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Article:The Brew Haus - What's Wrong With Prince?

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It's a hot topic in Milwaukee right now, and nobody can figure out the answer: Just what is wrong with Prince Fielder?

Fielder's first six games were strong. He was batting .364 with five RBIs and a .999 OPS. Since, Fielder has just two hits in 23 at-bats and his slugging percentage rests at a minute .289.

Player profile Prince Fielder

Fielder has yet to hit a home run in 2008.

Say what you want and make all the jokes about his vegetarianism (and believe me I have, at times yelling "Eat a steak, Prince!" at the television after he harmlessly flies out), but Fielder is struggling mightily, and nobody can figure out why.

They've tried a few things already. Fielder began the season wearing his pants knickerbocker-style but bucked the trend when the team headed to New York after he went hitless in a three-game series against Cincinnati. In Sunday's game against the Mets, manager Ned Yost flopped Fielder and Ryan Braun, who is in a minor slump of his own, in the batting order.

Fielder hit only one home run this spring and has yet to hit one during the regular season thus far. A look at last year's game log shows a similar story: he hit a homer in the second game of the season but didn't hit No. 2 until the Brewers' 16th game.

Fielder has stated that he doesn't feel comfortable in his swing right now but cannot quite figure it out.

Perhaps he should ask Bill Hall for some help. Since struggling against the Cubs in the first series, Hall has five homers and 10 RBIs.

However, Hall is batting just .220, the lowest of the Brewers three-four-five hitters. Braun is hitting only .226, while Fielder is at .222.

And the amazing thing is the Brewers keep winning. On Sunday, the three of them went a combined 1-for-14 as the rest of the team went 10-for-24 (sorry, Mets fans) as the Brewers took the three-game series with a 9-7 win. Much of their success has to be attributed to the nine-one-two combination. Though Yost's plan of having Braun shelter Fielder in the three-hole hasn't worked out, the plan of sticking Jason Kendall in the nine-hole has benefited tremendously.

Kendall leads the league in batting average (.405) and Rickie Weeks leads the league in runs scored (13). Not to mention, Gabe Kapler has been ridiculous in the two-hole. Kapler leads the team in RBIs (11) and has four homers in only 26 at-bats.

Having this trend continue for the entire season is highly unlikely, which means the three guys in the middle of the lineup, especially Prince Fielder, need to step it up and figure out what's going on. When you've tried everything else, maybe it is time to break down and have a brat.

Sheets to the Wind: Another ongoing story is the dominance that is Ben Sheets. With his body seemingly fully healthy, Sheets has been downright unstoppable. Sheets' first two starts yielded just one win, but he did not allow a single run in the two games while pitching a five-hit shutout in his second start.

After he stumbled through the first inning of Saturday's start against the Mets, giving up two runs, he proceeded to retire the next 18 batters in order and helped the Brewers spoil Johan Santana's debut at Shea Stadium.

He leads the league in innings pitched (23.0), is third in strikeouts (20), and is fifth in ERA (1.17) through three games. Needless to say, the Brewers will need this sort of production all year, not just whenever he's off the disabled list.

Gallardo Watch: The Brewers expect right-hander Yovani Gallardo to make one more rehab start on Monday before returning to the team. The Brewers would then have to make the decision of who to drop from the rotation in order to fit Gallardo in.

As of right now, it looks to be Dave Bush, whose terrible start (0-2, 8.44 ERA) has almost left Ned Yost with no choice. Gallardo's 2008 debut would then come on Sunday, April 20 as the Brewers close out a three-game series at Cincinnati.

However, should Bush make a strong start on Tuesday against the Cardinals, it will then be between Carlos Villanueva and Manny Parra, who start Wednesday's and Thursday's games.

Other Notes: If there was one pitcher Rickie Weeks could face everyday, chances are it might be Santana. Weeks has seven career plate appearances against the Cy Young winner and has hit two home runs (including his first career dinger), a triple and two walks (that's a 3.257 OPS, in case you were wondering).


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