post was originally written a full day ago, but Blogger decided to go ahead and crash so I wasn't able to enlighten you on the Brewers series against the Cardinals. Thankfully, the site is back up and running. Also thankfully, nothing major happened today so I don't feel like I missed out on anything. Oh, what's that? Suppan was released? Damn you, Blogger!

The Brewers do not have a lot of series victories under their belts this season, and when you're heading to Busch Stadium to take on the Cardinals, you don't often come home with said series victory. It was decided before game three of this set that the Brewers weren't going to win this series either, but they did have a chance to salvage things on Sunday night with Manny Parra on the hill.

Parra got the start over Dave Bush, although Ken Macha never really gave a clear reason why. The real reason though is because the Brewers need to start decided what this team is going to look like the next couple of years, and we have to make sure we know what we have in Parra. Even if they would have won this series, this season is pretty much lost already, and if that's the case we need to put our eggs behind Parra rather than Bush. But Parra did get the start, and he made the most of it, going 5 1/3 innings with ten strikeouts (including four in one inning due to a wild pitch).

The wheels did start to come off a bit for Mannywood though in the fifth inning, and the bases were quickly loaded up. Enter unlikely heroes Dave Bush and Kameron Loe. Bush struck out one batter to get the second out, and then Loe got the next guy and pitched 1 1/3 innings more as well. The bullpen actually didn't do half bad in this one, although Villanueva did allow one of Loe's baserunners to score and the game was tied at three heading into extra innings. Kudos to Zach Braddock for keeping the Cards off the board in the ninth (he gets credit for the win), and nice work by John Axford to pick up the save in a 4-3 victory.

Now, one of the most interesting things for me this season is this little Player of the Game contest I do, and on Sunday ESPN gave their honor to Prince Fielder. Prince went 3-for-4, which is very respectable, and it does put him in contention for his first Bucky Channel POTG. However, Prince also had zero RBI and only made it home the one time, although it was the winning run. Offensively, he would be my POTG (Weeks, McGehee, and Hart all had RBI, but just one a piece). But in this game I'm going with Parra, for pitching effectively against a good team on national television, in a game he wasn't sure he'd be starting until just a few days ago.

Ugly girls be quiet, quiet. Pretty girls clap, clap like this.

This was a series that did go the Cardinals way however, as they won both Friday and Saturday night, finding different ways to bring pain into the lives of Brewers fans. On Friday, the misery was at the hands of Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright who pitched his first career complete game shutout all while holding Milwaukee to just a pair of hits. In nearly game in which you get just two hits, you are going to lose. That's even more true when you are spotting your opponent eight runs.

St. Louis had no problem taking advantage of the Brewers that were on the bump that evening, as they got after Randy Wolf over 6 2/3 innings, collecting five runs off of him. Jeff Suppan - yes, he's still on the team - game in to pitch the remaining 1 1/3 innings, in which time he gave up three runs of his own. Really just a frustrating performance all around.

As for a Player of the Game for Friday night, these are the games in which I'd probably be better off not giving out the award. But I do like to hand it out the full 162, so let's pick somebody. Let's see, the pitchers were terrible, so they're ineligible. Taking at look at the two guys that had hits in the game, it looks like Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart could both be in line. Both hits were doubles, so that's a wash. But Hart struck out two times to Weeks' zero, and Weeks didn't leave any on base. Let's give it to him.

On Saturday the Brewers managed to deliver a little bit more of a respectable performance, although they still did come away without a victory. Things started off about as well as they could have for Milwaukee when Rickie Weeks hit a lead-off home run, but then the Cardinals answered right back with four runs in the bottom half of the first. Things looked gloomy from there, and it looked like it was going to be another Cardinal rout.

But the Brewers kicked it up a notch in the 6th inning, starting with a Casey McGehee RBI double. Corey Hart then grounded into a fielder's choide that brought home a runner, and then George Kottaras brought McGehee home via the sacrifice fly. The Brewers tied the game up at four and were able to extend this one into extra innings.

It was in extra innings though when the heartbreak struck us again, only in an entirely different way than the night before. After Chris Narveson went six innings, the Brewers used Kameron Loe and Carlos Villanueva before they got to John Axford. I've been real impressed with the Ax man since he came to Milwaukee, but the Cardinals got to him on Saturday and Colby Rasmus finished it off with a walk-off single to end the game. The Brewers have done real good this season at allowing teams to win in their final at-bat, and this was no exception.

Thankfully though, Milwaukee did pick up the win on Sunday night, and at least fooled a national audience into thinking that they are competitive team. We'll see what happens against the Cubs this week, as their three game set with them starts Tuesday (see you at Miller Park on Thursday if anyone's going).


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