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Today is going to be an interesting and busy day for writing, as I will be recapping yesterday's blowout, analyzing the entire opening home series and then previewing the next series against the Cincinnati Reds. So cut me some slack on any grammar and spelling errors. There's always plenty of them already, but there may be a bit more prevalent in today's posts. So without further adieu...
Milwaukee Brewers 7 San Francisco Giants 0
Players of the Game:
Ben Sheets: 9 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 8 K Eugenio Velez: 1/4, 2B, Outfield Assist
It's starting to seem like a bit of a trend when you say 'team victory' surrounding the Brewers lately. Ben Sheets tossed an impressive 5 hit complete game shutout and Ryan Braun knocked in three runs on three hits, including his second homerun of the year, as the Brewers pounced on a vulnerable ace in Barry Zito giving them a three game sweep. Zito was once a Cy Young award winner, but since then, his velocity has dropped a bit and his curveball command is not nearly as pin point. Against a right handed heavy lineup like the Brewers, these aging and diminished quality resulted in yet another 5 inning performance from Giants pitching, as Zito gave up 5 runs, 3 earned.
While the score read 'Blowout', there really was no big inning because the Brewers scored in 6 of its 8 innings, keeping the pressure on the Giants for the third straight day. However, these insurance runs were really unnecessary because of contract year, injury prone staff ace Ben Sheets. Two days ago Yovani Gallardo threw for AAA-Nashville on his way back to potential ace status, but Brewers fans were reminded that we've had an ace on this squad for some time now, even if he hasn't played that much in the last couple of years. Ben Sheets has yet to give up a run in his 15.1 innings of work this season, all while striking out 15 batters and only walking two. After pitch one yesterday, you could tell Sheets stuff was lights out, so much so that I called it potential no hitter stuff. But the Giants have quality veteran hitters who understand the idea of going opposite field and sitting back on nasty curveballs.
The Game Changing Play:
Again, this is getting to be really hard when the little plays just keep mounting up. But you have to pick one don't you? This time I'm going to go with Sheets catching Bocock looking at strike three in the second inning. At this point, Aurilia and rookie catcher Steve Holm had hit consecutive singles, Holm's first career hit, and the Giants had their only opportunity to put some pressure on the Brewers. Instead the Brewers comeback the next inning and get an unearned run after a fielding error by Brian Bocock (could have went either way in my opinion) and an RBI double by JJ Hardy.
I was very wrong about Saturday's game, but I guess I just had the two flip flopped. Zito was much more vulnerable than Sheets, as expected, but there's no doubt in my mind that Barry is an ace. Once he gains command of his fastball, his hammer curveball still has a lot of bite and will really take advantage of the free swinging hitters. Eugenio Valez was pretty impressive. He got his first career triple on Saturday and smoked a ground rule double off of Ben Sheets. Bocock wasn't as impressive, but showed excellent patience at the plate. he may only be batting .250 so far this year, but he has an OBP of .455, which Giants fans should really appreciate. As expected, Ryan Braun got right back on his horse after going on an 0 for 10 drought. This time he went with three hits and three RBIs. Ultimately, you can't complain about a series sweep.
Series analysis on its way soon.