Results tagged ‘ MLB ’
The Milwaukee Brewers dealt away a number of top minor league prospects last offseason, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re weak when it comes to talent down on the farm.
A number of prospects are working their way through the system, gaining recognition and making a name for themselves along the way.
Let’s take a look at the seven most impressive prospects in Milwaukee’s farm system of 2011.
I’ve been raving about Thornburg’s future with the franchise for quite some time now, and he’s backing up my claim quite handsomely.
Milwaukee’s second-round selection in the 2010 amateur draft is spinning heads down on the farm in just his second full season in the system. Starting the year with class-A Wisconsin, Thornburg went 7-0 while posting a 1.57 ERA. He’s run into a stiff patch since being called up to class-AA Brevard County earlier in the year, but is still producing like no other starter in the system.
The 23-year-old phenom leads all pitchers with 144 SO to his credit in just 124.2 IP, is second in wins (10), and ERA (2.60) among all hurlers down on the farm.
With just days left until rosters expand from 25 to 40, it would be a surprise if Peralta isn’t called-up from class-AAA Nashville. In fact, reports indicate the Brewers may already be planning on bringing his talents to the bullpen to add depth.
Thus far in 2011, his fifth year in Milwaukee’s minor league system, Peralta boasts a 3.32 ERA, 134 SO and leads all Brewers pitchers in wins (11).
Peralta maintains three solid pitches to his credit, of which include a 92-94 mph fastball topping out at 96. He also has what scouts would call an “above average” slider in the low 80s. The only thing holding him back from the majors to this point is his command issues.
A future starter in the making, Peralta’s stint with the Brewers will be crucial in his development as a young player.
The 26-year-old Gamel has been waiting in the wings to take over for either Casey McGehee or Prince Fielder for the past three seasons now, and may suffer in the minors for a much longer time than expected if the Brewers re-sign Fielder after the season.
Nonetheless, you simply can’t argue with what he’s been able to accomplish as a minor-league — particularly in 2011.
Leading all Brewer minor leaguers in home runs (26), RBI (90) while ranking in the top five in hits (138), BA (.317), and SLG (.557), Gamel is in the midst of yet another solid season for Milwaukee’s class-AAA affiliate Nashville Sounds.
When the Brewers drafted him back in the 22nd round of the 2009 amateur draft, they had no intention of making him a starter on the major league level.
Working his way through the ranks of Milwaukee’s system, Fiers has never posted an ERA above 3.70 in any such season, and is the current leader among all Brewers minor leauge pitchers in ERA (2.14). The 26-year-old Fiers is an older prospect than most, but remains one of the most impressive prospects of the 2011 season.
A September call-up isn’t likely, but you can’t argue with the production he’s been able to administer for class-AAA Nashville.
Though you’d probably mistake him as a bat-boy rather than a top-notch prospect, Gennett’s 5’9″ 164-pound frame has enabled him to be one of the most well-rounded players in the Brewers’ system.
The versatile infielder has experience at shortstop, but made the move to second base after making the transition to the minor leagues.
Leading all Brewers in hits (154), Gennett has one of the more consistent bats in the system. His quickness and reaction has worked wonderfully, amassing 11 stolen bases thus far in 2011.
He may be a few years off from a starting job in the majors, but the talent is certainly there.
Milwaukee took Gindl in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, the same year they drafted current starting catcher Jonathon Lucroy, interestingly enough.
Since then, Gindl has worked his way through four of Milwaukee’s minor league clubs, now residing with class-AAA Nashville. The 5’9″, 205-pound outfielder has tremendous potential and carries a big bat — amassing 14 home runs and a .471 SLG thus far in 2011.
Expectations weren’t as high as others coming into his fifth season in the Brewers’ system, but Gindl has outperformed many other top prospects to get to where he’s currently at.
Chris Narveson, Milwaukee’s No.5 starter in a revamped and refurbished 2011 starting rotation, has reportedly injuried himself while working on his glove in the training room with a pair of scissors Tuesday night. Reports indicate Narveson needed some eight stitiches to repair the wound.
