Brewers (31-22) v. Marlins (25-29)

The Brew Crew got back on the winning track last night……..but it was closer than it should have been.  They were helped immensely by the Marlin pitching staff who issued 9 walks total, including walking in 3 runs.  The Brewers took a 9-1 lead into the bottom of the 5th.  Up to this point Braden Looper had cruised along just fine.  Unfortunately he couldn’t get out of the 5th.  Thankfully Seth McClung came on to pitch 3 1/3 innings and Trevor closed out the 9th.  McClung has really been a savior of late and picked up 2 wins in the last week by going multiple innings after the starter was roughed up.  The down side is that he again will be unavailable for a few days because of long outing.  The offense picked it up again after being quiet the first 2 games of the series.  Ryan Braun hit a 2 run shot and Casey McGehee continued to hit, adding 2 RBI as well.  As noted above, the Marlins also assisted us by walking in 3 runs.  The non-surprising stat of the day was Bill Hall struck out 3 more times.  The Crew now at least has a chance to split the 4 game set with a win tonight.  Here is a preview:

Dave Bush will try and get back on the winning track in Miami tonight.  His last outing against the Reds was ugly, but the Brewers scored enough to come away with the win.  We all know that Bush has pitched really well this year.  This includes a start against the Marlins last month in which he went 7 innings and gave up 2 earned runs.  His career numbers against the fish don’t match this (5.63 ERA), but remember this is the new Dave Bush.  Josh Johnson goes in the series finale for the Marlins.  Johnson has pitched really well this year and is 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA.  He made a start last month against the Brewers that didn’t go so well and left after only 4 innings.  He gave up 3 runs, 2 earned.  Johnson has pitched much better at home then on the road this year.  Hopefully we’ll reverse that.  Go Brewers!!

Brewers (30-22) v. Marlins (25-28)

So far, the trip to South Florida has been ugly.  Both games have been ruined by an individual pitcher.  Monday was the bullpen, yesterday was the starter.  Manny Parra sucked yesterday.  He was flat out horrible.  It is now time to debate if Parra should remain in the rotation.  It is my personal opinion that Parra should be sent to Nashville to work things out and we should call Tim Dillard up to fill his spot in the rotation.  Parra is just killing the Crew.  The Brewers are 3-8 in starts by Parra and 27-14 in starts by the other 4 in the rotation.  Can you say “weak link”??  I still think Parra has great stuff, but he is just so inconsistent and has no control.  How the hell do you strike out the side in the 1st with absolutely nasty stuff and then go on to get shelled the next three innings and give up 11 runs??  I don’t have an answer.  Thank god for Mike Burns who was summoned from Nashville earlier in the day to take Julio’s spot.  Burns threw 4 shutout innings after Parra’s departure, but more importantly saved a overworked bullpen for a day.  Yes, the offense didn’t do anything, but Parra is a much bigger problem at this point.  We can still split the series with wins today and tomorrow, so lets hope for that.  Here is a preview of today’s game:

Braden Looper will try to get the Brewers out of this funk.  Looper pitched really well last time out, going 7 innings and only giving up 2 runs on 2 hits against the Reds to get the win.  Another quality outing like this would be greatly appreciated.  The Marlins will counter with lefty Sean West.  West is a rookie who made his major league debut about 2 weeks ago and will be making his 3rd career start tonight.  His first 2 starts have been pretty good.  West has thrown a total of 12 innings and allowed only 3 runs.  The Brewers normally struggle against pitchers they have never seen, but the normally hit lefties well.  Something has to give.  Go Brewers!!

Brewers (30-21) v. Marlins (24-28)

Jorge Julio definitely gave away the game last night.  The good part is that today we gave away Jorge Julio.  He was truly the only weak link in our bullpen and now thankfully he and his 7.79 ERA are gone.  Unfortunately as Ken Macha said, he had to throw Julio last night.  The bullpen has been taxed lately with no starter really going deep and after Suppan only made it through 5 innings yesterday, there was no other choice.  Julio didn’t record an out, so he is gone.  Yes, Prince did commit a ridiculous error behind him, but trust me Julio was still screwed.  To make things worse, Cameron and Braun left the game early.  Cameron supposedly tweaked a knee and Braun fouled a ball off his leg.  We’ll see if they are in the lineup today.  Also, Mike DiFelice has a banged up elbow and may have to rest another day.  Let’s just hope that’s good enough and he doesn’t have to go on the DL.  It was a game the Brewers had no business losing, but they did.  This along with injuries, an overworked bullpen and roster changes will happen throughout the year.  You just hope it’s not that often.  Here is a preview of the game today:

