Not many good things came out of the Brewers’ somewhat depressing series against the Pirates this weekend. It was the first time in ages– almost literally- that the Pirates won a series at Miller Park. This came after the Brewers swept the best team in baseball- the Dodgers- on the road. But there’s Brewers logic for you.
However, one good thing came out of this series. Utility man Brooks Conrad finally sought out the gift he’s been waiting on for so long: a batting average.
Well, sort of. .061 isn’t much of an average, but it’s better than the .000 he wore for the first few months. His first hit of the season came on Saturday, in the game that wasn’t televised. He socked an opposite field home run off of Pirates starter Erik Bedard. After that, I made a joke that he can only get hits in games that aren’t on TV. But sure enough, the next day, that joke became obsolete when he hit another home run, this one off All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan. Coming into the game, Hanrahan’s opponent batting average was .162, so it’s pretty impressive Conrad did that.
But, as you’ll notice, Conrad’s only two hits so far are home runs. Not that it means anything, I just find it interesting that he has a season-long 0-for and ends it with two blasts. And neither of them were cheap shots; these were legitimate home runs.
It wasn’t just Conrad who broke out this series, however, as there were a few other Brewers players who showed signs of getting their seasons turned around. Nyjer Morgan was one of them, who, following a .304 season in his first year in Milwaukee, didn’t even have an RBI up until this series. But he turned that around in a hurry, hitting two home runs this series, just as Conrad did. The first one came off of Kevin Correia, and the second off James McDonald. Both of the home runs were no-doubt, low line drive pulls into the right field seats. This is the vintage Morgan we’re used to seeing, so if he keeps this up, he might finally become that consistent bat in the lineup that he was down the stretch last year.
Meanwhile, other utility players, such as Taylor Green and Cody Ransom, had their moments during this series as well. Ransom had a two-run single right before Conrad’s home run on Saturday, and Green is hitting over .300 in his last nine games.
But it’s needless to say these guys are heating up at the right time. The Brewers have been barraged with more injuries than the mind can handle, the latest addition to the disabled list being third baseman and cleanup hitter Aramis Ramirez. That means Ryan Braun, who has also dealt with his share of injuries, isn’t going to have much protection in the lineup. That means Green and Corey Hart are going to have to take the bulk of that job. Or even Conrad could do that, if he can start hitting on a consistent basis from here on out.
That, or he’ll maintain his .061 average, and hit a home run or two every 30 at-bats.