“I look down, and I’ve got a gash on my thumb,” Narveson said. “I was hoping [the cut] wasn’t that deep, but it ended up being deep, and they put a couple of stitches in there.”
Eight stitches is nothing to sneese at, according to Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.
“He’s obviously going to be out for a little bit,” Roenicke said.
Narveson was originally scheduled to start Friday against the Pirates, but will be need to be replaced. We will continually update you on any late-breaking news as it comes in.
Narveson is 8-6 on the season with a 4.49 ERA in 23 starts, and says he “has never sustained an injury like this ever before.”
Read more from Alec Dopp here.
Milwaukee (49-43) will revamp their engines for the second-half of the season Thursday night, where they will take on the Rockies (43-48) for the first time this season.
Ron Roenicke’s crew managed to right the sinking ship by winning four of five after losing seven of eight heading into the All-Star break, whereby they now stand tied with the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. Let’s break down the three-game series.
Thursday, July 14, 7:40 PM
Gallardo (10-5) vs. Jimenez (4-8)
Jimenez has been a far cry from his Cy Young-caliber 2010 season, carrying a 4.14 ERA and 1.30 WHIP into Thursday night’s matchup.
Milwaukee Brewers make first splash in trade market, reinforce their World Series-aspirations
Remember that old saying: “It isn’t a matter of if, but when?”
The Milwaukee Brewers know it quite well.
While the 2011 MLB All-Star Game saw the National League successfully put together back to back victories for only the first time since the 1995-1996 seasons, the Milwaukee Brewers and GM Doug Melvin were busy working on a deal that would send Francisco Rodriguez to the Brew City for two unnamed prospects in Milwaukee’s farm system.
As we reported early in the week, the deal — which was completed Tuesday but would not go public until the cessation of the game itself — would send Rodriguez to the Brewers along with a large sum of additional cash. It also should be noted that Milwaukee will now pick up the $5 million remaining on Rodriguez’s contract through this season, and could very well end up paying the $17.5 million buyout option for 2012 on vesting option if Rodriguez finishes 55 games this season.
While this whole contract/buyout fiasco is only beginning to rear it’s ugly head, it should be noted that Milwaukee remains fully invested and confident with their decision to acquire New York’s famed fire-baller. Melvin, among other things, was quoted as saying:
“Offense is down in baseball this year, and there seems to be a lot of one-run ballgames. To win those games, you have to have strong pitching in the bullpen.”
He’s certainly right. For as dominating as pitching was in 2010, the first-half of 2011 yielded 8.4 runs per game compared to last year’s 8.9 — down nearly 6 percent 2010 and 20 percent from 2000.
But, aside from the potentially detrimental financial aspects of the trade, the Brewers are nothing short of ecstatic for their second-half sprint towards an NL Central crown.
As Brewers first-baseman and All-Star MVP Prince Fielder put it:
“As a player, you appreciate it, because you’re going out there every day, and you’re wanting to win. When management does things like that, you appreciate it, because you see that they’re going for it with you every day, too.
Truth be told, the Brewers have been on the positive end of major deadline deals over the years (see CC Sabathia in 2008), and the K-Rod deal comes as no surprise to the Milwaukee faithful.
Even so, Ron Roenicke’s crew cannot overlook the ultimate goal: winning the World Series and bringing a championship back to Milwaukee.
But the question remains: can they actually do it?
Despite adding Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum in the offseason, 2011 has still proved to be very inconsistent for Milwaukee, who currently holds true to the baseball’s 10th-worst team ERA (4.06). Takashi Saito (another notable offseason addition) was only recently removed from the disabled list, and has pitched just five innings thus far.
Although the gaudy statistics would show otherwise, Rodriguez should bring unprecedented talent and leadership to Milwaukee’s bullpen in need of major addition. At the midway point of the season, Rodriguez maintained a 3.16 ERA while converting 23 saves in 26 opportunities.
Offensively, however, it’s a completely different story for the Brewers.
