don’t know much about San Diego

22 Apr

jonesThe San Diego Padres always felt like the other side of the world to me. The 1977 Randy Jones Topps Card is the oldest memory that comes to mind; the one with the blue N.L. All Star banner across the bottom. Why was Mr. Jone not wearing a cap in the photo? How is that he looks like Willy Wonka? Well, he won 22 games and pitched 315 innings in 1976 so I concluded he could do whatever he wanted.

The Padres used to wear chocolate and banana cupcake uniforms; disgusting to many, but a novelty to others, including me. These days, their jerseys are kind of plain except for the camouflaged army variety.

Gary Coleman starred in a Walt Disney-ish movie about the Padres. Ray Kroc owned more than McDonalds. He alsobev owned the Padres from 1974-1984. Kurt Bevacqua  played on a lot of teams including the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres. His 1976 baseball card was one of the first cards I remember having nothing to do with baseball.  He was the bubble gum blowing champion and it inspired us all to invest in big league chew pouches. The stale gum in packs was not enough.

Bevacqua signed with the Padres in 1982, same year that Tony Gwynn launched his amazing career in San Diego. Eric Show was on that 1982 Padres team as well. Show was a vocal John Birch Society member and that got me thinking what the hell is a Padre anyway?  A Friar, as in Franciscan Friars who founded San Diego in 1789. It was and still is the only religious mascot in baseball.

The Padres are obscure, even in California. No Padre has ever thrown a not hitter dating back to 1969 when the National League invited the Friars and Montreal Expos into their exclusive club. So it’s always significant when the Padres play because it might happen. Every other team in baseball; including the more recent expansion teams;  Colorado, Arizona and Florida have at least one no hitter.

The Padres opened a three game series with the Brewers Monday night in Milwaukee and Andrew Kashner was on the mound.

Cashner seemed like a perfect fit to face the Brewers considering the Brewers were still fresh from facing Gerrit Cole’s 95 mph fastball on Sunday. Cashner is a similar type of pitcher. And by the third inning, the theory held true. The Brewers teed off.  Cashner hadn’t given up more than 2 runs in any start this year; 4 games, 28 innings, 19 hits allowed, and only 4 earned runs. He was just as good last season, but not during Monday night’s third inning.

Brewer’s Pitcher Wily Peralta greeted him with a double and Scooter Gennett followed with a triple. Ryan Braun hit a sac fly. Aramis Ramirez launched a solo home run to dead center. Brewers with a 3-0 lead.

the Brewer's bullpen; happyyoungster.com

the Brewer’s bullpen; happyyoungster.com

But Peralta let the Padres back in the game the following inning and it wasn’t cheap. Padre batters made solid contact, scoring two runs. Brewers score again in the 5th.  Padres get another run in the 7th. Time for the Brewers bullpen and once again they shut it down. This is probably the biggest surprise thus far this season. The bullpen of the Brewers has been lights out.

The game was won in the seventh inning as it often is. Padres had runners on second and third with one out, trailing 4-3. Enter lefty Will Smith. It’s become very clear to Brewer fans why the team traded one of the most under rated lead off hitters in baseball -Norichika Aoki for an unknown southpaw-Will Smith. He worked out of the jam, getting a pop out and a K on his bread and butter slider.

K-rod earned his 4th save in as many days. Brewers win 4-3.

Other than the bullpen there aren’t that many surprises to the Brewers 15-5 start; feels more like objectives being reached early on anyway.

Scooter Gennett played second base last year, replacing Rickie Weeks who is still locked up in a contract and not hitting his own weight. Weeks has never been an A defender. It’s a bit sad because Weeks has meant a lot to the franchise, but Gennett is a Wally Backman nose to the grindstone battler. Great range, good throwing arms and .300 hitter and he chews as much gum as Clint Hurdle.

There was no first baseman on this team. Enter cast-off’s Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay on the cheap. The Reynolds home runs are predictable. It’s his defense that’s so impressive.

Aramis Ramirez is healthy again, but the big surprise is the bullpen, especially the rapid evolution of Tyler Thornburg and Will Smith, not to mention the effective Loogy-ness of  Zach Duke, and then there’s the K-Rod who hasn’t given up an earned run.

