Brewers 7 Blue Jays 0
MVPs of the Game:
Manny Parra: 7 IP, 4 H, 4 BB, 5 K, 0 R
Lyle Overbay: 1/3, BB
Honorable Mention: Ryan Braun, 3/4; 2 HRs, 2B, 3 RBIs, 3 Rs
The Brewers rallied behind Manny Parra's seven innings of shutout baseball by scoring seven runs on five long balls. Parra struggled with his command early, but was able to overcome two two out walks in the second inning. From there the Brewers let the five long balls do the talking.
Fielder started it with a huge first pitch center field bomb that was probably half way up the batters' eye. An inning later Craig Counsell told me to piss off and hit one of his own, his first of the year. An inning after that, Russell Branyan joined the fun and hit a two-run blast to deep right field for his eight bomb in just 56 ABs. The fun continued in the 6th when Braun hit his 19th dinger of the year, and then he hit his 20th with a two-run shot in the 8th. Interestingly, the Brewers had seven hits. Five of them were homeruns. The other two were a single by Parra and double by Braun. I guess that's one way to skin a cat.
The Blue Jays, on the other hand, struggled mightily, managing only four hits, none of which went for extra bases. In my series preview I said that the Jays would have to be patient. Well they did that, but I guess you have to hit the ball a little harder to get those guys around. They just could not get things going. The lead off hitter got on base only twice all game and one of those occasions was ruined by a double play ball. From what I've read all day, that seems to have been the Jays problem all year. This time though, they could blame both sides of their game. Dustin McGown only made it four innings. He only gave up four hits, but three of them were homeruns, and that was enough for him.
Game Changing Play:
Ryan Braun led off the fourth inning with blistering double down the right field line, bringing up Corey Hart and Prince Fielder. Fielder would waive at a pitch way out of the zone and Corey would pop out on three pitches for two very unproductive outs. It seemed like McGowan was going to do what it seems like every pitcher this year is doing to the Brewers, and that's prevent them from manufacturing runs. But he made a mistake. Two innings earlier he had blown a chest high fastball past Branyan for a strikeout. This time he didn't elevate it enough and Branyan drove a no doubter to right making it a 4-0 game and completely deflating the Jays.
- The Brewers managed to walk only once this game, meaning they only managed eight baserunners all game. Luckily every ball that got elevated, went a long ways. I know it's knitpicky, but while it's fun to watch this many long balls and it's fun to cheer for, a team like this can never make the playoffs. Case an point, (I seem to always use the Cubs on these things, but...) the Cubs knocked out Scott Kazmir tonight in 4.2 innings, but not because Scott was bad. Rather Kazmir was phenomenal, giving up only three hits, one run and seven K's. The difference? He walked four and was up to 110 pitches. The Cubs weren't hitting the ball for anything, but they still had opportunities and almost made them count.
- Joe Dillon happened to be the only Brewer who picked up that walk. In fact, he probably saw more pitches than any Brewer in the game despite taking the collar. Just thought I'd toss that out there for good measure considering he, not Craigy Craig should top that order if Hart doesn't. I expect Dillon to get most of the playing time with righties up there and Weeks on the DL.
- JJ Hardy didn't play again today. How long before they just give up, and put him on the DL retroactive to last week? I hate this dilly dally BS. We're lucky the pitching has done so well that we didn't need to make any pivotal moves. After discussion at BrewersNation, I guess I would be okay to let Escobar come up and here and try and do some work if he does get DL'd, especially considering how well Branyan has done. I'm just so used to the guy being horribly unproductive when he was here years ago.
- David Riske was phenomenal in his rehab assignment today in AAA-Nashville, striking out all three batters he faced. Honestly, I would prefer the Brewers just release Tavarez instead of sending down DiFelice or Dillard. DiFelice has a long arm for mop up work and Dillard has shown that he belongs here.
Who's on Tap?:
In game two of this series, the Brewers' staff ace, Ben Sheets, will go for his eighth victory of the year as he takes on Shaun Marcum. Should be a damn good pitching duel based on the numbers, but if the Jays swing the sticks like they did tonight, Marcum is going to have to be perfect just to get a no decision. Hopefully the Brewers will be smart enough to expect another five long balls. Perhaps some walks and manufactured runs will rear their 'ugly' head and the Brewers can keep on keepin' on.