With All-Stars Fielder, Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun (who will be fresh off missing a week’s worth of games due to a calf strain), the Brewers are clearly ready and capable to contend with the bats. Along with great support off the bench, what’s not to love about Milwaukee’s postseason chances?
The Brewers have invested anything and everything into this 2011 season, and with a few breaks here and there, they will be able to ride their revamped pitching into the postseason.
Milwaukee Brewers acquire K-Rod from NY Mets in great deal for both teams
Word broke late Tuesday night following the conclusion of the 2011 MLB All-Star game that the Milwaukee Brewers have indeed acquired Mets fire-baller Francisco Rodriguez in what ESPN’s very own Tim Kurkjian called “a great deal for both teams”.
In the deal, Milwaukee would receive New York’s outspoken closer and a substantial amount of cash. The Mets are due to receive two players yet to be named, sources say.
“That’s awesome,” the Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder said in Phoenix after the game. “That’s a big trade; he can really help us. He’s a great player. It definitely gives us a spark.”
Totaling 23 saves in 26 opportunities for the Mets through the first half of the 2011 regular season, K-Rod will not only bring unquestioned talent, but a considerable amount of experience to a Brewers pitching staff in dire need of direction and leadership.
Word on the street says that Rodriguez could also be looking for a contract extension with Milwaukee at season’s end, depending on if all goes well in the Brew City.
Since joining the Mets in 2009, Rodriguez was 9-10 with a 3.05 ERA and 83 saves in 165 games—clearly one of the best resumes among fellow closers in the National League.
But, for Brewers fans at least, this deal of epic proportions comes as anything but a surprise, as GM Doug Melvin has been known for making colossal trade-deadline deals (see CC Sabathia).
Does this put the Brewers over the hump and into the World Series picture?
For that, we’ll have to tune in.
Alec Dopp is a Milwaukee Brewers featured columnist on Bleacher Report. Follow him on twitter:@doppler9000.
Ryan Braun placed on day-to-day; Brewers lose six of seven: Is there a connection?
Although it may seem like nearly a decade’s worth of achievement, leading NL vote-getter and Brewers left-fielder Ryan Braun has spent just three full seasons in Milwaukee upon being drafted back in 2005.
In fact, Braun has averaged 32 HR, 105 RBI, .307 BA and a .923 OPS from his 2007 rookie season up to the conclusion of last season — making him one of the game’s most lethal offensive threats and worthwhile talents to watch.
Some argue (myself included) Braun is more valuable to Milwaukee’s future than that of fellow superstar teammate Prince Fielder. And, judging by his contract extension (which locks Braun up through 2020), I’d say my thinking was right.
Nevertheless, it should be stated that Braun is worth every penny of his $145 million extension. But is he worth more than any other player in the National League?
It’s a question worth pondering for the simple fact that Braun is in fact the most valuable player to his respective team, based on statistical output and Milwaukee’s success without Braun in the lineup.
Here’s an interesting fact: since making his rookie debut back May of 2007, Braun has missed 25 total games. In those games, the Brewers have a combined 10-15 record, and have been outscored 114-98 in those games.
Sounds like a pretty big discrepancy, huh?
When Braun was placed on day-to-day back on July 2 for a left calf strain, the Brewers promptly lost their next two ballgames, and continued to fall back in the NL Central standings, now at 45-41 overall.
Braun addressed the media following Milwaukee’s 8-6 loss to the Diamondbacks:
“Injuries are a part of baseball. It happens sometimes,” Braun said. “Obviously I want to play, but at the same time I have to listen to what everyone else says. It’s the type of thing that you could easily re-aggravate or make far worse, and I don’t want that to happen and have to miss a couple months.”
For a Brewers in dire need for health as the season progresses, Braun’s injury should come more as a testament to the success he brings forth.
So before you crown Matt Kemp the undisputed NL MVP, consider what Braun has meant for his respective team in the long-haul.
Brewers take game two from the Cardinals, 5-3
Zack Greinke may not quite be the bona fide ace we all witnessed during his unprecedented run at the Cy Young award back in 2009, but the Milwaukee Brewers will certainly take what their offseason pickup has administered thus far in 2011.
