Lopez atones: Hustle sets tone for Brewers rout

On Wednesday, Brewers second baseman Felipe Lopez drew boos from the Miller Park after dropping what should have been an inning-ending pop-up. Two days before that, he let two ground balls get by. A little more than a week before that, he failed to run hard to first base.

On Thursday, Lopez’s hustle was perhaps the key to the Brewers’ blowout win.

Lopez beat out a ground ball to first base leading off the bottom of the first inning and his dash sparked an eight-run inning. Had Lopez not hustled out of the box, Ryan Braun’s home run two batters later would have been a solo shot, and Prince Fielder’s strikeout that followed would have ended the inning with the Brewers ahead, 1-0. Instead, the two batters following Fielder worked walks and the Brewers went on to open an 8-0 lead against Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.

“Everybody got excited,” Lopez said. “It kind of gave everybody a little energy, and that’s nice.”

Brewers manager Ken Macha had a brief — very brief — chat with Lopez before batting practice on Friday and essentially reminded the player to hustle. Was that in the back of Lopez’s mind in the first inning?

“No,” Lopez said, “because what we talk about stays in here. We just go out and perform.”

What did Macha think?

“[The chat] probably had no effect. No effect at all,” Macha said. “When he came in, everybody was saying, ‘Way to hustle.’ That maybe put a little underline, that’s all. He came out and played a good game today. That comes from within him. He did a good job, set the tone, and we ended up with eight runs in that inning.”

1 Comment

Hey Adam (and anyone else who read my response to ‘Is Lopez playing Hurt?)
* I apologize for the harsh judgments I’d make on Felipe. I made him out to be someone he isn’t. After reading a related blog by Jesse Sanchez, and a subsequent piece the Washington Post, I wish I could apologize to him, too. I didn’t know what he’s gone through to go out on the field everyday, and he’s been through a lot. It isn’t wrong to doubt someone who plays such solid ball when it seems he’s purposely trying to ruin the team, and I don’t think it’s wrong to have felt angry with him. But, even though I’m just posting on a forum, I feel it’s important to post responsibly – pointed criticism when you don’t like what someone is doing, be it the manager’s line-up, errors, attitude of players, ownership jabs…that’s natural fan reaction. Responses should be based on how you feel. And sometimes you just can’t keep it nice and keep it objective. That’s baseball, a sport that can pull many emotional triggers.
Normally, I try to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I do this quite a bit when players are struggling or when I’m trying to put a human face on a manger (gulp) – even umpires.

I don’t feel justified saying that a player is sabotaging a game or that they are shady etc… better to just discuss it with a friend and ‘postulate’. Not put it on a blog people check every day! That isn’t my place. Finally, one phrase -an oft-used cliche I used – “Clubhouse Poison” – I’d rather use the cliche elsewhere.

He(Lopez) has had a hard life. The next time I’m really angry at a player like I was, I’ll stay away from the keyboard for awhile!

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