Postgame thoughts: Rivera, Fielder, Lopez
Some quick hits after a long game:
– The fans who have been pining for Brewers backup catcher Mike Rivera to start more often will get their wish on Friday. Manager Ken Macha intends to start Rivera for a second straight game when Yovani Gallardo takes the mound against the Astros at Miller Park.
And why not? Rivera, who has been with the Brewers all season but only had 63 at-bats before Thursday, belted a pair of home runs and drove in four as Milwaukee beat up on, then held off the Padres to salvage a win in the series finale. Macha wouldn’t commit past Friday, but the sense was that Rivera, who provides some pop to an offense that, outside of Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron has little, could see more playing time over the final six weeks.
“It’s great,” Rivera said. “I’ve been waiting for this for two years so I’m trying to do my best every time that I’m out there.”
– Speaking of Fielder, he joined Rivera in Thursday’s multi-home run club but wouldn’t emerge from the dining room — off-limits to reporters — to talk about his big day. It would be too bad if last week’s Dodger Stadium experience prompts Fielder to shut out the media.
– Felipe Lopez was just as difficult to locate, but Macha will be seeking him out on Friday. Lopez forgot his fundamentals and dropped what should have been an inning-ending pop-up in the eighth on Thursday, which in turn forced the Brewers to use closer Trevor Hoffman in what once had been a 9-0 game. Macha was similarly puzzled on Tuesday, when Lopez — who, in his defense, has made some terriffic plays at second base and has also been playing through some hamstring issues — couldn’t get to a pair of ground balls.
“One thing about our players is they run every ball out hard, for the most part,” Macha said. “There are a few lapses. That will be a topic of discussion, probably, tomorrow.”
Lopez declined to answer questions on Tuesday. On Thursday, a club official could not find him in the clubhouse.