The Milwaukee Brewers, fresh off a game 1 victory at Miller Park behind their ace Yovani Gallardo, gave the ball to Zack Greinke on short rest and inched a bit closer to their title dream. The Brewers won 9-4 thanks mostly to a five-run sixth inning sparked by Jonathan Lucroy’s go-ahead safety squeeze. Greinke went five innings in his postseason debut, allowing four runs on eight hits (three home runs), no walks and seven strikeouts. Ryan Braun had three hits for the second straight game and launched his first postseason dinger. With Fielder flexing his muscles (he hit a bomb in game 1), Braun hitting .750, and the bullpen pitching lights out, it looks like the next game at Miller Park will be in the National League Championship Series. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Milwaukee’s next game is in Arizona, where they’ll send Shaun Marcum to face Josh Collmenter. As always, Go Brewers! 9 wins away from a World Series title…
No, that’s not a typo. The Milwaukee Brewers clinched their first division title in 29 years today when they defeated the Marlins 4-1 and the Cubs topped St. Louis 5-1. In an eerily similar scene to 2008, Ryan Braun crushed what turned out to be a game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth with chants of “MVP” coming from the stands. It was an electric atmosphere in Miller Park with the players anxiously watching the Cubs-Cards game on the big screen right along with fans. What a moment for a squad built from the ground up. Teammates Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo and Prince Fielder have experienced all of the ups and downs together over the years. There is not a fan base or group of players around that deserve a division title more. John Axford locked it down in the ninth to tie a franchise record with 44 saves. With a spectacular full-extension diving catch turned double play and a super clutch three-run bomb, Ryan Braun all but locked up the National League MVP award in my opinion. There’s not much more to be said about the Brewers that hasn’t been said already; and with that, Milwaukee fans can look forward to next Saturday when the NLDS begins. Go Brewers!!! 11 wins away from a World Series title…
With a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night, the Milwaukee Brewers moved seventeen games over .500 (67-50) and pushed their lead in the division to five games. Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf was stellar throughout eight innings, allowing only one run on five hits and zero walks. Prince Fielder drove in runs 86 and 87 on the season while Corey Hart added two RBI himself, putting him at 43 for the year. The red-hot Yuniesky Betancourt tacked on his 50th RBI and Ryan Braun stole his 21st base. Milwaukee improved to 12-1 since the injury to Rickie Weeks, and have won six games in a row, including thirteen of their last fourteen.
Milwaukee catalyst Rickie Weeks, the All-Star second baseman who resembles more of a strong safety than a middle infielder, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with what Brewers officials are calling a “severe ankle sprain.” Weeks is not expected to need surgery and will miss anywhere from three to six weeks. The kid’s a tough player who has dealt with injuries in the past, so I have an inkling that we’ll see The Predator back sooner than later. Craig Counsell, currently in an abysmal 0-for-38 skid, replaces Weeks in the lineup for the afternoon game today at Miller Park. Milwaukee called up second baseman Eric Farris to replace Weeks’ spot on the 25-man roster.
Rickie Weeks rolled his left ankle beating out an infield single during the 2nd inning in Wednesday night’s game versus the Chicago Cubs. Weeks slapped a grounder to Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro and made an impressive stretch to reach first safely before falling awkwardly into foul territory. Rickie was helped off of the diamond by Ron Roenicke and assistant trainer Dan Wright as Miller Park became eerily silent. The Brewers simply cannot afford to lose their All-Star second baseman during the tightly contested National League Central race. Weeks, following his breakout campaign last season, was having a career year, batting .272 with 19 homers, 43 runs batted in, and 9 stolen bases. Utility man Craig Counsell took Weeks’ place at second base and fifth in the batting order. Here’s hoping that Rickie is okay and nothing is broken…
Update: Reports are that x-rays came back negative, however the Brewers fear that Weeks may have some ligament damage. He’ll be evaluated at a Milwaukee hospital and “will be out for awhile” according to Ron Roenicke. A stint on the 15-day DL seems almost certain, but it looks like Weeks avoided any major damage.
2B: Braun (21).
HR: Braun (18).
RBI: Braun 2 (66); Lucroy (37); Morgan (22); Weeks (43).
Outfield Assist: Braun (Drew at home).
SB: Weeks (8).
CS: Betancourt (3).
What a thriller in the desert. Milwaukee starter Chris Narveson pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing only four base hits while striking out four and walking none in a no-decision. He was staked an early 1-0 lead thanks to Ryan Braun’s first inning solo shot, his second in the past two games. Jonathan Lucroy added an RBI double in the seventh, however Arizona would rally to score twice and tie the game in the bottom of the eighth thanks to Willie Bloomquist’s double off of Francisco Rodriguez. Milwaukee reliever Takashi Saito entered the game in the bottom of the ninth looking to push the Brewers into extra innings. After a lead off double and wild pitch, Arizona found themselves with the winning run – Justin Upton – on third base with no outs. Saito escaped the jam with two groundouts to Casey McGehee and a flyout to Nyjer Morgan. Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson decided to go with Ryan Cook in the top of the tenth, a 24-year-old making his major league debut. Veteran Mark Kotsay started Cook’s career off with a single which was followed by a Corey Hart walk and a balk. Nyjer Morgan promptly sliced a single into right field giving Milwaukee a 3-2 lead. With runners on first and third and nobody out, Ryan Braun slapped a sharp single into right scoring Hart and putting the Crew up 4-2. Cook was lifted in favor of Alberto Castillo who got Prince Fielder to ground into a double play. D-backs reliever Sam Demel then gave up an RBI-single to Rickie Weeks, scoring Morgan and giving Milwaukee a three-run cushion in the tenth. McGehee was called out on strikes for the third out but the damage was done. Brewers’ closer John Axford secured the win, earning his 26th save in the process. Overall, an improbable win for the Brew Crew who moved into sole possession of first place and once again showed why they are the NL Central favorites. Milwaukee won their second consecutive game without a hit from Prince Fielder. Ryan Braun, with three base knocks, pushed his batting average to .320. Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew left in the fourth inning with a fractured right ankle. Carlos Gomez also left in the fourth with a broken collarbone and could miss the remainder of the year. Regardless, the Brewers look to be serious contenders who could make a deep postseason run. Zack Greinke will start game four of the series as Milwaukee looks to take 3 of 4 at Chase Field.
HR: Betancourt 2 (7); Hart (13); Braun (17); Weeks (19)
RBI: Betancourt 4 (34); Hart 2 (31); Braun 2 (64); Weeks (42); Morgan (21); Gomez (19)
E: Betancourt (11, throw)
The Brewers’ return of all-star slugger Ryan Braun happened to coincide with the return of their powerful offense. Milwaukee hit five home runs, including three in the first inning, as they cruised to a 11-3 win over the Diamondbacks. Corey Hart started the game of with a bang, depositing a bomb deep into left center. Nyjer Morgan promptly followed with a single, and Ryan Braun drove him home with his 17th long ball on the season. Yuniesky Betancourt had his first career two-home run game, running his total to seven on the year. Rickie Weeks also went yard for the 19th time in 2011. Yovani Gallardo tossed six solid innings en route to his 11th victory. Milwaukee improved to 52-46 on the season and sits 0.5 game back of Pittsburgh in the top heavy NL Central.