So perhaps my new schedule offers me a new breath of fresh air as far as recaps, analysis and previews go. My new workout schedule allows me to ride an exercise bike, read and type simultaneously. Before I know it, I'm going to turn into that super exercise freak. Anyways, let us recap Monday evening's game because things went awry.
Brewers 3 Reds 6
MVPs of the Game:
Ryan Braun: 2/4; HR, 2B, 2 Rs, RBI, BB
Jay Bruce: 1/2; HR, 2 Rs, 2 RBIs, BB
It all started out as a pitcher's duel, but things changed swiftly and turned into a blow out that may spell the end of a Brewers season or spark the beginning of a new one. Both Bronson Arroyo and Manny Parra pitched gems until the fifth inning. However, Arroyo was able to pitch out of one and hit his way out of the other. In the end, a bout ensued in the Brewers dugout, pitting the Brewers first baseman against it's starting pitcher. You can only imagine what 100lbs can do to a lanky pitcher.
Arroyo and Parra put on a show, Arroyo looking like the 'ace' of old and Parra taking advantage of a free swinging lineup. Things looked favorable for the Crew, as they always seemed to be threatening, but they couldn't offer up productive outs when they mattered. And then the fifth inning came and the pressure left Manny bound and broken. The first thing to go was the command. After striking out Adam Dunn, Parra gave up a single to AAA-fresh Jolbert Cabrera and walked Jay Bruce on four straight pitches that weren't even close to the zone. Five pitches later, he repeated the business to David Ross, who is batting .228 this season. After getting down in the count to the pitcher, Manny battled back before pushing a 2-2 fastball right down the middle, which Arroyo promptly sent to the left field corner, scoring two runs. After getting Keppinger to ground out, Joey Votto tossed in a 2-out 2-RBI single to make the game 4-0.
The Brewers responded in the top of the 6th with two walks and an RBI single from Corey Hart, but a two run bomb by rookie Jay Bruce in the bottom half extended the lead to five. Then things got messy. Parra and Fielder were walking side by side in the dugout when Fielder absolutely lost it and shoved Parra into the bench. He then continued the onslaught by taking both of his hands and shoving Parra's head back into the wall yet again. What was said, and how it came about is still pretty much unknown.
Reports say the fight ensued as a result of Manny wanting to go to the clubhouse to watch the rest of the game and Prince taking offense. But I have a feeling more was brought about. The poor defense and meager offense has to have had an effect on the Brewers staff. There's no doubt, Manny and Ben's records should be considerably better considering what they've done. But the defense and lack of offense have really made them look average if not, in Manny's case, a little below average. Manny's point at the field clearly indicates that more was implied.
But that didn't stop the game from continuing as the Brewers pushed two more runs across in hope of yet another come back victory. But with two on and one out in the ninth, JJ Hardy and Ryan Braun displayed the Brewers biggest weakness yet again... the inability to recognize a pitch. Hardy was called out on strikes and Braun flailed at four pitches, fouling off two potential balls in the process before finishing the game with an emphatic swinging strike three at the ankles.
Game Changing Play:
After Parra walked back to back batters and started Bronson Arroyo out with a 2-0 count, he battled back to 2-2. But instead of throwing his out pitch, he tossed a straight fastball instead of the splitter, which the PITCHER, Bronson Arroyo smoked down the left field line to score two. Parra managed to get the next batter to ground out, but the confidence was shot from the pitcher's double and Parra tossed up another meatball turning a 0-0 game into a 0-4 game and a meltdown of the Crew.
What's on Tap?:
The Brewers move on, despite a legitimate fight in the dug out, and take on Edinson Volquez, who has shown that he is more than capable to destroy the Brewers "powerful" offense, which basically means, no bombs = no runs. Dave Bush takes on the young righty and has about two weeks to show he deserves the job. Otherwise, he'll lose his job to Seth McClung and Yost will ruin both of their routines for a fourth time this year.
Look for the Brewers to come out angry and focused or a complete mess tomorrow. There won't be an in between. Fights like the Parra Fielder debauchery don't happen often, and happen even fewer times in Milwaukee. The Brewers don't win enough games for the players to care on most occasions. But things have obviously changed since 2002. Spark plug or kiss of death? These players offer the answer.