In Milwaukee’s 5-3 victory over division rivals St. Louis Cardinals Saturday night, Greinke delivered nine strikeouts and no walks in 7.0 innings of work—improving his record to 6-1 overall in a Brewers uniform.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s overpowering offense put up eight more runs—three coming fromPrince Fielder and Rickie Weeks home runs—and drew within a half game of the NL Central-leading Cardinals.
Is this a sign of what’s to come in the prospective future?
The answer to that is a resounding “yes.”
What this means for the rest of the league is simple: The Brewers are clearly baseball’s hottest, most dangerous team thus far in 2011.
With a severely improved pitching staff loaded with reliable arms such as Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson, the Brewers are clearly the most improved team on the mound of any team from 2010.
To date, Milwaukee’s 3.60 team ERA ranks sixth overall in the National League, and their eight shutout performances ties for the most in all of baseball. Couple that with arguably baseball’s most elite offensive one-two punches (Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder) in MLB history, and the Brewers have all the proverbial pieces in place to make a deep postseason run.
Clearly, something’s going right for the Brew Crew on the mound this season—and it isn’t a coincidence by any means.
by Adam McClavy, MLB.com
This season more than ever, Miller Park has been the Brewers’ dome, sweet dome.
Rainouts are all the rage in Major League Baseball, 31 of them in a baseball season not one-third complete. At the same time last year, there were nine postponements. In all of 2010, there were only 21.
According to data provided by the Commissioner’s Office, from 2000-2010 the previous record for postponements through May 25 was 30, set in 2007, the year an Angels-Indians series was moved to Miller Park because of snow in Cleveland. The record for postponements in a season over that 11-year span is 50, set in 2004.
Albert Pujols might be slumping, but Mother Nature is working on a career year.
Even when games have been played this season, many have been miserable. In Arlington earlier this week, a Rangers-White Sox game was delayed nearly three hours by a dangerous storm that prompted Rangers officials to move fans into the service tunnel underneath the ballpark. The game eventually resumed, but didn’t end until 1:27 a.m. CT.
Ninety miles south of Milwaukee, fans at Wrigley Field shivered through mid-40s temperatures this week, and on Thursday afternoon they were greeted by a 30-mph wind blowing in during the Mets-Cubs game.
At Miller Park, under its 10.5 acre, 12,000-ton convertible roof, the weather has been just perfect.
“I know this was a big part of the stadium debate, and I know it added to the cost,” Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger said. “But I don’t see how anyone can look at this now and say the roof wasn’t a great idea.”
The roof does have something of a stormy history. Three iron workers — Jeff Wischer, William DeGrave and Jerome Starr — were killed in July 1999 when a huge crane collapsed in high winds at the Miller Park construction site. The accident delayed the ballpark’s debut until 2001, and since then, crews have had to fix the system of flaps that keep the playing surface dry. During the 2006-07 offseason, crews replaced the bogeys with which the five massive, movable panels open and close.
But on an otherwise miserable Wednesday in Milwaukee, Zack Greinke pitched and homered his way to a sweep-clinching win over the Nationals inside the dome, and the Brewers were happy to have a roof over their heads.
Here are three reasons why:
1. It’s good for the pitchers
Pitching coach Rick Kranitz had the same job with the Florida Marlins in 2006, when right-hander Josh Johnson was a promising rookie with a 12-7 record and a 3.10 ERA. Johnson’s season ended Sept. 12, and Mother Nature may have been partly to blame.
Johnson resumed pitching after an 82-minute delay but exited after the fifth inning with a sore elbow. Less than a year later, he needed Tommy John surgery, and it wasn’t until 2009 that he logged a full season in the big leagues and emerged as an ace.
“You never know what triggers it when a guy gets hurt, but you can’t rule out that it was because he stopped and then [came back] and pitched,” Kranitz said.
Johnson represents the extreme case. But even a routine rain delay can wreak havoc on a pitching staff.
