Milwaukee Brewers 5 Cincinnati Reds 2
Players of the Game:
Ben Sheets: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 K (W)
Brandon Phillips: 2/4, R, Ridiculous Defense
Bronson Arroyo opened the game by giving up two opposite field singles and Ryan Braun's first walk of the year to load the bases with nobody out. It looked like a bloodbath was about to commence, but that wouldn't be the case. Amazing defense and dumb baserunning held the Brewers to only 5 runs, leaving 16 men on base. Sometimes LOB can be a bit deceiving and in this case, you can't help but agree. Following the loading of the bases, Prince Fielder hit a sac fly followed by single from Corey Hart to open a 2-0 lead with only one out. With Bill Hall at the plate Corey Hart got caught taking off on the first move by Arroyo, who faked to third and went to first. With Hart taking off, Joey Votto tossed to second and probably would not have caught Hart in time, but we didn't find out as Brandon Phillips tossed home, catching Braun at home by three or four steps. But this was really the only mistake the Brewers made the entire game.
But the blowout still looked imminent as Sheets was dealing a shutout again before leaving with a sore triceps (for the second year in a row) in the 5th and the Brewers put two runners on with one out in the second. It came to no avail though because of a ridiculous play by Brandon Phillips, who single handedly kept the Reds in this game by saving at least four runs on a leaping catch, a leaping throw across the diamond and snagging wicked hops that turned into a routine double play. The kid is good, no doubt. He's probably the best defensive second baseman out there (.981 Career Fielding Pct on 1179 Attempts), and it doesn't hurt that he learned how to hit a little.
A two run bomb by Hall in the third and an insurance run from a Jason Kendall 2-out single put the Brewers on top 5-0. It would stay that way until the bottom of the 9th. This is where things got a little sketchy as the bullpen started to melt a little, but back to back K's by Eric Gagne, who is quieting critics by adjusting, sealed the victory. Brewers fans should be nervous though. The bullpen has had to eat up 13.2 innings in the last three games. I know that Torres and Riske are durable guys, but you cannot, I repeat, CANNOT over work these guys and expect them to sustain the performances they are giving. Considering Turnbow was fresh and they need to increase his trade value, if that's what they plan on doing, why would you ever put in Riske in the 9th? Come on Yost! Think!
Game Changing Play:
Mitch Stetter made his season debut last night in the 8th, and all of us had hoped that he would get through the 8th and 9th without screwing up because the bullpen is so taxed. Instead, Stetter loaded the bases with nobody out. But Stetter got the job done. After the jam job single by Ryan Freel that loaded the bases, Stetter struck out Paul Bako and Scott Hatteberg (both lefties), and preserved the 5-0 lead which they would need.
Predictions Pretty Good:
There was no doubt in my mind that the Brewers would work on Arroyo. Pitchers like Bronson are only really good for a few years unless they make good adjustments, and his season last year proved he hasn't made the changes yet. Unfortunately the Brewers couldn't knock him out until the end of the 6th and saved a taxed Reds bullpen. Adam Dunn did what Adam Dunn does, got on base via the walk and knocked in an RBI. Any one who is angry with Dunn because of his .191 BA, shouldn't complain about a .418 OBP and 19 walks already this season. He should seriously be their leadoff hitter. Can you imagine the runs he could get with Keppinger and Griffey behind him. He'd probably get more strikes to hit out of the park too, but that's just not how baseball works these days. I was a bit out of it and suggested watching Iribarren, but he got sent down and it had slipped my mind. The Crew needs that 13th pitcher though. They wouldn't if Yost was smart enough to show T-Bow he has some confidence in him. Prince over swung in his first AB, but was still able to get a productive out. Other than that he looked good with another walk and a bullet that was snagged by Phillips.
Who's on Tap?
In a little less than three hours from, Johnny Cueto with match up with Jeff Suppan for the second time in a little more than a week. Surprisingly, Suppan out-pitched Cueto in a 3-2 victory for the Crew, despite a blown save by Gagne. In that game the Brewers only walked once amidst eight hits resulting in three runs. They will need more than that this time and Suppan has to go at least 6 innings for the Brewers to be comfortable.
And after the game, we will finally see what the Brewers decide to do upon the return of Yovani Gallardo. My guess is they'll send down Parra in hopes to prepare a trade. People don't seem to realize that the Brewers have plenty of depth in their minor league as far as relief pitching goes, so pretty much any trade involving Gabe Gross, Seth McClung, Derrick Turnbow and Dave Bush is a definite possibility. Just to name a few: Tim Dillard, Erasmo Ramirez, Chris Narveson and Luis Pena are all major league ready. I would prefer to wait on Pena for another year or so, but the remaining guys are all fair game. Even better, Narveson and Ramirez are lefties with some major league experience.