May 2011

Greinke vs. Reineke in tongue-twister

It’s Zack Greinke vs. the Reds’ Chad Reineke in Game 2 of this series at Great American Ball Park, a chance for the Brewers to break a five-game skid here that dates to last season. Nyjer Morgan gets the start in center field against Reineke, a right-hander, and Corey Hart is apparently feeling well enough to start again.

Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Nyjer Morgan CF
Zack Greinke RHP

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Hart back as Brewers try to reverse Reds curse

The Brewers have a chance to exercise some demons tonight at Great American Ball Park, where they are 1-11 over their last 12 games including three losses in a season-opening sweep to the Reds. They’ve struggled to win anywhere away from Miller Park, going 8-17 so far to tie the Astros for the National League’s poorest road record.

The Brewers are simply not the same team when they leave Milwaukee. They are batting .220 on the road versus .288 at home, have scored 2.8 runs on the road versus 5.5 runs at home, have hit 40 home runs at home versus 16 on the road, and have committed 10 errors at home versus 16 on the road.

Perhaps that split will narrow beginning tonight. Here are the lineups:

BREWERS
Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Carlos Gomez CF
Chris Narveson LHP

REDS
Chris Heisey CF
Brandon Phillips 2B
Joey Votto 1B
Scott Rolen 3B
Jay Bruce RF
Jonny Gomes LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Paul Janish SS
Travis Wood LHP

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Red-hot Brewers aim to end road woes

The Brewers are rolling, coming off an 8-1 homestand and a 15-4 stretch. They’ve gone from six games under .500 to five games over, at 29-24. And they’ve gained on the National League Central-leading Cardinals, surging from fifth place and 5 1/2 games back to second place and 2 1/2 games out of first.

But 15 of the Brewers’ last 19 games have come at Miller Park, where the Brewers are the NL’s best home team. On the road, they are tied with the Astros as the league’s worst road team, at 8-17, and a seven-game trip to Cincinnati and Florida will test whether the Brewers have turned a corner.

“I think we have to get away from talking about being home and on the road,” third baseman Casey McGehee said. “Yeah, we’ve played good ball and we’ve happened to be at home while we’ve done it. But now we’ve got a road trip that isn’t going to be an easy one by any stretch of the imagination. If we go out and play the same baseball we’ve played here, there’s no reason we can’t pick up some more wins on the road.”

The team’s strange home/road split, McGehee insisted, is not an issue on players’ minds.

“I think we’re just concerned about playing good baseball,” he said. “Whether it’s Milwaukee or Cincinnati or Cuba, we have to play good ball.”

The trip begins with a Memorial Day game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. The Brewers were swept there in the season-opening series.

“You’ve seen the struggles we’ve had in the road, but that’s in the past and we still have from here on out,” second baseman Rickie Weeks said. “We didn’t have a great time [in Cincinnati] last time, but that’s the baseball season. We go back there a couple more times, anyway, so we have to try to turn some things around.”

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Still no Hart for homestand finale

The Brewers finish their successful homestand today without right fielder Corey Hart, who wasn’t even at Miller Park for the conclusion of Saturday’s game because he was so ill. We’ll see what manager Ron Roenicke is willing to divulge about Hart; he was hesitant to say much yesterday because he wants the Giants to believe Hart is a threat off the bench.

Nyjer Morgan is in center field, and Audrey Snyder will write later today about how Roenicke will split time between his center fielders now that Morgan and Carlos Gomez are both available to play.

Here’s the full lineup:

Rickie Weeks 2B
Nyjer Morgan CF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Mark Kotsay RF
Jonathan Lucroy C
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Yovani Gallardo RHP

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Hart missing from starting lineup

The Brewers’ outfield has a different look this afternoon. Right fielder Corey Hart is out of the Brewers’ lineup due to illness though manager Ron Roenicke told Hart to report before game time in hopes the outfielder would be available.

Nyjer Morgan will takes Hart’s starting position in right field while Carlos Gomez is back in center. Morgan earned his first start since coming off the DL Friday night when he went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Gomez’ only action in Friday’s loss to the Giants was as a pinch runner in the ninth inning for Mark Kotsay.

Here are this afternoon’s lineups:

Brewers:

Rickie Weeks 2B

Carlos Gomez CF

Ryan Braun LF

Prince Fielder 1B

Casey McGehee 3B

Yuniesky Betancourt SS

Wil Nieves C

Nyjer Morgan RF

Randy Wolf LHP

 

Giants:

Aaron Rowand CF

Freddy Sanchez 2B

Pat Burrell LF

Cody Ross RF

Aubrey Huff 1B

Miguel Tejada 3B

Emmanuel Burriss SS

Eli Whiteside C

Jonathan Sanchez LHP

-Audrey Snyder

Boggs stays; now Rivera’s turn to choose

Instead of testing free agency, outfielder Brandon Boggs decided once again to stick with the Brewers.

