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Milwaukee Brewers 2 Florida Marlins 6
Players of the Game:
Rickie Weeks: 1/4; HR, 2 RBIs
Hanley Ramirez: 2/2; 2 BB, 2 R
Burke Badenhop looked like Scott Olson of last night as the Marlins continue to stomp all over a struggling, and possibly just plain bad, Milwaukee Brewers team. Badenhop held the Brewers hitless the first time through the lineup and didn't get in trouble until the sixth. But by that time, the damage had already been done.
Dave Bush looked solid in his first two innings, only giving up a single over a mere 16 pitches. But then things got ugly. A first pitch HBP to catcher Mike Rabelo put the lead-off runner on. After two quick outs, Jeremy Hermida hit a soft tailing flare to right. Hart wasn't able to run it down, scoring Rabelo. And here's where Bush lost it. These cheap hits happen. It's baseball. For every line drive out, there's a little blooper or David Eckstein hit (whatever you want to call it). But Dave Bush has trouble dealing with these things. He followed this up by walking Ramirez on five pitches and going 3-0 to Mike Jacobs, who promptly drilled 90 MPH fastball right down the middle to the top of the wall. By my standards it was a homerun, but it wasn't ruled so and the Marlins left up 3-0.
This really would be all the Brewers needed. Rickie Weeks did his best to get his team back in it in the 6th inning, when he drilled a change-up to the left field bleachers. Things looked even more promising as Cameron singled right behind him. But Braun would strike out on a ball in the dirt after battling for eight pitches, Fielder would swing on the first pitch and line out softly to right and Bill Hall would get handled exactly as Braun, going ten pitches. So let's get this straight, you guys battle battle battle, and then give it all away by swinging out of the zone. No wonder you're under .500.
Nevertheless, momentum still appeared to be on Milwaukee's side, until the Dave Bush big inning train came through. Usually Bush falls apart at the 90 pitch mark, but he only threw around 72 when he came out in the bottom of the 6th. He would immediately walk Ramirez: Screw up one. After Helms smoked a ball to the gap that Cameron ran down, Bush would drop an 86 MPH fast ball right down the chute to Jorge Cantu: Screw up two. Dan Uggla would get the same treatment, leading to back to back jacks and a 6-2 ball game. The Marlins' bullpen would hold the Brewers hitless to finish another victory over the Brewers, who are hitting a whopping .157 against the Marlins in five games.
Game Changing Play:
After Rickie hit his 2-run blast in the top of the sixth, Dave Bush laid up an 86 MPH fastball to a smiling Jorge Cantu. Uggla would tack on an insurance homer and the Brewers would stop playing baseball after that, refusing to get a hit the rest of the game.
Predictions and Notes:
Well, I said walks and bombs would be the story and I was right, but it was Bush who was on the wrong side and not 2007 A-ball pitcher Burke Badenhop, who looked like an ace tonight, striking out seven over 5.2. Bush would end up giving up six earnies over six innings, three of which were free passes via two walks and an HBP. It was an underwhelming performance considering he looked pretty darn good in the first two innings, with good movement on his fastball and decent bite on the curve. But he would leave too many pitches over the plate and the free swinging Marlins took advantage of my brief let up on a very poor pitcher.
With Corey Hart going 0fer tonight, botching yet another one of my predictions, only Mike Rivera and Tony Gwynn Jr have batting averages above .300, and both have fewer than 20 ABs. I think that's a sign. Most teams have at least two or three regulars who carry the team during the early months, but not this team. In fact, I don't expect any regular for this team to hit that plateau and I may keel over and die if somehow, a regular has an OBP above .400, of which the Cubs have five.
With this game the Brewers drop below .500 and have put their fans into a tizzy. With the exception of week one, I can't really say I've been overly excited about this squad. If a team relies on RISP and 'clutch hitting', it's a sign that they can't hit 'clutch' when they're ahead. This means they don't play when the game is not on the line, or from what I can tell, they just don't play. The second they improve their plate discipline and stop pulling ground balls on the outside corner (Badenhop's GB/FB = 7/3), they can go on a run of epic proportions, but can any one get it through their skulls. As a fan, I sure hope so. The Brewers have the type of players people can get behind and the whole baseball community can enjoy.
What's on Tap?:
If Carlos Villanueva plans on getting his second victory of the year, he'll have to pretty much pitch a shutout. Villa left his last start against the Marlins ahead after going six innings, giving up two runs while scattering six hits without walking any one, but Torres would give up a run to tie the game at threes, taking the win away. Mark Hendrickson rolled and smoked the Brewers in his first appearance against them in April and can only hope to repeat that performance this time around. It's hard to say it, but I think this is a sweep. The road whoas continue for the Crew and their laid back attitude in the clubhouse comes off as tension at the plate and results in looking overmatched on a regular basis.