Manny Parra will take the hill for the Brewers and boy would this be a great time for Manny to go deep into a game for the first time this year.  I’m not holding my breath, but it could happen.  Manny has yet to complete 7 innings in a start this year and is averaging only 5 1/3 innings per start.  Parra is still erratic and throwing too many pitches.  He is carrying a 5.57 ERA and the Brewers are only 3-7 in starts he has made.  None of this is great news.  Anibal Sanchez will be taking the hill for the Marlins.  This will be his first start since May 7th, because he has had shoulder problems.  Sanchez is 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA, but he has good career numbers against the Brewers (2-0, 2.84 ERA).  Hopefully he won’t be on top of his game after a long layoff because of his shoulder issues.  Go Brewers!!

Brewers (30-20) v. Marlins (23-28)

The Brewers played a good all around game yesterday to finish off a sweep of the Reds and complete the short home stand with a winning record of 4-2.  Yovani had to work for it, but still managed to give up only 2 runs (1 earned) in 5 1/3 innings.  The bullpen was again lights out, with Stetter, DiFelice and Hoffman closing the door.  Mike Cameron led the way on offense driving in 3 runs, including a 2 run homer.  It was also nice to see Mat Gamel break out of his slump a little with 2 hits and an RBI.  Overall, a very good series that propelled the Brewers back into first place alone, as we begin the month of June.  The Crew will try and keep it going as we hit the road for 7 games against NL East teams.  Here is a preview of the game today:

Our $12.5 million dollar man will take the mound in game 1 of a 4 game series against the Marlins in Miami.  I think we should just sum up Suppan as, it is what it is.  You just have to know going in, that it probably won’t be pretty, but there is always that possibility that he could pull a rabbit out of his hat and throw 7 shutout innings.  His last outing (on national TV) against the Cardinals was ugly.  Threw 10 starts this year, Suppan is 3-4 and carrying a 5.23 ERA, which is not very good.  However, the Brewers are 6-4 in his 10 starts, so if this continues, I’ll take it.  A lefty named Andrew Miller, that I know nothing about, will start game 1 for the Fish.  In 5 starts this year, Miller has given up 4 run twice and 2 runs three times.  He seems to walk a good number of guys, with a total of 16 in the 5 starts.  In his career, Miller has appeared in 4 games against the Brewers including two starts, which have resulted in a 1-0 record and a 3.14 ERA.  These numbers are good, but the sample size of 14 1/3 innings is small.  So we’ll see what happens and hopefully get this road trip off to a good start.  Go Brewers!!

Reds (26-22) v. Brewers (29-20)

Well, it looks like several of my thoughts an analysis from yesterday’s post came true.  Dave Bush continues to not pitch well against the Reds throughout his career.  He was lucky to only give up 5 runs in the 4 innings he threw yesterday.  Also, the Brewers offense is built as a home run hitting team, which most everyone already knows.  This is when they are most efficient and produce their highest scoring games.  They scored their first 6 runs yesterday via the home run ball, good for 67% of their total runs.  This is when the Brewers are at their best, not when they have to rely on manufacturing runs.  It was absolutely great to see them pound out 16 hits.  Counsell, Hart and Prince all had 3 hits a piece and hell Bill Hall even got a hit.  After Bush’s horrible outing, the bullpen was fantastic.  Combined they threw 5 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 6.  For those who haven’t noticed, Villanueva has been really solid since his rough start to the year.  Of course this coincides with Trevor coming off the DL.  Take a look at Villy’s numbers over his last 10 appearances:

  • 10 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 15 K.  I promise you these numbers are legit and unbelievable.  Villy has been great.  Over this span, he has lowered his ERA from just under 7 to 3.75.

The Crew will go for the sweep today.  Here is a preview:

On paper, you really have to like this matchup in favor of the Brewers.  Yovani will try and complete the sweep for the Brewers.  If he pitches anything like he did last time out, a win should be attainable.  Yo is coming off his masterful 8 inning 2 hit performance, in which he matched Chris Carpenter pitch for pitch.  Yo has been superb in 7 of his 9 starts this year.  You really can’t ask him to do any more than he has done so far.  This will be the third time this year that Micah Owings will face the Brewers.  In my opinion, Owing is more feared as a hitter then a pitcher.  Owings career numbers against the Brewers are not very good.  In 4 career starts, he is 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA against the Crew.  Overall this year, Owings is 3-5 with a 4.78 ERA.  Opponents are hitting .271 off him.  Like I said, I like this matchup and am very hopeful for a sweep.  Go Brewers!!

