April 2010

Kottaras, Hart back in lineup

With lefties taking the mound on both sides, Jim Edmonds and Gregg Zaun will take a seat tonight in favor of Corey Hart and George Kottaras in right field and at catcher, respectively.

The right-handed Hart gets the nod over Edmonds, a lefty, with left-handed pitcher Ted Lilly making his 2010 debut for the Cubs tonight. Kottaras will start behind the plate for the Brewers to catch Brewers lefty Doug Davis.
Here’s the lineup:
Rickie Weeks   2B
Carlos Gomez   CF
Ryan Braun   LF
Prince Fielder   1B
Casey McGehee   3B
Corey Hart   RF
Alcides Escobar   SS
George Kottaras   C
Doug Davis   LHP
— Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter


Upon further review, still a double

Prince Fielder thought he had his second home run of the season. The umpires ruled otherwise, even after a second look. 
Crew chief John Hirschbeck gathered his crew Friday for a video review of Fielder’s first-inning fly ball to center field, which struck the top of the wall and bounced back into play. The baseball appeared to disappear for a moment, but after reviewing the video the original call stood: Double. 
Casey McGehee followed with an inning-ending groundout that stranded Fielder at second base and Ryan Braun at third. The Cubs headed into the second inning with a 2-0 lead.  
It marked the sixth time that Major League Baseball’s replay review system was utilized in a game involving the Brewers and the first time that the original call stood. It was the fourth use of instant replay at Miller Park, and the first since a home run by the Astros’ Geoff Blum was changed to a foul ball last Aug. 16.  
Date               Batter                    Original call    Ruling
May 13, 2009   Ross Gload, FLA    home run          foul ball
July 29, 2009    Ryan Braun, MIL     home run         triple
Aug. 16, 2009   Geoff Blum, HOU    home run         foul ball
April 23, 2010   Prince Fielder, MIL  double             double
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Bad blood between Brewers, Bucs?

Brewers manager Ken Macha said he didn’t appreciate the up-and-in pitch from Pirates starter Zach Duke that struck Rickie Weeks in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh. 
It was a 1-and-2 offering, but it also came immediately after Brewers pinch-hitter Jody Gerut delivered a pinch-hit, two-run home run that gave Milwaukee a 7-0 lead. 
“To throw at somebody’s face, I don’t think that was very good,” Macha said. “I don’t know if he did or not. I can’t determine what the intention is. But I kind of took exception to it, and Rickie did, too. 
“They were hitting Prince [Fielder] last year, and now they’re hitting Rickie. Those are the wrong guys to be hitting, I’ll say that. I would pick somebody else out.” 
Fielder and Weeks have each been plunked five times this season, and Ryan Braun once. Brewers pitchers, meanwhile, have only struck four opposing batters. 
“We don’t budge,” Macha said. “Prince doesn’t budge. He hangs in there. Pitchers are trying to back him off the plate, but he’s not backing off. Consequently, you get hit.” 
Weeks got some payback the day after Duke’s plunking by scoring four times in the Brewers’ historic 20-0 win. 
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Edmonds starts again

Coming off a four-hit game against the Pirates, Jim Edmonds is back in the Brewers’ lineup for the opener of a three-game series against the Cubs. Chicago righty and longtime Brewer-killer Ryan Dempster will have to contend with a Milwaukee club that has scored 47 runs during its four-game winning streak. 

(One more Edmonds note: His four hits on Thursday matched a career-high. It was the 21st four-hit game of his career and his first since April 2007, against the Brewers for the Cardinals.)
Here’s the lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Carlos Gomez  CF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Jim Edmonds  RF
Gregg Zaun  C
Alcides Escobar  SS
Jeff Suppan  RHP
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Rewriting the record book