The pitching brought the Brewers to 15-5 and that same pitching will guide the ship going forward.

 

a tale of two pitchers, three ejections, goose eggs, and timely bombs

21 Apr
greenwichtime.com

greenwichtime.com

Gerrit Cole versus Marco Estrada may not echo in the halls of baseball history as one of the greatest pitching match ups of all time, but I’ll take it in terms of contrasting styles.

In one corner wearing retro Pirate white and gold is Cole and in the other corner, wearing Brewer dark blue is Estrada. On Sunday afternoon, they both represented their opposite poles real well.

Cole is 23 years young; the first pick in the 2011 draft and better than all the hype if there is such a thing coming out of media mini Pittsburgh. He throws 95 mph gas and very rarely misses the target; low and outside, high and inside, all corners, a knee buckling slider as well. Impressive! Born in Newport Beach California, went to  UCLA, grows his hair shaggy now; a surfer look; a Spicolli on the hill.

zimbio.com

zimbio.com

Estrada is 30 years old; 174th pick in the 2005 draft, does nothing sexy, just throws strikes with an 89 mph fastball inside and outside, up and down setting up his 79 mph change of pace with batters out in front-popping up and striking out. He attended Glendale Community College and California State University, has short hair and was born in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico

Neither pitcher disappointed Sunday. Estrada gave up a run on 6 hits in 6 innings. He uncharacteristically fell behind a few Pirate hitters, but managed to keep the Brewers close. Cole was a little better and lasted a little longer; 8 innings, one run allowed and in a position to win the game when history just about repeated itself.

In the top of the ninth and the Brewers trailing 2-1, Ryan Braun stepped to the plate and faced the same Jason Grilli who served up a ninth inning, go ahead 2 run homer to Braun Saturday night on a 95 mph fastball. Braun smashed that one to dead center.

Grilli must have learned his lesson. He threw Braun a slider on Sunday; maybe 84 mph and Braun knew it was coming. He waited back a split second longer and lined it over the left field wall to tie the game 2-2. And that’s how it stayed until the 14th inning; one goose egg after another until Khris Davis picked a fine time to launch his first home run of the season; a no doubter into the left field bleachers. Brewers take a 3-2 lead and K-Rod comes on to record his 7th save. Brewers win 3 out of 4 in Pittsburgh.

yahoo

easter melee, yahoo

And oh yeh, the ejections. In the third inning, the Tasmanian devil-Carlos Gomez stomped to the plate and launched what he perceived to be a home run off gold chipper UCLA stud Gerrit Cole. Gomez stopped and stared at what he had created, jogged casually out of the batters box for a good 3-4 seconds and when he discovered the ball would not be leaving the yard, he kicked it into high gear all the way to third base for a head first, belly flop triple.

My first reaction was dammit Gomez. You never stop and admire your batted balls. You run like your pants are on fire unless it’s off Paul Maholm of the Braves.

Cole took offense to Gomez and greeted him at third base with “colorful words.” Carlos jawed back. The benches cleared and two Pirate players, not even in the game-Travis Snider and Russel Martin stormed to the front line and provoked the already high-strung Gomez some more. A few punches were thrown, but nothing major.

Gomez and Snider got ejected. So did Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron. Cole weaseled out of it and returned to the mound. I suffered flashbacks to Chris Carpenter bating players on and then judging their reaction as “not professional.” I think Carpenter earned his law degree from the Tony La Russa school of double standards. Anyway, I doubt this is over. The Pirates visit Milwaukee May 13th followed by a long NL Central summer.

But really, who doesn’t stop and stare at a home run? I do it in whiffle ball.  It’s called a trot for Christ’s sake; a home run trot. I just wish Gomez would have sprinted from the starting gun like he usually does. He might have legged out an inside the park home run. The Brewers could have maybe won the game in 9 innings instead of 14 and rested their bullpen.

Why would pitchers and batters get along anyway? One guy stands on a mound and heaves a ball traveling in excess of 100 mph towards a guy waving a wood bat. Sounds like trouble to me. Just ask Bob Gibson or Hank Aaron.

If you want to make sense of it for yourself, here’s the link.