Shaun Marcum has made most of his starts in domes, with Toronto from 2005-10 and now with Milwaukee. In May 2008, he was part of a manager’s worst-case scenario, a game that begins, lasts only one inning and then is delayed by rain.
Marcum pitched the first inning that day, and then he was done. The Blue Jays had to empty their bullpen.
“I’ve been blessed to have a dome in both places,” said Marcum, who will start Friday night against Tim Lincecum and the Giants. “As players, you love that feeling of knowing you’re going to play. We have so few off-days, and you hate to lose them later in the season [when make-up games are scheduled].”
Kranitz knows that feeling from his two seasons as the pitching coach in Florida, where rain is a threat nearly every afternoon. The good thing there, he said, was that the weather forecasts were so precise he could plan accordingly. It was tougher in Chicago, where Kranitz was an assistant pitching coach for the Cubs from 1996-98 and 2000-01.
Each day, he would look up at the skies to see what his pitcher would be contending with. The conditions would help determine the game plan.
Not at Miller Park.
“When this is what you do for a living, it’s huge to know you’re going to play every day, you’re not going to have rain delays and the conditions are going to be about the same,” Kranitz said. “You can get into your routine every day and know you’re going to play. We have it good here.”
2. It’s good for the hitters
Ryan Braun had 105 million reasons to sign a contract extension last month that will keep him in a Brewers uniform through at least 2020. But beyond the dollars, Braun pointed to the ballpark itself as a reason he wanted to stay.
“This past road trip,” he said then, referring to a soggy trek through Pittsburgh, Washington and Philadelphia, “we dealt with rain almost every day, and I think that realizing that we’re never going to get rained out or have a rain delay, fans not having to worry about driving three hours and then dealing with a rainout and having to drive back home [is important]. There are so many things here that just really make this a special place.”
The dome means that if the Brewers want to take batting practice on the field, they can take batting practice on the field. During that East Coast trip, they were mostly banished to the batting cages.
It also means favorable in-game conditions, unlike the days at County Stadium, where Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Gorman Thomas had to bundle up in April and sometimes in May. The chilly early-season conditions were part of what made County Stadium a pitcher’s park, but Miller Park most definitely favors the hitters.
The Brewers have baseball’s best home batting average at .291 and the best OPS at .860. It’s one reason the team is 19-6 at home this season, the best mark in the National League.
Braun & Co. will put a nine-game home winning streak to the test on Friday night against Lincecum and the World Series champion Giants.
3. It’s good for business
General manager Doug Melvin uses Miller Park to draw players, touting the roof in a letter he sends to free agents of interest each winter. Schlesinger uses it to draw fans, and he is still bullish on the idea of reaching the three-million mark in attendance in 2011.
Group sales account for about 600,000 tickets each season, Schlesinger said, and the Brewers consistently rank in baseball’s top five in that category. They can outdraw much larger metropolitan markets because guaranteed games mean the club can market itself throughout Wisconsin, and school kids in La Crosse or a civic group in Green Bay can bus to Milwaukee knowing they won’t be rained out.
Schlesinger calls it, “a huge advantage.” Braun just calls it fun.
“To be in one of the smallest markets in baseball and be able to have three million people come see us play every year, it’s incredible,” Braun said. “It’s special to me, it’s special to all of us and it makes it easy for me to want to stay here and to want to be a part of this organization going forward for the rest of my career.”
If Schlesinger had his way, every stadium would have a roof. The Brewers benefit from large crowds in the other 29 markets because they are a recipient of revenue sharing dollars.
Rainouts cost those teams in the form of lost concession revenue and staffing in addition to tickets. All told, a rainout of a well-attended weekend game can cost a club $1 million, Schlesinger said.
“We could have had four, five, six rainouts already, and some of those games are never made up,” Schlesinger said. “Without the roof, it’s a much different business model for us, a much bigger challenge.
“[Weather] makes for added stress for everybody. We are so privileged not to have to worry about it.”
by Adam McClavy, MLB.com
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke felt an unfortunate sense of déjà vu on Thursday night.
