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Who's on tap?
Who should you watch?
This one is not as readily apparent as the Cubs/Brewers matchup, but we'll give it a shot anyways. The Brewers are a much more talented team than the Giants, so you should fully expect a team onslaught by the Brewers. Nevertheless, you should keep your eye out for Manny Parra in today's game. Manny is going to fight Dave Bush for that final starting spot when Gallardo comes around, and he'll need to make an impression similar to the composed Carlos Villanueva's. For the Giants, it's a couple of young guys that will likely be the future of the San Francisco Giants. Those two being SS Brian Bocock, who played A+ ball last year and 2B Eugenio Valez, who batted .298 /344/.399 for AA.
What are the keys to victory?
For the Brewers it's quality ABs. Bill Hall had an excellent quote yesterday, in which he said that the Brewers need to not give away ABs. The Giants bullpen will likely be one of the 5 worst in the entire league, so getting Barry Zito's pitch count up, as well as Correia's will reveal a weakness the Brewers should take advantage of. San Francisco needs to focus on jamming up Brewers hitters. They're notorious for swinging at bad pitches when down in the count. Sanchez struck out 8 over 5 innings yesterday. If Zito mimics that, the Brewers may be in for a tough game on Sunday.
If you asked me yesterday what was going to happen in game one, I would have guessed Villanueva would have went a little further, but would have maintained a quality start, while the Brewers teed off on a poor pitcher. Game two will be a bit more of a challenge, as Correia is not someone you should take lightly and Manny Parra may be vulnerable. Nevertheless, Parra will keep his poise and pitch well, while Brewers hitters will continue to roll, just not as much. Expect Ryan Braun to jump out of his shoes a bit after going 0 for 8 in his last two games. Just as I write this, he just drilled a rocket for a single into left field. In game three, you'll see a hell of a pitching duel. Zito will be much more vulnerable than Sheets because of the Brewers right handed heavy lineup. The final result? The Brewers rarely sweep, but I think this is the year they get over the hump. I say Brewers by 4 today and by one tomorrow, yielding Gagne's first Brewers' save.
Let's go Crew!