The Brewers are 14-5.

the predictable surprise

20 Apr

gibbusThe Saturday night sky and Brewers-Pirates game began to make perfect sense. A theme unveiled and the three-quarter waning gibbous moon fit into my pigeon-hole theory. The chewed off section white baseball moon resembled the Brewer’s fumble defense; no longer whole, but beautiful just the same, even when they lose.

And in the end, none of this mattered anyway. Ryan Braun hit a come from behind two run home run in the top of the ninth inning, his second of the game. And it was a moon shot to dead center. My notion was ruined.

Frankie K-Rod Rodriguez threw strikes in the bottom half of the ninth and earned his 6th save of the young season and 310th of his career, tying Goose Gossge for 20th all time.

I was drained in the top of the seventh with the Brewers trailing 7-4, but I played batting order abacus anyway. If someone gets a hit, the top of the order-Gomez, Segura, Braun will bat in the ninth. Ain’t over till the number 3 hitter gets a chance to sing and swing and Braun…..

Well, he took care of it. He hit a line drive home run, just clearing the center field fence in 4.1 seconds. No arc, no mountian majesty. A bullet of Willie McCovey proportions, but the Brewers still trailed 7-5 and the Pirates back-end of the bullpen is deadly, unhittable, but the moon, the moon.

Pirates reliever Mark Melancon began his career as a New York Yankee; soaking up Mariano Rivera trickery;  how to throw a cutter sawing off right-handed hitters. Melancon worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning and protected the Pirates 7-5 lead.

Enter Jason Grilli in the ninth. He reinvented himself last season; seizing an opportunity to close games with a 95 mph heater and drop out of sight slider. He struck out Carlos Gomez and had Jean Segura in the hole 0-2, but the same trailing slider that caused Gomez to swing so wildly inspired patience from Segura. He waited back and gently poked a single over the shortstop’s head.

Braun followed with a big fly. This one was majestic and decisive and he now has five home runs; all on the road. The understandable boos in Pittsburgh were louder than they were in Boston and Philly and so were Braun’s base hits. Final score Brewers 8, Pirates 7.

Yahoo.com

Yahoo.com

It wasn’t supposed to finish this way. The game began like a clone to Friday night’s 5-3 Brewer’s win when they jumped out to an early lead and then surrendered that lead with shoddy defense. But Friday, Kyle Lohse worked out of jams. He ignored the errors and buckled down; threw the right pitches, got ahead of hitters.

And Saturday, the Brewer’s defense played the same Muddy Water blues and Matt Garza is not Kyle Lohse. Garza lost his composure, fell behind hitters in the fourth inning.

Garza walked the lead off hitter-Andrew McCutchen. Pedro Alvarez followed with a tailor-made double play grounder to second base where Rickie Weeks is not home anymore. He has been relegated to pinch hitter duties, but he was in the lineup to bat against Wandy Rodriguez. Weeks was slow to the ball and it banged off his glove into right field.  Jose Tabata then hit a ground ball to Aramis Ramirez. It slipped under his mitt.  A walk and two sharp singles later and Garza had surrendered five runs. The inning could have been clean.

And the moon could be as predictable as the sun; rising in the east, setting in the west  and never-changing shape, but it does change shape. It does. And all of us; from the announcers to the few hundred Brewer fans in Pittsburgh to bars across Milwaukee to my tv room…we all anticipated the same damn Braun two run home run in the ninth inning; so damn predictable and so damn unpredictable; almost impossible or at least improbable.

The Brewers are 13-5.

 

it’s good to be 35 and pitching

19 Apr
The Bird Fidrych; ESPN

The Bird Fidrych; ESPN

Some pitchers are bottle rockets; exploding onto the scene and capturing everyone’s attention; Mark Fidrych, Dontrell Willis; star-dust and then in a flash….gone; back to a family farm or in the case of Willis; one Indy League comeback attempt after another.

In the shadows are turtles trudging along for 5, 6 or 7 years with bloated era’s and a back-end of the rotation home when suddenly something happens; maybe a new delivery or miracle meeting with a pitching coach, a Tommy John Surgery-some strange bionic revival. Whatever it is, the turtle arrives.

Kyle Lohse was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 1996 draft; 862nd overall pick. After five mediocre minor league seasons, Lohse was traded to the Minnesota Twins. He pitched six years and was a bit above average.; close to 200 innings each year with 2003 his best; 14 wins and 211 hits allowed in 200 innings.