Boggs accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Nashville on Friday, two days after the Brewers removed him from the 25- and 40-man rosters to make room for infielder Josh Wilson. It was Boggs’ third such outright in the past three months, and all three times he had the right to decline and enter free agency. All three times, he accepted.

If you think about it, it’s probably a good decision. Every time the Brewers have needed an extra outfielder, they’ve called on Boggs. He likely concluded that he had a better chance of seeing the Majors over the final four months of the season with the Brewers than with another club.

(Remember Luis Cruz? He’d be in a Brewers uniform tonight had he not declined his own outright assignment at the end of Spring Training. Instead, he’s having a nice year for Texas’ Triple-A club.)

Catcher Mike Rivera now faces the same decision after he was sent outright to Nashville on Friday. The Brewers needed the roster spot for Nyjer Morgan’s return from the disabled list.

Rivera has been previously outrighted, so like Boggs and Cruz he has the right to decline the assignment. But he’s expected to accept. Players must wait at least 24 hours before formally deciding, and have up to three days.

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Morgan in, Rivera out

The Brewers just activated outfielder Nyjer Morgan from the 15-day disabled list after about three weeks lost to a fractured left middle finger. Morgan is in the lineup tonight playing center field and is batting eighth. To clear a spot on the 25-man roster, the team outrighted one of its three catchers, Mike Rivera, to Triple-A Nashville. I’m not sure yet whether Rivera has the right to refuse.

And, for those who missed the team’s other recent moves, infielder Josh Wilson will be in uniform tonight after he was claimed off waivers Wednesday from Arizona. To clear 25- and 40-man spots for Wilson, the team outrighted outfielder Brandon Boggs to Nashville.

In the end, the Brewers finally have a standard roster, with five starting pitchers, seven relievers, two catchers, six infielders and five outfielders.

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The Brewers welcome the Giants to town for a three-game series and here’s tonight’s starting lineup:

Giants:

CF Andres Torres

2B Freddy Sanchez

LF Pat Burrell

1B Aubrey Huff

RF Nate Schierholtz

3B Miguel Tejada

SS Brandon Crawford

C Eli Whiteside

RHP Tim Lincecum

Brewers:

2B Rickie Weeks

RF Corey Hart

LF Ryan Braun

1B Prince Fielder

3B Casey McGehee

C Jonathan Lucroy

SS Yuniesky Betancourt

CF Nyjer Morgan

RHP Shaun Marcum

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Boggs outrighted (again)

For the third time in three months, the Brewers on Thursday sent outfielder Brandon Boggs outright to Triple-A Nashville, clearing a spot on the 40-man and 25-man rosters. Boggs can opt to decline the assignment and elect free agency if he chooses.

The Brewers needed a spot on the 25-man roster for infielder Josh Wilson, who was claimed off waivers from the D-backs on Wednesday and will be in uniform for the Brewers on Friday night. The club is expected to make another move before that game to activate outfielder Nyjer Morgan from the disabled list.

Including Wilson, the Brewers now have 39 players on the 40-man roster.

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Brewers claim IF Wilson

Mulligan! Let’s try this again:

The Brewers announced after Wednesday’s win that they had claimed 30-year-old infielder Josh Wilson off waivers from the D-backs and would have him in uniform Friday night. Wilson, a right-handed hitter, was batting .351 with one home runs and 12 RBIs for Arizona’s Triple-A Reno affiliate and 2-for-10 with the big-league D-backs.

He has played in 302 Major League games with the Marlins, Nationals, Padres, Mariners and D-backs and is a shortstop, giving the Brewers another backup to their middle infielders.

The Brewers shifted reliever Takashi Saito to the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Wilson. They will have to make another move to clear space on the 25-man roster before Friday’s game, but spokesperson Mike Vassallo said that transaction would be announced later.

Friday could be a busy day for roster moves. The team is also expected to re-instate outfielder Nyjer Morgan from the DL.

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Another start for Kotsay

Mark Kotsay (5-for-14, .357 lifetime against Nationals starter Jason Marquis) is back in center field today as the  Brewers aim to extend their five-game winning streak and their eight-game home winning streak.

Here’s some perspective from Mike Vassallo and the club’s PR staff: The Brewers are three games over .500 for the first time since July 18, 2009, when they were 47-44. Hard to believe that coming off the excitement of the ’08 Wild Card, they’ve been so mediocre for nearly two years.

Here are the lineups:

NATIONALS
Roger Bernadina CF
Ian Desmond SS
Jayson Werth RF
Laynce Nix LF
Michael Morse 1B
Danny Espinosa 2B
Ivan Rodriguez C
Jerry Hairston 3B
Jason Marquis RHP

BREWERS
Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Casey McGehee 3B
Mark Kotsay CF
Jonathan Lucroy C
Craig Counsell SS
Zack Greinke RHP

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