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.
Milwaukee.. 000 020 312 8 runs on 11 hits, 2 errors
Colorado….. 030 000 301 7 runs on 11 hits, 1 error
Batting – 2B: Weeks (23). HR: Hart (12); Weeks (18). RBI: Hart 2 (29); Morgan (20); Kotsay (19); Kottaras (9); Weeks 2 (41).
Fielding – E: Lucroy (6); Fielder (11).
K-Rod’s first appearance as a Brewer netted him a victory as Milwaukee came off the deck twice to defeat the Rockies at Coors Field Saturday night. Rickie Weeks, batting in his new spot in the lineup, delivered a clutch 2-run shot to deep center off of Colorado closer Huston Street in the top of the ninth to give the Crew a much needed road win. Hart, who swapped spots in the batting order with Weeks, also went yard to back starter Zack Greinke’s quality start. John Axford locked the door in the ninth, preserving the W for his fellow closer. Ryan Braun left the game in the seventh with tightness in his hamstring and is considered day-to-day. The Brewers improve to 50-45 and send Shaun Marcum to the hill tomorrow looking to leave Denver with a series split.
The 82nd All-Star game has come and passed and Thursday brings MLB’s second half – which never fails to stir up drama. The NL has clinched home field advantage in World Series with a 5-1 victory over the AL All-Stars. The Milwaukee Brewers had three starters voted in, however, Ryan Braun sat out due to an ailing hamstring. Rickie Weeks hit lead-off and went hitless, but did steal a base and score a run. Fielder, starting at first base and hitting clean-up, delivered the big hit of the night – a three-run jack off of Texas starter C.J. Wilson – and was named the All-Star game MVP. At the end of the contest the Brewers made a drastic roster move. Milwaukee now has K-Rod and the Ax-Man at the back end of their pen. With Rickie Weeks playing like his hair is on fire, if Braun and Fielder keep mashing, the Brewers could be in line for a deep postseason run. Here are the top ten teams in baseball right now…
1. Philadelphia Phillies (57-34, 1st in NL East by 3.5 games)
Roy Halladay: (11-3) 2.45 ERA, 138 SO, 1.02 WHIP
Ryan Howard: (.257 BA/.353 OBP/.475 SLG) 18 HR, 72 RBI
2. Atlanta Braves (54-38, 2nd in NL East, 3.5 GB)
Jair Jurrjens: (12-3) 1.87 ERA, 65 SO, 1.07 WHIP
Brian McCann: (.310 BA/.381 OBP/.514 SLG) 15 HR, 50 RBI
3. Boston Red Sox (55-35, 1st in AL East by 1.0 game)
Josh Beckett: (8-3) 2.27 ERA, 94 SO, 0.95 WHIP
Adrian Gonzalez: (.354 BA/.414 OBP/.591 SLG) 17 HR, 77 RBI
4. New York Yankees (53-35, 2nd in AL East, 1.0 GB)
CC Sabathia: (13-4) 2.72 ERA, 126 SO, 1.16 WHIP
Curtis Granderson: (.269 BA/.361 OBP/.575 SLG) 25 HR, 63 RBI
5. San Francisco Giants (52-40, 1st in NL West by 3.0 games)
Matt Cain: (8-5) 3.06 ERA, 105 SO, 1.10 WHIP
Aubrey Huff: (.236 BA/.290 OBP/.361 SLG) 8 HR, 44 RBI
6. Milwaukee Brewers (49-43, 1st in NL Central, tied with STL)
Yovani Gallardo: (10-5) 3.76 ERA, 104 SO, 1.36 WHIP
Ryan Braun: (.320 BA/ .402 OBP/ .559 SLG) 16 HR, 62 RBI
Prince Fielder: (.297 BA/ .415 OBP/ .575 SLG) 22 HR, 72 RBI
7. Texas Rangers (51-41, 1st in AL West by 1.0 game)
Alexi Ogando: (9-3) 2.92 ERA, 78 SO, 1.01 WHIP
Adrian Beltre: (.273 BA/ .314 OBP/ .499 SLG) 19 HR, 71 RBI
8. St. Louis Cardinals (49-43, 1st in NL Central, tied with MIL)
Jaime Garcia: (9-3) 3.22 ERA, 100 SO, 1.25 WHIP
Lance Berkman: (.290 BA/.404 OBP/ .602 SLG) 24 HR, 63 RBI
9. Detroit Tigers (49-43, 1st in AL Central by 0.5 game)
Justin Verlander: (12-4) 2.15 ERA, 147 SO, 0.87 WHIP
Miguel Cabrera: (.311 BA/ .430 OBP/ .549 SLG) 18 HR, 59 RBI
10. Arizona Diamondbacks (49-43, 2nd in NL West, 2.0 GB)
Ian Kennedy: (9-3) 3.44 ERA, 106 SO, 1.15 WHIP
Justin Upton: (.293 BA/ .375 OBP/ .506 SLG) 15 HR, 46 RBI
If the season ended today:
1. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Red Sox
2. Jose Bautista, RF, Blue Jays
3. Curtis Granderson, CF, Yankees
1. Prince Fielder, 1B, Brewers
2. Jose Reyes, SS, Mets
3. Matt Kemp, CF, Dodgers
AL Cy Young
1. Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers
2. CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees
3. Jered Weaver, SP, Angels
NL Cy Young
1. Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves
2. Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies
3. Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies
1. Boston Red Sox (43-28; 1st AL East)
Adrian Gonzalez has Boston fans thinking Triple Crown with a .348 average (1st in MLB), 64 runs batted in (1st in MLB) and 15 home runs (six shy of league leaders).
2. Philadelphia Phillies (45-28; 1st NL East)
Cole Hamels (9-3, 2.51 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 103 K, 104 innings) has the slightest of edges over teammate Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.56 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 114 K, 112.1 innings) for NL Cy Young.
3. Milwaukee Brewers (40-33; 1st NL Central)
Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks have combined for 49 homers, 144 runs batted in, and a .299 batting average.
4. New York Yankees (41-29; 2nd AL East)
The Bronx Bombers are living up to their nickname, leading the majors with 105 home runs.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (40-33; 1st NL Central)
The Cards snapped their seven game skid Saturday win a win over Kansas City, but lost Albert Pujols to a wrist injury Sunday.
6. Cleveland Indians (39-31; 1st AL Central)
The Tribe seems to be back on track after a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh, putting them one game ahead of the Tigers for 1st place in the division.
7. Detroit Tigers (39-33; 2nd AL Central)
Justin Verlander has gone 7-0 with a 1.94 ERA in his last ten starts (May 2-June 19); his WHIP on the season is a microscopic 0.85.
8. San Francisco Giants (39-33; 1st NL West)
After a rough start to the year, Madison Bumgarner has lowered his ERA to 3.21 (better than Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez), but still has a dismal 3-8 record.
9. Texas Rangers (38-35; 1st AL West)
Texas remains atop the AL West despite a 3-7 road trip.
10. Minnesota Twins (31-39; 4th AL Central)
Putting the Twins in the top 10 seems a bit absurd – but they’re hot – white hot.
If the season ended today:
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – BOS
NL MVP: Prince Fielder – 1B – MIL
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander – SP – DET
NL Cy Young: Cole Hamels – SP – PHI