It’s good to be home.
The Brewers came back from a dismal road trip today to take on the equally dismal San Diego Padres at Miller Park tonight. It was an important game for a few reasons:
- Zack Greinke made his Miller Park debut tonight, and the Brewers issued rally towels to all in attendance as an insurance policy
- The Brewers were in dire need of a win, and this home stand is the pivotal point of the season thus far.
The 2011 Padres had one of the worst offenses in the Majors coming into tonight’s game, making them one of the only teams the Brewers could beat on paper in the last 11 days. And beat them they did.
Tonight was undoubtedly Zack Greinke’s day. In his first 30 pitches, he threw 21 for strikes and tallied four of his nine K’s on the night. His velocity was great and he had excellent command of nearly every pitch in his arsenal. He also chopped a single to short in his first at-bat giving him his first hit as a Milwaukee Brewer. I hear he also brought the post-game snacks today. He did earn two runs, but didn’t walk a single batter and ultimately picked up the win.
Tonight was also a
better night for Brewer bats, which have stayed silent for the better part of May. The team hit .250 on the night, with six members of the Crew getting hits. It didn’t hurt that Matt Latos was starting for San Diego today, as he continued to struggle with his command and left the game still looking for his first win on the year. McGehee, Betancourt, and Braun all went hit-less on the night. The Brewers were also extremely aggressive early on the base paths, with Braun stealing a base and Carlos Gomez running in the first score on a passed ball. It’s always exciting to see people on the move early in the game and put some runs up in the first. Carlos continued to be the opposite of Carlos Gomez tonight with another big triple; even if he did strikeout twice. His offensive surge lately has been a welcome surprise for the Brewers. If he can keep it up if/when the rest of the Brewers get hot, it will be very hard to beat this team.
The important thing to take away from the offense is that the Brewers are starting to get more patient at the plate, which is something I think has been hurting them lately as they reverted to the “swing for the fences” mentality. Speaking of the fences, Rickie Weeks hit a home run. Yes, Milwaukee can still hit it that far. Rickie’s solo shot to deep left was the first home run in the better part of a week for the Brewers. Lucroy also drove in a run tonight; he went 2-3 and continues to be one of the only sparks anywhere in the lineup with a .299 average.
Hawkins, Loe and Axford sealed the deal for the Brewers tonight in the final three innings. Hawkins looked great tonight and struck out two batters in a hit-less inning. Loe struggled a bit in the 8th with two hits and an earned run, but it proved to be more than enough for Axford to get his 6th save of the season. What Loe couldn’t do, Betancourt and Weeks took care of with their greatest defensive collaboration of the season. Betancourt gloved a hard shot to short then flipped it no-look style to Rickie Weeks, who threw it off to Fielder for a double play. In a moment, I forgot about every poor play they had ever made. It wasn’t a very pretty win from start to finish tonight, but beggers can’t be choosers right?
WP: Zack Greinke (1-1) 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 9 K
LP: Matt Latos (0-5) 5.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
SV: John Axford (6)
Brewers RBI: Weeks (2), Lucroy
Brewers HR: Rickie Weeks
Brewers SB: Ryan Braun
Brewers LOB: 12
Padres RBI: Headley, Bartlett
Padres HR: None
Padres SB: None
Padres LOB: 11
Opinion (Or more of it)
I’m very happy that the Brewers won tonight. I think a home stand against the Padres and the Pirates are exactly what this team needs to get back into a rhythm. That being said, it’s obvious that we aren’t all the way back yet. There are still things to be worked on in every aspect of the field. Hart had a huge double tonight and was swinging the way he did during his breakout years, but he hasn’t put it together yet. Rickie keeps trying to get a web gem every night, but he’s forgetting that it’s consistent, disciplined play that matters more than a highlight. Betancourt got lucky pulling a few of his off-balance throws out of the dirt tonight, and that won’t happen every time.
I know I’m being more critical than necessary tonight, but that’s because this part of a process. Nothing gets solved overnight, and even though it was an exciting win I prefer to look at it as the first step to getting back to competing. The Brewers were still sloppy in the field and only slightly better at the plate; those things can pass against San Diego and Pittsburgh but we’ve seen how they work against the Reds and the other leaders of the National League.
So yes, it’s OK to celebrate. We won, the Zack Attack was a rousing success and people actually moved around the bases tonight. All in all it was a vast improvement on the awful team we saw over the last few days, and I look forward to seeing it come back together at home.
Oh yeah, and Happy Birthday Prince Fielder.