“I’ve seen a lot of these games,” Roenicke said. “Whether it’s on the road or not, a lot of these games.”
The Brewers are just not the same team on the road as the one that slugs its way to wins at Miller Park. And after scoring five times to win the opener of this brief, two-game series, the hitters slipped back into their inexplicable away-game funk, going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in a 1-0 loss to the Padres at PETCO Park that was decided in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Orlando Hudson, fresh off the 15-day disabled list, won the game after a single, a stolen base, an intentional walk and a sacrifice bunt pushed the winning run to third base with one out. After another intentional walk loaded the bases, the Brewers employed the same five-man infield alignment they tried last month in Washington, but Hudson lined a first-pitch changeup for a sacrifice fly to right field.
That piece of hitting beat right-hander Marco Estrada (1-2), who joined the Brewers in early April as Zack Greinke’s fill-in and has remained because he’s so effective in relief.
“What are you going to do?” asked Estrada, who surrendered only one hit in the inning.
Before Estrada took the mound, the Brewers squandered one final scoring opportunity. It came via hard-nosed catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who threw up his left hand while sliding into second base to break up the Padres’ double-play turn. Credit Craig Counsell, who had hit the ground ball to second, for seeing the ball deflect off Lucroy’s hand and scuttling to second base, giving the Brewers one last opportunity to put up a run with a clutch hit.
Pinch-hitter Yuniesky Betancourt didn’t last long. He swung at the first pitch from Padres closer Heath Bell, a breaking ball, and hit a routine grounder to second base.
“We had chances to win that game today,” Roenicke said. “Sometimes you look at games [like Wednesday's], and you think you’re going to get it going. Early on, we had people on base. We just didn’t get them in.”
The Brewers lost the game, and lost their left fielder in the fifth inning. Ryan Braun made an early exit after an inning-ending popout, and two innings later, the club offered a vague diagnosis: left shoulder soreness. Braun, who has started all 44 of the team’s games this season, said the injury was probably not serious, but he was unsure whether he’d play against the Rockies on Friday night.
Lucroy was examined by the training staff, too, and said he would be fine.
The real pain is being felt by the Brewers’ offense, at least on the road. They are the best hitting team at home in baseball, but went 6-for-43 in the clutch during their four-game West Coast road trip, and are 12-for-101 in their last 14 road games.
Braun was in no mood to discuss the team’s road woes.
“You just keep moving forward. Never look back,” he said. “It does us no good. You can’t go back to change anything, so you keep moving forward.”
The Brewers were blanked through eight innings by Padres starter Aaron Harang, who owned an 8.46 ERA and had surrendered seven home runs in his previous four starts — three of them at pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. He held the Brewers to five singles and a Prince Fielder double, working around two walks and striking out four in his best start this season. He threw only 98 pitches, 10 of them to the second batter of the game, Corey Hart, who worked a walk.
It should have been a good matchup for Milwaukee. Harang, the former Cincinnati Reds right-hander, was 0-2 with a 7.91 ERA in his previous five games (four starts) against the Brewers since the start of the 2009 season.
But he was tough from the start on Thursday. Hart worked his 10-pitch walk with one out in the first inning, and moved to third on a single by Braun, who stole second base. That gave the Brewers runners at second and third with one out, but Fielder popped a 1-and-0 pitch to shortstop, and Casey McGehee hit an inning-ending comebacker to Harang.
The Brewers had three more opportunities for a clutch hit in the fourth inning, after Fielder scalded a leadoff double. McGehee grounded out to shortstop, freezing Fielder, before Mark Kotsay grounded out to first base and Lucroy flied out to center field.
In the fifth, it was Braun’s turn. But he flied out to right field with runners at first and second and two outs, and then left the game with his shoulder injury.
The Brewers’ continued road slump wasted left-hander Chris Narveson’s best start of the season. He scattered four hits and one harmless walk in 7 1/3 scoreless innings, with four strikeouts.
“Baseball goes like that,” Narveson said. “One swing different for us, one swing for them, and it could have easily been the game. We had opportunities, and they had opportunities, too.”