But the hits and walks spiked over the next two seasons and Lohse was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, then the Philadelphia Phillies and in 2007, granted free agency. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. That’s where he bumped into Dave Duncan; the Cardinal’s pitching coach.

Lohse learned how to throw a 2-seam fastball, command his off speed pitches. He became more of a pitcher than a thrower and isn’t that what every pitching coach does or is supposed to do? Groom young arms and revive old ones.

Duncan and manager Tony Larussa are a story in itself. The two were inseparable; first with the White Sox, then Oakland and finally St. Louis. Larussa managed. Duncan developed pitchers. Their teams won. Duncan’s pitchers won Cy Young awards.

Lohse surprised everyone, except Duncan and the Cardinals. After an incredible first half to the 2008 season, they offered him a 4-year contract.  But then Lohse regressed and began suffering fatigue in 2009 and 2010. Exertional compartment syndrome was the diagnosis. Some obscure condition causing swelling in arms and legs. Surgery was required.

Lohse was already 32-years old, but apparently saving the best for last or surgery worked wonders or age, experience, and Dave Duncan marinated a miracle.

In 2011, Lohse enjoyed the best year of his career and then he topped that with an even better 2012; winning 16 games, 2.86 ERA, WHIP around 1 and maybe most impressive-143 K’s and only 38 walks.

wrn.com

wrn.com

The Brewers waited until March 25, 2013; one week before opening day and signed Lohse to a 4-year contract, believing he was for real and had some gas left in the tank. Lohse has not disappointed.

The 35-year old was on the mound last night for game 2 against the Pirates and his performance? A clinic on how to pitch..

The very first batter of the game-Sterling Marte hit a towering pop up between the pitcher’s mound and home plate. The first and third baseman, catcher, and pitcher coffee clutched. “I got it. You got it.” Collision. The ball dropped. Marte safe at first. He steals second and the catcher’s throw sails into center field. Marte to third. He scores on Russel Martin’s groundball.

Then in the bottom of the third, center fielder Carlos Gomez failed to field a run scoring single by Martin cleanly. The runner advanced to third and the ensuing throw from Gomez was bobbled by shortstop Jean Segura. Martin advanced to second. Lohse walked Andrew McCutchen. Bases loaded and one out. Brewers already trailing 2-0.

Lohse struck out Pedro Alvarez and got Neil Walker to pop out. The game was decided right then and there. Lohse had ignored the errors and escaped the jam.The Brewers scored three times in the top of the fourth, again in the fifth and sixth.

In the seventh, Jean Segura committed the Brewer’s fourth error. Lohse then walked Marte and left the game; leading 5-2,  Reliever Tyler Thornburg allowed a run scoring double to McCutchen. Will Smith replaced Thornburg and struck out Alvarez; a game to forget for him. Alvarez left 8 runners in scoring position.

A game of missed opportunities for the Pirates? Maybe, but also a game of Lohse keeping his composure and making those extra, unnecessary pitches with a clear head. But in the end, this game will be remembered for a different reason.

mlb.com

mlb.com

In the top of the sixth, Brewer’s catcher Martin Maldonado hit a hard ground ball to Alvarez at third base. Routine play, except the cover of the baseball ripped off and was flapping in the breeze. Maldonado had literally hit the cover off the ball. mythic.

Final score; Brewer 5; Pirates 3.

The Brewers are 12-5.

 

a game to forget

18 Apr

There’s been something pleasantly different in the way Yovani Gallardo pitches this season. It’s only 18.2 innings, but fewer strikeouts for sure.

Gallardo is still a spitting image of Dennis “El Presidente” Martinez with hand and arms swinging a pendulum followed by a corkscrew turn towards third base and letting loose a low 90′s fastball or 12-6 curve ball; one of the best in baseball that curve; provoking some of the silliest looking swings and misses on the spiked two strike put away variety.

Gallardo still pitches into the 6th inning. His hair is still long and black; just the beard is different; more Grizzly Adams and of course, that changes everything. He’s walked only three batters in 18.2 innings and not allowed any home runs, pitching more to contact and balls are ending up in fielder’s mitts; only struck out 13.

getty images

getty images

It’s been that way since last season; since he was surrounded by two pitchers who tend to throw nothing but strikes; Kyle Lohse and Marco Estrada. Maybe the team’s kangaroo court fines players a thousand dollars for every walk surrendered. Or maybe not.

