For those of you that follow us regularly, you’ll remember that once baseball actually starts we bring you the stories that matter from every game in our Recap On Tap series.
Unfortunately, Spring Training rarely brings stories that matter nor is it actual baseball in the truest sense of the term. Still though, people in Major League uniforms are running around in a manner that very closely resembles baseball, so it seems only fair that we remind you folks about what’s going on at Maryvale Baseball Park and our own ragtag group of Milwaukee Brewers players.
Here’s the highs and lows of every game the Brewers have played through so far.
February 23rd – Brewers 2, Oakland Athletics 1
Highs: Ryan Braun, in his first at-bat of Spring Training 2013, hit a home run to center field. There was much rejoicing. In other really good news, Mike Fiers earned a win on the back of that home run, plus two innings of scoreless baseball and two strikeouts. Current Reviewing the Brew man-crush Michael Olmsted also fanned two A’s in his scoreless inning.
Lows: Santo Manzanillo had a rough outing, all things considered, giving up one earned run on two hits in two thirds of an inning. Brewers fans everywhere were disappointed when Hunter Morris went 0-3 with a strikeout.
The good thing is the Brewers began Spring Training undefeated, proving the age-old adage that Spring Training only matters when things are going well.
February 24th – Brewers 4, Cleveland Indians 7
Highs: Logan Schafer and Caleb Gindl made their cases as outfield prospects as both had very productive days. Gindl drove in two runs in the first inning with two outs, and Schafer went two for three on the day. Pitchers Josh Stinson and Jim Hoey both managed to have scoreless outings on the hill. Stinson threw two innings, scattered two hits and struck out two along the way.
Lows:Pretty much all of the other Brewers pitchers fall into this category. The Crew went big in the first inning – scoring all four of their runs in the very first frame, but Brewers pitching were knocked around the rest of the way. Taylor Jungmann got hung with the loss, giving up two runs with three walks – no hits and a strikeout seem to give a silver lining, however – and obviously has a way to go command wise.
It was a healthy reminder of how 2012 went, spending an afternoon watching a lead disappear to a team we really should have beat.
February 25th – Brewers 1, San Diego Padres 7
Highs: Ryan Braun drove in the one and only run, making it obvious to Brewers fans, and pretty much everyone else, that there’s little that can throw off the left fielder’s game. Pitcher Johnny Hellweg also had a fine day on the mound, facing nine batters in total, giving up only one hit while walking and striking out two batters each. He, Chris Jakubauskas, and Frankie De La Cruz ere the only Brewers pitchers to have a scoreless performance.
Lows: Hiram Burgos got beat up quite a bit in his first loss of the season. He gave up two runs on three hits, with two strikeouts and a home run to complete two and two thirds innings of work. The Brewers hit .200 with Runners in Scoring Position, and Hunter Morris once again went hitless, this time an 0-4 day with one strikeout.
An anemic offense rears its ugly head as the Brewers simply could not move runners home in an all-around rough game.
Brewers 2, Cincinnati reds 5
Highs: The other half of the split-squad game day didn’t add up much better,
but there were a few bright spots. Scooter Gennett and Khris Davis both drove in runs for the Crew. Jean Segura went two for three on the day as well. Michael Olmsted again came up huge AGAIN for the Brewers, striking out three in one and two thirds while giving up one hit and one walk. Seriously. Dude’s a beast.
Lows: Once again, the theme for the day seems to be keeping men on base, going 3-14 with RISP. Logan Schafer went 0-3 with two strikeouts, and Josh Prince continued to struggle – he went ofer on the day and fanned twice as well. Tyler Thornburg earned the loss in two innings, with two earned runs off two hits.
Splits squad don’t bring much to the table in the grand scheme of things, but there was certainly no shortage of disappointing performances as the split squad of the Milwaukee Brewers were on the business end of a clean sweep.
February 26th – Brewers 5, Seattle Mariners 6
Highs: Alex Gonzalez made another appearance at first base Monday, and had himself a day. Sea Bass went 2-3, scored a run and drove one in to keep his Spring Average to an even .500. Jean Segura had another good day and another RBI. Marco Estrada dominated his three innings of work – he gave up only one hit and fanned four Mariners (not that awesome, I guess, but no one else in Milwaukee had that good of a day). Every single one of Estrada’s 17 pitches fell in for strikes. Every. Single. ONE.
Lows: Let’s start with the easier to swallow news – Hunter Morris wore himself a sombrero against Seattle, going 0-4 in total. Things get tougher from a pitching perspective, as Gallardo got manhandled in two and two thirds innings. He gave up five hits, struck out two, and gave up three earned runs with the help of two home runs. John Axford, in the opposite of what we’d like to see, blew his first save of the year by giving up a home run.
Estrada’s performance notwithstanding, it was a dismal game against an historically dismal opponent. The team ramped up the extra-base hits, but continued to fall short with runners in scoring position and the young prospects continue to come up short against higher level competition.
In all honesty, you have to take everything in the Cactus League with a grain of salt or two – it’s the early days of Spring Training, rhythms still need to be sorted out and prospects have to shake off the jitters. But there’s little doubt that no one is going to be fairly proud of a 1-4 start. As Milwaukee continues with more split squad action to finish out the month, we’ll keep track of how the team continues to fare.