Reds (26-21) v. Brewers (28-20)

Braden Looper pitched great yesterday, something that he really needed to try and get back on the right track.  The offense is still s-t-r-u-g-g-l-i-n-g.  We were lucky that 2 of our 3 hits were HR’s and we were able to get the W.  That’s all I’m going to say.  I’m going to use the rest of this post to show just how bad the offense has been the last 10 games and why we should be happy that the Crew is 4-6 in that stretch:

  • The Brewers have scored a total of 27 runs over this 10 game span.  That is an average of 2.7 runs a game, which doesn’t translate to many wins.  This suggests that the Crew has been getting some good pitching in order to have won 4 of these games.  Outside of the Minnesota series, this is true.
  • Over this 10 game span, the Brewers have hit for a .218 average.  You don’t have to be much of a baseball fan to know that this won’t win many games.  Once again, I believe they are lucky to have won 4 of the 10.
  • The Brewers are averaging 7.2 hits per game over this period.  While not horrible, you won’t win many games on 7 hits without some long balls.  However, even this number is a little deceiving.  If you take away a 13 hit game in Houston and a 9 hit game in both Houston and Minneapolis, the crew is averaging only 5.86 hits per game the other 7 games.
  • A big reason why the Brewers were winning a lot of games was their patience at the plate and ability to take walks.  The team has only taken 22 walks over the ten games, good for just over 2 walks a game.  This does not correlate with how they were winning games before.  This total includes a 5 walk game in Houston.  If you take that out, they are averaging under 2 walks a game.
  • The Brewers are a home run hitting team.  We always hear the “that’s what kind of team we are, that’s how we’re built” speech.  This is fine, but when you aren’t hitting home runs, you have to manufacture runs.  We all know that this is something the Brewers don’t do well.  Over the 10 games the team has only hit a home run in 3 games, with a total of 5.  Only 7 of their 27 runs in this span have come from the long ball, which is good for only 26%.  The Brewers normally score more than 50% of their runs via home run.  So, this seems like a pretty easy explanation for the recent struggles.

All this said, the Brewers are still in 1st place!! The sky is not falling, i am just simply trying to outline the offensive struggles that the team has had the past 10 games.  The baseball season is long and there will be multiple times when the offense isn’t scoring, or the pitching isn’t keeping the other team off the board.  If the Brewers can get through these stretches and remain on top, even better.

Game 2 of the series will provide a Harang v. Bush matchup.  Aaron Harang had a rough year last year, but is by far the Reds best and most accomplished pitcher.  Through 10 starts this year, he has been overall solid with only a couple rough outings.  Harang has had moderate success against the Brewers in the past, with a record of 5-3 and an ERA of 4.07 in 16 starts.  Bush continued his string of strong starts last time out.  His line was unfortunately effected by Mitch Stetter’s grand slam.  Bush’s career numbers against the Reds are not good, so he’ll need to turn it around.  In 10 career starts against the Reds, Bush is 2-3 with a 6.54 ERA.  The Reds also have a career .300 AVG off Bush.  Ouch.  This is a new Dave Bush this year, so I’m expecting another solid performance.  Go Brewers!!

Reds (26-20) v. Brewers (27-20)

The Brewers will finish up this short homestand with a 3 game weekend series against the Reds.  We all know that the Brewers are struggling right now and could really use a positive series to get back on track.  The Reds sit just a 1/2 game behind the Brewers in the standings, so that makes this weekend series even more important.  Johnny Cueto will go in game one for the Reds.  Ever since he made his MLB debut last year, Cueto has impressed me the most out of all the young promising pitchers the Reds have.  So far this year, Cueto is 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 9 starts.  In 6 of those 9 starts, Cueto has given up 2 or fewer runs.  He has also been very impressive against the Crew in his career.  He is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP in 3 career starts against the Crew.  That’s pretty good.  Braden Looper will try to get a W for the Crew.  After a great start, Looper has been fairly inconsistent his last five outings.  He is 2-3, but has got away with a few because of the Brewers putting up a lot of runs.  In his last 5 starts, Looper has a 6.04 ERA.  He has watched his overall ERA rise form 2.45 after 4 starts, to 4.47 currently.  We really need him to get back on track.  All this said and I still haven’t talked about how bad the offense has been.  Lets just leave it that way.  Go Brewers!!