On Thursday night Gallardo’s pitch count reached 100 by the fifth inning against the Pirates. It was the first game of a four game series at PNC Park Pittsburgh. Gallardo surrendered a two run home run to Andrew McCutchen, walked 3 batters matching his season total and struck out five in as many innings. It was vintage Gallardo. Get way ahead the batter and then labor and nit pick. Let the count run full and then finish him off with a big pitch. He only gave up three hits in six innings. Score tied 2-2.

The journey with Gallardo….stressful. “Put him away already,” I used to shout at the TV, but that was before, back when we wanted more from him and believed he had not yet peaked as a pitcher. But maybe he already has. He was a strikeout machine from 2009-2012. In 782 innings, striking out 815 batters. He won 50 games over that 4 year span and allowed less than a hit per inning,  around three walks and one home run per game. Good if not great!

Last year the strikeouts were down and the hits allowed went up, but he still survived into the 6th inning. Maybe he’s regressed from a dominant pitcher to a very good one and that’s ok. Maybe his army is tired But he’s only 28. Dammit. Or maybe last night was an indication of a return to the way he pitched earlier in his career? I don’t know. Whatever, he still keeps the Brewers in games.

Unfortunately, Thursday night was the first bullpen implosion of the season. The Pirates teed off on recent AAA call up Rob Wooten; scoring three times on a Josh Harrison pinch hit home run in the seventh inning. And then in the eighth, my oh my.  Wei-Chung Wang; the Brewer’s 21-year-old rule V draft pick selected from the Pirates, the Korean kid who pitched a scoreless inning against the Cardinals the other day….

umm…well, the Pirates kinda welcomed him to the major leagues; bam slam slice;  6 hits, 6 runs, 6 earned runs all in the ninth inning including two home runs. I hope Wang exercises amnesia and moves on.

So much for the Brewer’s perfect 6-0 record on the road. First base coach Garth Iorg didn’t know what to say after the game so he said this, “Well, we asked him (Wang) to pitch the eighth inning because the bullpen needed some rest and he did pitch the eighth inning.”

The final score of 11-2 was a bit misleading, just like a pitcher’s season stats can be. They don’t reveal the one bad inning or outing that bloats the ERA or score. The game was 2-2 to begin the 7th inning. The Pirates scored 9 runs in the 7th and 8th and probably bumped the Brewers bullpen from the top spot in team ERA.

The Brewers are 11-5.

 

maybe gold in the hills…maybe not

17 Apr

Mike Moustakas woke up Wednesday morning; a great beginning to a new day. But the feeling didn’t last too long. A nagging thought crept into his mind. I’m 4 for 40 this season and I hit .233 last year with a .287 OB%.  Moustakas is 25-years old and his status as the Kansas City Royal’s future fixture at third base is in jeopardy.

George Springer also woke up Wednesday morning; a great beginning to a new day with one significant psychological difference. The good feeling never stopped. The 24-year old right fielder boarded a plane in Oklahoma City; destined for Houston, Texas-Minute Maid Park. Springer was to make his much anticipated major league debut against Mike Moustakas and the Royals later that night.

Springer is the Astro’s golden chip who will save the franchise. He was selected 11th overall in the 2011 draft from the University of Connecticut and his time is now. But it was Moustakas who hit the go ahead home run in the 11th inning; his first of the young season.

The Astros have lost 100 games in a row for three consecutive seasons. One more and they join the only three teams in the history of baseball to lose more than 100 games in four or more consecutive years; Philadelphia Phillies from 1938-1942, Washington Senators from 1961-1964 and New York Mets from 1962-1965.

Springer; getty image

Springer; getty image

Springer does just about everything. He’s a five tool, can’t miss prospect. We’ve heard it all before. He hit a combined 37 home runs and stole 45 bases last year at AA Corpus Christi and AAA Oklahoma City…..303 BA with a .411 OB%, .600 slugging percentage. He also struck out 161 times.

