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Milwaukee Brewers 10 Chicago Cubs 7
Players of the Game:
Mike Cameron: 3/5; 2B, BB, 2 R, 2 RBIs
Mike Fontenot: 2/2; 2B, BB, 3 RBIs
The frigid weather of the northern part of the US led to an ugly affair of a ball game Tuesday night. The Brewers and Cubs collectively were responsible for 17 runs, 28 hits, 12 walks and three errors. In the end, the Mike Cameron and the Brewers' bullpen prevailed, despite the Cubs valiant comeback attempt sparked by 8 walks and the bench bat of Mike Fontenot.
Mike Cameron made his arrival known in the first inning, doubling just below the basket and scoring on a sac fly by Prince Fielder, thanks to Ryan Braun's wild pitch K. This became the first push in a see-saw battle that took three hours and forty minutes, which we usually reserve for AL games. The Cubs notched two in the 2nd when DeRosa and Soto singled and were moved along by a Pie walk, which became the trend for Sheets. A ground out and a sac fly secured the two runs for the bottom half of the lineup. The Brewers answered with four hits, a sac fly in the third, but the meat of the Cubs lineup tacked on two more with a Derek Lee homerun, a couple more walks, an error and a sac fly, knotting it at four.
The Brewers continued their attack, scoring again in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th innings to quiet the frozen crowd of Wrigley field, and deny the comeback sparked by a 3-run double from Mike Fontenot. Gagne avoided a near blow up in the ninth to finish the game and give Sheets a not so deserved win, considering his line versus his rotation partners the last two weeks (5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 7 BB, 2 K). That's 4-0 for the ace if you're counting.
Game Changing Play:
In the 7th inning the Brewers walked the bases with one out following two singles and a walk by Hall, Hardy and Gwynn Jr. A walk by the awful Michael Wuertz of Jason Kendall scored Hall. But the play that put it out of reach was a 2-run blooper over the head of Mike Fontenot that plated two, making it 9-4.
Predictions Half and Half:
I thought for sure tonight's game would go to the Brewers. I just didn't think it would be this ugly. Both Cameron and Fielder delivered as promised. Fielder was only 1/3, but he knocked in two and scored a run following a solid double off of John Lieber to the opposite field. Cameron was simply a beast. His fresh legs and mental state was a breath of fresh air for this squad. But don't get angry with me for being cautious. This is just one game. If this new life sticks around for a few games, maybe that chemistry thing you keep hearing about will rear it's face. Weeks, on the other hand, was pretty much awful, going 1/6 with nothing to show for it. Weeks is notoriously awful against Carlos Zambrano, batting .240/.296/.400 against him with 10 Ks and no walks in 27 PA. So he better make good tomorrow for me to be at least half right.
- This game should have been a blowout, but taking eight walks is the reason the Cubs will always be in games no matter how far down they are. And I'll be that dead horse. If the Brewers were better than 3-4 walks a game as they have been, their record would probably be 3 or 4 games better.
- Both umps behind the plate were awful tonight. Jerry Crawfor had to leave early in the game because of health concerns, but the bottom and top of his strike zone was questionable at best. Later, Paul Nauert decided to guess at corner strikes, ring up guys on pitches off the plate and call knee high curveballs from Sheets, balls some times and strikes other. The thing is, when I say knee high, I mean when they hit the catcher's glove, which means they were perfect thigh high pitches at the plate. This is the third game this year that I can remember when the umps played a pivotal role in the game.
Who's on Tap?:
An greatly improved Jeff Suppan takes on former closer Ryan Dempster in game two on Wednesday night at Wrigley. Soup was impressive his last two starts, which leads me to believe he'll struggle tomorrow, but I'll still keep my eye on his bouts against Fukudome, since he destroyed him last game. Dempster was solid in his last outing, but has recently struggled with his command. You can't expect the Brewers to knock 17 hits a game, so some plate discipline may give the Brewers a chance to take this one tomorrow.