Milwaukee Brewers 2 Minnesota Twins 10
MVPs of the Game:
Prince Fielder: 2/3; 2B, BB, R
Kevin Slowey: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 5 K
Honorable Mentions: Bill Hall for the Minnesota Twins; 2 errors leading to six unearned runs, no hits and a failure to hustle the entire game.
I don't walk out on games very often. I would even call it a rare occurrence. But Friday was the exception. It's impossible to get into a game when your favorite team is playing like a bunch of little leaguers. With the exception for Braun, Fielder and Branyan, that's what the Brewers were during last night's game. Kevin Slowey came into this game with a 2-6 record and an ERA above five, but that didn't stop the Brewers from making him look like the staff ace. Slowey gave up only two hits over his first six innings of baseball, and that's not because he was lights out. It was because the Brewers were the bad at the plate, waiving at strikes out of the zone, trying to pull balls that are outside and swinging for the fences with nearly every swing.
But it wasn't just the bats fault. The defense could be labeled as nothing better than sickening. It started in the first inning with a routine groundball by Alexi Casilla to second baseman Bill Hall, who is currently replacing the man he claims should have been the odd man out to get a lefty put in his place. But I digress... wait, no I don't. Bill Hall biffed that ball, allowing a run to score on a ground out two batters later, which, under normal circumstances, would have been the third out.
The Brewers then proceeded to avoid a few near misses until the fifth, when Bill showed us why he will forever be a cancer to this team. The inning started off with back to back bunt singles to the right side. Prince fielded the first one perfectly, but there was a problem. Nobody was covering first base. Why? To be honest, I'm not really sure. Gomez showed his bunt very early, and if you watch the play closely, you'll notice Bill Hall doesn't even take a step towards first base to help. In fact, by the time Prince turns to first, Billy is standing straight up, just patting his glove. The very next batter does the same thing. This time Prince stayed home, realizing Hall isn't going to do him any favors. Bush goes to field the ball and then gives up, thinking he's going to run into Fielder. Two batters later, Morneau hits a triple off of the center field wall. He would score on a single by Kubel, making the score 4-0.
But Bill Hall didn't stop. I wonder why he didn't talk to the media last night? In the seventh inning, the Brewers brought in young Tim Dillard, who has been fantastic this year in his few appearances. Last night, that wasn't the case. But there's hope, even though he didn't have his good stuff, he would have gotten out of it under normal circumstances. Unfortunately for him, Bill Hall doesn't stand for normal circumstances. The inning started with a harmless fly out and a single from Delmon Young on a solid stop from Russell Branyan. Then Jason Kubel came to the plate, one of the slower outfielders in the league. He promptly hits another routine groundball to Bill Hall, who will have plenty of time to get the out at first since Young was on the go. Instead, Hall boots it almost exactly how he booted the ball in the first inning and Kubel reaches. Brendan Harris would follow with a ground out to the catcher, and then the wheels came off. After an intentional walk to Mike Lamb, Dillard got behind 3-1 against the pitcher and was forced to throw some meatballs up there. Slowey hit a jam job ball to left to score two. This was followed by a single and a double, officially putting the game out of reach on FIVE, count 'em, FIVE unearned runs. Talk about stealing the confidence from a kid who was pitching very well.
The Brewers would manage two in the seventh, but that wasn't enough to make me watch the rest of that hideous display of baseball. Fielder and Branyan looked pretty good at the plate, but nobody else did. If Counsell and Hall are going to be in the every day lineup, consider the season over. Every time the Cubs and the Cards lose, the Brewers hand games away. You only get so many opportunities. And while I understand that this is a long season and we're not half way there, games like these don't happen to good teams. When they do, they're still at least in the game. That isn't the case for these Brewers, especially when half of their infield is unable to play.
Game Changing Play:
Prince Fielder led off the second inning with a scorching double. On the following play Russell Branyan crushed a ball to the wall in left center, that almost got out but was caught. Fielder, not sure if he was going to run or not, got out of the gate slow and motored to third. Carlos Gomez's throw was a bit off and Lamb and to reach for Fielder, who the ump called safe. He sure looked safe from my angle, but you never know. The Brewers would only get one more hit until the 7th, sealing the game for the Twins.
If Bill Hall is in the lineup tonight, I'd be hard pressed. Ned Yost is making excuse after excuse for him and it's really getting on my nerves. It feels like he's not even trying. He's lackadaisical and looks even more hideous at the plate now than when he had the every day job. The fact of the matter is, I'm ready to DFA the guy. If he wants to forfeit his contract, let him. I'm not sure how waivers works, but I'm assuming they have to take on a good portion of his contract if he is claimed. But the fact of the matter is, Bill Hall is first in errors in the league with 15 and he has fewer than 100 attempts. Furthermore, he's batting under .220 with an OBP lower than .300. No playoff team has this guy on his team. He can't hit, he can't field and he doesn't deserve to play. Hell, I'd rather see Calix Crabbe up here right now.
The Twins outfield is fast. I mean really fast, with the exception of Jason Kubel. Gomez may not have discipline at the plate, but can that guy fly. There were two balls in last night's game that are doubles, maybe even triples, with almost any one else in the league out there. The best run down was Braun's sac fly, when Gomez took two steps in and then took off to the center field wall, making a catch over his shoulder.
Iribarren has looked awful in his few ABs since returning to the bigs. Give the guy some playing time and see what he can really do. This every other day thing isn't going to work out.
Dave Bush would have never pitched the sixth inning if I was the manager. When he came back out, I looked at my friend and said, "Bill Hall is giving this game away. He was the last out, double switch him and Bush out for Joe Dillon and Mark DiFelice." Well, that's not how Yost thinks. He trusts all of his guys. The thing is, no one trusts Bill Hall anymore, and he's ruining the delicate confidence of this team. Get him out of there.