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Milwaukee Brewers 1 Washington Nationals 5
Milwaukee Brewers 5 Washington Nationals 2
Milwaukee Brewers 6 Washington Nationals 7
Milwaukee Brewers 4 Washington Nationals 3
MVPs of the Series:
Mike Cameron: 6/17; HR, 3 2B, 4 R, BB, SB, 3 RBIs
Lastings Milledge: 4/16; HR, 2 2B, BB, 3 RBIs
Mike Cameron quietly had a damn good series for the Brewers, taking over for Ryan Braun who quieted down a bit since leaving Pittsburgh. On top of that, he played some phenomenal defense. There's not too many guys who can track down the balls Cameron did this weekend, taking extra bases away from the Nationals on a regular basis. Instead, the Brewers stayed in every single game and were able to squeeze out a split, despite the umpires attempts to prevent that this afternoon.
Milledge wasn't particularly effective, but not a single National really stuck his head out as being the most effective player. Instead, the Nationals completed a valiant team effort getting big hits from Pena, Young, Boone and Guzman at different times. The Nationals are a young team and look like they could be a threat sometime down the line. They're definitely not the scariest of teams, but I imagine that when they get hot, they can put on a show.
What was the Difference?:
Double Plays. The Brewers may have lost two games, but things may have been a little different if they didn't shoot themselves in the foot over and over again. The Nationals turned six double plays in the series. The Brewers, on the other hand, were only able to turn two. As a result, the Nationals were able to fend off big rallies from the Brewers when it seemed like momentum began to swing. You can probably toss coaching in on this one as well. Manny Acta doesn't really have an easy job with all of these guys out there, but he puts them in positions to win and isn't scared to make moves before things hit the fan (Pulling Bergmann in the 6th today in favor of a lefty after Prince hit the ball hard twice before). Conversely, Ned Yost tends to keep pitchers out for longer than they should. Mota was clearly missing over the plate, but Ned let him continue. The result was back to back hits and a walk off wild pitch.
Causes for Concern:
Consistency is lacking for the Brewers. One day they look like a quality potential playoff team and the next they look like a 10-15 game under .500 squad. With Atlanta coming to Milwaukee tomorrow, you're not really sure if the big guys or the little guys will come out. The odd thing is that it's not just a couple of guys. It's every single person on this team. One day Prince will look locked and drill every pitch hard and the next he'll appear to be overmatched. Weeks looks poised to jump from that slump and then strikes out seven times in two days. Manny Parra has two solid starts, then turns around and explodes with an awful start. It's scary and exciting, but it makes for a frustrated author.
The Nationals aren't particularly a good team, and it showed throughout the series. My biggest concern is their starting pitching. Their numbers, by any means, are bad. Redding has been solid most of the year, Bergmann is turning it around and Perez was locating all of his pitches, but no starter made it through the sixth inning. In fact, only Bergmann made it into the sixth. This could be a big problem as the season progresses and the bullpen begins to accumulate innings. Cordero is no where near coming back to the bullpen and Rauch looks like the only legit arm that could be lights out. It's going to be more tough than usual if they can't get that worked out.
Causes for Excitement:
How can you not be stoked about Corey Hart, who is showing no signs of slowing down? Hart has five home runs since May 17th is batting .302/.348/.523 in May. A lot of people were on his case in April for not bringing the power numbers. Patience is king in baseball. Remember when you were worried Prince would never hit another homerun? But it gets a little better for the Crew. Seth McClung earned himself quite a few fans' support with his start on Saturday. You can't get too excited just yet though. Give him a few starts before you start believing. But the new mechanics and his big stature make McClung a pretty interesting development.
The Nationals have to be proud of their young catchers doing some damage at the plate and behind it. Will Nieves and Jesus Flores are hitting the ball extremely well, and have surprisingly looked even better behind the plate, Flores especially. You may not believe it considering the number of stolen bases this weekend, but every ball got out quickly and was right on the bag, and I mean ON the bag. Flores got hosed on a call today on another perfect toss and every other SB was stolen on the pitcher, not their young catchers.