The Brewers’ 20-0 win over the Pirates on Thursday was historic, and the kind of game that produces statistical oddities long after it’s over. (Here’s one I have not had a chance to look up yet — Had Trevor Hoffman ever worked with anything even close to a 20-run lead?) 
I compiled some of the numbers last night, and added one note this morning to reflect the largest three-game series blowout (36-1) in the National League in 109 years, since the Brooklyn Dodgers posted wins by scores of 25-6, 16-2, and 9-2 over the Reds at League Park in Cincinnati in 1901. That’s a 40-run margin, for those scoring at home. Thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau for that one. 
Here are some more notes courtesy of Brewers unofficial historian Mario Ziino:
Fewest Runs Allowed – 3-Game Series (1)
April 20-22, 2010 at Pittsburgh: 8-1, 8-0, 20-0
Previous record of 2 runs allowed: 
– July 5-7, 2004 vs Cubs: 1-0, 4-2, 4-0
– Sept. 22-24, 1992 vs Angels: 3-2, 3-0, 4-0
– May 26-28, 1980 vs Mariners: 11-1,4-1,7-0
– May 23,25, 1980 vs Twins: 5-0, 4-0, 3-2
– September 26-28, 1975 vs Tigers: 3-0, 5-2, 7-0
Most Runs scored by Brewers in a 3-Game Series
40 – June 29-July 1, 1999 vs Cubs, 17-6, 4-5, 19-12
40 – April 7-9, 1978 vs Orioles, 11-3, 16-3, 13-5
36 – April 20-22, 2010 at Pittsburgh, 8-1, 8-0, 20-0
35 – Sept. 12-15, 1998 at Cubs, 13-11, 12-15, 10-11
32 – July 15-17, 1996 vs Tigers, 9-10, 20-7, 3-2
31 – July 6-8,1990 vs Angels, 8-9, 3-4, 20-7
31 – April 7-9, 1978 at Blue Jays, 15-4, 2-3, 14-5
30 – June 15-17, 2009 at Indians, 14-12, 7-5, 9-8
30 – April 14-16, 1990 at Red Sox, 9-5, 3-4, 18-0
30 – May 30-June 1, 1980 at Red Sox, 3-5, 19-8, 8-5
Back-to-back Shutout Victories in a single series Series (starter in parentheses)
April 21 and 22, 2010 at Pittsburgh: 8-0 (Gallardo), 20-0 (Wolf)
June 5 and 6, 2009 at Atlanta: 4-0 (Gallardo), 3-0 (Suppan)
August 8 and 9, 2008 at Washington: 5-0 (Sabathia), 6-0 (Sheets)
September 17 and 18, 1993 vs Baltimore: 2-0 (Eldred), 3-0 (Miranda)
September 23 and 24, 1992 vs Angels: 3-0 (Eldred), 4-0 (Bosio)
April 20 and 21, 1990 vs Boston: 4-0 (Filer), 2-0 (Higuera)
April 27 and 28, 1984 at Yankees: 12-0 (Caldwell), 8-0 (Porter)
August 24 and 25, 1983 vs California: 1-0 (Slaton), 7-0 (Candiotti)
August 5 and 6, 1983 vs Blue Jays: 7-0 (Haas), 3-0 (Porter)
May 23 and 24, 1980 vs Minnesota: 5-0 (Travers), 4-0 (Haas)
September 11 and 12, 1979 vs Oakland: 5-0 (Slaton), 7-0 (Caldwell)
Sept 8 and 9, 1978 at Minnesota: 3-0 (Replogle), 3-0 (Caldwell)
August 29 and 31 (G1), 1978 at Cleveland: 6-0 (Replogle), 1-0 (Caldwell)
July 28 and 29, 1971 vs Red Sox: 5-0 (Slaton), 3-0 (Pattin)
May 22 and 23, 1971 at Royals: 12-0 (Pattin), 4-0 (Parsons)
And if the Brewers can shutout the Cubs tonight… 
Three Straight Shutout Wins
April 19, 1990 vs Texas: 11-0 (Bosio)
April 20, 1990 vs Boston: 5-0 (Filer)
April 21, 1990 vs Boston: 2-0 (Higuera)
Most Brewers Hits In A Game          
August 28, 1992 at Toronto Blue Jays: 31 hits in 22-2  W
April 22, 2010 at Pittsburgh Pirates: 25 hits in 20-0  W
July 8, 1993 vs Minnesota Twins:  23 hits in 15-3  W
June 10, 2007 at Texas Rangers: 22 hits in 9-6 W
May 15, 2001 at Philadelphia Phillies: 22 hits in 14-10 W
April 2, 1996 at California Angels: 22 hits in 15-9 W
June 14, 1992 at Seattle Mariners: 22 hits in 14-4 W
July 28, 1991 at Minnesota Twins: 22 hits in 11-2  W
April 18, 1983 at Boston Red Sox: 22 hits in 14-0  W
May 31, 1980 at Boston Red Sox: 22 hits in 19-8  W
Largest winning Margin
April 22, 2010: At Pittsburgh Pirates, 20-0
August 28, 1992: At Toronto Blue Jays, 22-2
And one more…
Thursday marked the sixth time in club history the Brewers scored 19 or more runs in a game…in each of the previous five outbursts, the club followed the next day with a victory.
August 28, 1992 – 22-2 W at Toronto
August 29, 1992 – 7-3 W at Toronto
July 8, 1990 – 20-7 W vs California
July 9, 1990 – 12-9 W at Chicago
July 16, 1996 – 20-7 W vs Detroit
July 17, 1996 – 3-2 W vs Detroit
July 1, 1999 – 19-12 W at Chicago
July 2, 1999 – 5-2 W at Pittsburgh
May 31, 1980 – 19-8 W at Boston
June 1, 1980 – 8-5 W at Boston
Thanks to Mario for those tidbits. 
And here’s one more, courtesy of @Tkdfool on Twitter: The Brewers had 12 extra-base hits on Thursday (seven doubles, one triple, four homers), tying the club record. They also had 12 extra-base hits on on May 15, 2001 at Philadelphia (though that was a 10-inning game) and on July 6, 2008 at, you guessed it, Pittsburgh.
I’m sure there are many more facts and figures to be had. If you have found any, post them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list. 
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Back at it

After a short night’s sleep the Brewers were back at PNC Park this morning for the finale of a three-game series against the Pirates. Some of us in the traveling party wondered last night whether this might be an opportunity to get bench players like Joe Inglett and Jody Gerut into the starting lineup before the Brewers return to Miller Park for a weeklong homestand, and the answer this morning is no. 