“It was really the first time I’ve seen [Narveson], but I was very impressed by his changeup,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “I think that was a key, and that he kept the ball down. They’ve got the makings of a good rotation over there.”
by Jon Star, MLB.com
The D-backs found the right formula to cool off a hot Padres offense in San Diego’s final game of an eight-game road trip on Tuesday night. Now, the Padres head home, where any positive streak has been hard to come by.
San Diego welcomes the Brewers, who also were halted on Tuesday night, snapping their four-game winning streak. Both teams will look to start new streaks Wednesday, but victory for either team could be determined by the production of Jason Bartlett.
By recording a first-inning sacrifice fly on Tuesday, Bartlett tied a franchise record with an RBI in his ninth consecutive game, a feat shared by Sixto Lezcano (1982) and Steve Finley (1996). It is the longest streak since Jorge Cantu notched an RBI in 14 consecutive games spanning the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Marlins.
Bartlett’s streak is part of a warming trend that has consumed much of the Padres’ lineup. Before Tuesday’s 6-1 loss to Arizona, the Padres scored seven or more runs in five consecutive games for only the third time in franchise history. It was an important turnaround for a club that ranked last in the National League in runs scored for much of the season.
Yet, while the offensive output is a welcome development, Padres manager Bud Black won’t just rely on the bats. He wants to see his team continue to put pressure on opposing pitchers and that means stealing bases. Entering Wednesday, the Padres lead the NL with 45 steals.
“[Last season] if we didn’t score, we pitched so well that the other team didn’t score, either, so we were still able to do some things that we wanted to do offensively, especially with our basestealers,” Black said.
A bigger concern for Black may be his club’s futility at home. Coming off a 4-4 road trip, the Padres return to PETCO Park, where they are 7-14. But Black doesn’t believe location should make a difference when it comes to producing.
“Through April, we weren’t swinging the bats the way we are swinging in May and that’s the bottom line,” Black said. “It didn’t matter where we were. We still have to play good baseball no matter where we play, regardless if it’s home or on the road.”
Yovani Gallardo (4-2, 4.88 ERA) will be tasked with continuing the Padres’ home woes. The right-hander has won each of his last two starts, limiting the opposition to two earned runs on six hits over 14 innings. If there was one area of concern for Gallardo, it is his walk total. Gallardo issued seven free passes during his last two starts, and battled through a 30-pitch second inning in his previous start against the Pirates.
“I lost my rhythm a little bit [in the long second inning] but I was able to get out of it with no runs on the board,” Gallardo said of his last start. “I gave our team a chance to score first, and that’s what happened.”
Nevertheless, the right-hander should feel a measure of comfort in PETCO Park. Gallardo tossed seven innings of one-run ball with 11 strikeouts in his lone start there on May 1, 2010. Overall, Gallardo is 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA against the Padres.
Brewers: Duo’s damage
May started out very quietly both for the Brewers and their biggest sluggers in Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Milwaukee dropped five in a row to begin the month and seven of 10, before winning four of their last five games. Fielder and Braun have contributed to the turnaround. Since May 10, the pair has combined to go 16-for-52 with four home runs and 15 RBIs. The production comes after Fielder and Braun combined to go 7-for-64 with a solo home run (Fielder’s) from May 1-9. Despite their slow start to May, Braun and Fielder have combined for 65 RBIs, leading all National League tandems.
Padres: Maybin’s May
The Padres’ scoring has jumped over the last week and much of that can be attributed to Cameron Maybin’s surge during the month. The center fielder has recorded two four-hit games in the last week and is 12-for-25 (.480) in that span, including a multi-home run game on May 13. The stretch has boosted his batting average 51 points. He has hit safely in 12 of his last 16 games (20-for-60) and has crossed the plate 12 times in the span. One element that has disappeared from Maybin’s game this month is the stolen base. Maybin has not attempted to steal a base in May after recording six steals in eight attempts in April.
The Padres have played 25 games decided by two runs or fewer. San Diego went 11-14 in those games, including a 5-7 record in one-run games