Milwaukee’s magical run came to an end with a Game 6 loss to the Cardinals Sunday night. But keep your heads up Brewers fans, the 2011 Brew Crew won the most games in franchise history and the core is coming back: Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, John Axford, etc. will all be around in 2012. As for the humongous pink elephant in the room, Albert Pujols said after the game that he believes Prince Fielder will be a Brewer next season, and he thinks Milwaukee will be back in the NLCS sooner than later.
After leaving Milwaukee with a 2-0 lead in their NLDS clash with the Diamondbacks, the Brewers promptly dropped games 3 and 4 in Arizona. With back-to-back losses by Shaun Marcum and Randy Wolf, the Brewers will put their entire season on the line Friday evening at Miller Park, where they own a Major League-best 59 wins in 2011 (including the postseason). Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo will once again face Arizona’s 21-game winner, Ian Kennedy. There’s not much more to say –a trip to the League Championship Series is on the line. The same goes for the Yankees-Tigers series as well as Cardinals-Phillies.
The Milwaukee Brewers continued their winning ways Sunday afternoon, sweeping the Houston Astros with a 4-0 win at Minute Maid Park. Shaun Marcum pitched seven innings and allowed only one hit en route to his 12th victory of the season.
Ryan Braun overtook Jose Reyes for the National League batting title, going 3-for-3 with a home run (26), walk, and three runs batted in (94), to raise his average to .335.
Zack Greinke was brilliant in six of his seven innings Thursday night in Arizona, but that wasn’t enough. Two fourth inning mistakes would haunt the Brewers as they fell to the D-backs 4-0, splitting the four-game series at Chase Field. Justin Upton and Miguel Montero both went yard in the decisive fourth, tagging Greinke with his fourth loss of the year. Kelly Johnson added a home run, his 17th, in the eighth that put the Brew Crew away. Diamondbacks ace Ian Kennedy (11-3) tossed seven sparkling innings in the desert, scattering four hits while silencing the Milwaukee bats to the tune of zero runs. Once Kennedy exited due to a high pitch count, Milwaukee got a rally going. Corey Hart singled to left to start the inning and Nyjer Morgan was immediately hit by a pitch. With runners on first and second and nobody out, Ryan Braun, running gingerly due to his ailing knee and hamstring, grounded softly into a double play. Prince Fielder followed by striking out on three pitches and finished the series 1 for 16. The Brewers also squandered a bases loaded opportunity in the fifth inning when Morgan flew out to center. Milwaukee was shut out for the second time in the last four games and tenth time overall this season, all on the road. The Brewers now head to AT&T Park for a three-game set against the defending champion Giants before having an off day on Monday. Tomorrow, Shaun Marcum (8-3, 3.39 ERA) toes the slab for Milwaukee and will face San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain (8-5, 2.99 ERA).
Shaun Marcum left after one inning and the Milwaukee Brewers dropped their Interleague opener to the Boston Red Sox 10-4 at Fenway Park Friday evening. Marcum threw 44 pitches but allowed only two runs. He didn’t return for the second frame, leaving with a strained left hip flexor. The Red Sox lost left fielder Carl Crawford to an apparent hamstring injury after he legged out an infield single in the bottom of the first; third baseman Kevin Youkilis was also replaced in the fifth inning due to a stomach illness. However the Brew Crew couldn’t take advantage, as John Lackey settled down after a shaky start to retire the final fifteen batters he faced, giving Boston their 12th win in their last 13 games. Brewers left-handed reliever Danny Herrera was designated for assignment after another horrendous outing, allowing four hits, four runs (three earned) and one walk in an innings work, ballooning his ERA to 21.60. Milwaukee looks to end their feebleness at Fenway when they send lefty Randy Wolf (4-4, 3.20 ERA) to the mound to face off against fellow southpaw Jon Lester (9-2, 3.73 ERA).
Here we go – under the lights at Fenway Park to begin an arduous fifteen-game stretch against a who’s who of the American League. The first test is tonight versus former long-time Angel John Lackey. Lackey’s nowhere near the pitcher he was back in 2007 when he posted an AL-best 3.01 ERA, leading the Angels to a 94-68 record and finishing third in AL Cy Young balloting. Nevertheless, he possesses a hard sinking fastball and could give Brewer bats problems if his command is sharp. Milwaukee gives the nod to Shaun Marcum in the opener of this three-game set. The Brewers righty is no stranger to the Red Sox having played in the loaded AL East up til this season. In his career, Marcum is 5-5 with a 4.38 ERA against Boston in 16 appearances (11 starts). Lackey has never faced Milwaukee. Now onto the lineups for game #71 of the 2011 season.
Milwaukee Brewers – Shaun Marcum (7-2, 2.68 ERA)
2B Rickie Weeks (.290/13 HR/31 RBI)
CF Nyjer Morgan (.333/1 HR/9 RBI)
LF Ryan Braun (.312/15 HR/51 RBI)
DH Prince Fielder (.297/19 HR/59 RBI)
3B Casey McGehee (.230/4 HR/28 RBI)
RF Corey Hart (.284/6 HR/19 RBI)
1B Mark Kotsay (.252/0 HR/9 RBI)
C Jonathan Lucroy (.274/6 HR/31 RBI)
SS Craig Counsell (.221/0 HR/3 RBI)
Boston Red Sox – John Lackey (4-5, 7.41 ERA)
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (.314/7 HR/33 RBI)
2B Dustin Pedroia (.262/5 HR/29 RBI)
1B Adrian Gonzalez (.347/14 HR/61 RBI)
3B Kevin Youkilis (.254/10 HR/45 RBI)
DH David Ortiz (.314/17 HR/44 RBI)
LF Carl Crawford (.240/6 HR/31 RBI)
SS Marco Scutaro (.278/1 HR/10 RBI)
RF J.D. Drew (.225/4 HR/16 RBI)
C Jason Varitek (.229/3 HR/13 RBI)