George Kottaras is in there, though, to handle lefty Randy Wolf. Here is the rest of the lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Carlos Gomez  CF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Jim Edmonds  RF
George Kottaras  C
Alcides Escobar  SS
Randy Wolf LHP
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Escobar is a triple threat

Obscure record alert: Rookie shortstop Alcides Escobar hustled his way to the 17th two-triple game in Brewers history on Wednesday night. 
The speedy Escobar tripled into the left field corner in the fifth inning and sent another triple to right-center field in the sixth. Both times he trotted the final 90 feet on home runs as the Brewers built a 7-0 lead by the end of their half of the sixth inning. 
According to the site baseball-reference.com, Escobar was the first Brewer to hit two triples in a game since Geoff Jenkins on April 6, 2004 against the Cardinals. Fernando Vina, Paul Molitor and Rick Manning had two, two-triple games each. The only other Brewers shortstop to log two triples in a game was Jose Valentin, in game one of a doubleheader on Sept. 29, 1999 against the Pirates. 
Other Brewers who tripled twice in the same game: Darryl Hamilton, Tom Brunansky, Franklin Stubbs, Robin Yount, Randy Ready, Ted Simmons, Ben Oglivie and Ted Savage. The first Brewer to triple twice in a game was savage in the team’s inaugural 1970 season in Milwaukee. 
Escobar already has three triples this season. The Brewers rookie record for triples is eight, by Bob Coluccio in 1973 and Scott Podsednik in 2003. 

More triples trivia, courtesy of baseball-reference.com: Escobar is the second player this season to leg out a pair of triples in one game. Curtis Granderson of the Yankees was the first, on April 15 against the Angels. 

ince 1920, the record for triples in a regular season game is three, a mark shared by 28 players including Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Roberto ClementeJoe DiMaggio, Charlie Gehringer, Jim Bottomley, Earle Combs and Ross Youngs. The last player to hit three triples in a game was Rafael Furcal, then of the Braves, in April 2002. 
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Fielder frustrated by home run drought?

It’s become an annual rite of spring for the Brewers: Prince Fielder’s power drought. 

The perennially April-challenged slugger is once again deep into the month and still looking for his first home run. Fielder was homerless in 49 regular season at-bats entering Wednesday’s game against the Pirates and quickly approaching the longest drought of his career. In 2008, coming off a 50-homer season, Fielder did not hit his first until his 54th at-bat. 
“I’ve seen him much worse,” Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. “The problem is that he’s just ticked off now.”
Now Fielder may also be hurting. His left hand was under a thick wrap on Wednesday afternoon and Fielder did not take batting practice, though he was in the lineup as usual against the Pirates. Fielder declined to discuss the cause of his “injury.”
“It’s fine,” Fielder said before heading back to the clubhouse. 
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Gomez returns to lineup

Pretty standard stuff from manager Ken Macha, who returned Carlos Gomez to the lineup for Game 2 of the Brewers’ series in Pittsburgh. Hart remains in right field because the Brewers are facing a left-hander, Pittsburgh’s Zach Duke.

Rickie Weeks  2B
Carlos Gomez  CF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Corey Hart  RF
Gregg Zaun  C
Alcides Escobar  SS
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
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Kyles turned to Reds' Baker for support

Stan Kyles was “in shock” when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February. One of his first telephone calls was to Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, who battled the disease in 2001. 
“He went through the same kind of thing and had a similar surgery, but it’s so much more advanced now,” Kyles said. “He said he was down about six weeks, but I’m looking to return sooner than that.”
Kyles, like Baker, detected the cancer very early. Kyles underwent a physical exam before Spring Training with his personal physician that included a PSA test. He later underwent a biopsy and learned the result about a week into Spring Training. 
The Brewers announced on Tuesday that Kyles would leave the team beginning Friday to return home to Spartanburg, S.C. for prostate surgery. The procedure is scheduled for April 29 and Kyles’ recovery is expected to span four to six weeks. 
Class A Brevard County pitching coach Fred Dabney was promoted on an interim basis to fill the vacancy in the Brewers’ bullpen. He arrived Tuesday and will spend the next three days working alongside Kyles. 
“The more I started seeing other doctors, the more reassured I was that we caught it early and the prognosis is good,” Kyles said. “I’m looking forward to getting it past me and rejoining the team. 
True to his soft-spoken nature, Kyles kept the diagnosis mostly private, telling his wife, Monica, and son, Marques, a college senior. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash knew, as did manager Ken Macha and Kyles’ fellow coaches. 
He did not tell Brewers players until Sunday in Washington D.C.
“It’s just another thing to show you that baseball is only a small part of the picture,” said Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins, whose grandfather, Eddie Williams, underwent surgery for prostate cancer and is doing well today at age 87. 
“Baseball isn’t all that important when you’re talking about [cancer],” Hawkins said. “That’s the last thing you want to hear, but Stan reassured us that he is going to recover it and be back here cracking jokes as soon as possible.”
Kyles has a good reason to get back on his feet quickly. Marques graduates from college on May 6.
“I’m looking forward to getting this stuff behind me,” Kyles said.