Kila in Japan; wikipedia

Kila in Japan; wikipedia

But minor league success doesn’t mean squat. There’s an endless cast of failures. One of my favorites was Kila Ka’aihue of the Kansas City Royals. I loved the name Kila, his Hawaiian origins, power, and amazing on base percentage-.463, achieved at AAA Omaha in 2010. KAboooka!

Ka’aihue played parts of three seasons with the Royals; 283 total at bats. He was then traded to the Oakland A’s in 2012, played 39 games before being designated for reassignment-aka- hit the road Kila. He signed a minor league deal with Arizona and did well at AAA Reno;.hitting 16 home runs in 192 at bats with a .426 OB%, but was released and finished the 2013 season with the Hiroshima Toya Carp in the Japanese Central League. He’s still there.

If Ka’aihue’s journey drifted east, then Tyler Thornburg’s is going west. The college outfielder was a third round pick of The Milwaukee Brewers in the 2010 draft-96th player overall. He was converted to a pitcher and hopes were high as he progressed through the Brewer’s system, reaching AAA Nashville. That’s where things began to go sour. He was horrible in 2013; allowing 90 hits in 74 innings including 11 home runs; an ERA of 5.79 and a WHIP of 1.59.

Thornburg; Reuters

Thornburg; Reuters

And so the Brewers called him up in June of that year. Say what? Well, they needed a pitcher to log some innings on a depleted staff and go figure; Thornburg shined (66 innings-53 hits, 2.02 ERA.)  He’s been even better so far this year (9 innings, 4 hits, 1 run, and 12 k’s) Fastball in the upper 90′s, huge curve ball, great control. Throws over the top; motion resembling Tim Lincecum.

Yesterday, Thornburg pitched a perfect 8th inning to help the Brewers salvage game 3 of their series against the Cardinals. He helped preserve the win for another golden armed prospect-Wily Peralta who is settling in now and finding his groove. The Brewers are 11-4.

And George Springer? Well, he played right field and batted second in the Astros lineup. No pressure son. Jeremy Guthrie, an 11 year veteran was on the mound for the Royals. Singer hit a sharp grounder to Alcides Escobar in his first at bat and almost beat it out.

In his second at bat, he worked the count full and then took a Carlos Gomez/Hunter Pence ain’t gonna cheat me kind of swing. He got on top of the pitch and the ball dribbled down the third base line for a swinging bunt single. He scored his first run when Jason Castro hit an opposite field home run. A walk and two strikeouts later; his his first big league game; a 1 for 5.

The future is filled with hundreds of big league at bats for Springer, just like it was for Moustakas. But Springer is still a stud. Moustakas is trying to not be a dud. Everyone is pulling for both of them.

 

 

drowning in the red sea

16 Apr

The order in a pitching rotation seems more like a facial feature difference than a subtlety. The opposition knows exactly what to expect. It’s either gonna be 95 mph gas or off speed junk. And nowadays, with videos galore, the details of how a pitcher pitches can be analyzed into microscopic realms.

And yet the who and when of a pitching rotation is still very important to a manager or maybe he sits and stares at a clipboard just to appear smart and sabermetric savvy; a 21st century pose. Yes, the pitching staff order is far from random. Starts are even skipped and spot starters inserted to tilt the scales a bit and create better match-ups, increase the odds for a pitcher and his team.

A staff typically consists of four or five starters and ideally-barring injury, there’s not much tinkering to it over a 162 game season. But no two teams are exactly alike in terms of habits and tendencies; strengths and weaknesses. Some are better fast ball hitting teams and others see the junk, wait on back legs and line balls to the opposite field.

There is no exact science to a pitching rotation and no bible to follow, but that doesn’t stop teams from insisting on having at least one lefty in a rotation and assembling the others in some night then day fashion; a speed demon followed by a change-up artist; a quick worker on Sunday-a human rain delay Monday. It’s all designed to disrupt the batters; screw up their timing, keep em guessing.

But mood, momentum, and luck makes many a manager turn to the bottle and it ain’t Grecian Formula to keep grey hairs at bay; hoping for a better day tomorrow. But if the sun shines and a pitcher baffles the opposition, new theories will explain a team’s success. And poor ol’ luck- will toil away in obscurity, still the unsung hero of baseball outcomes.

The Brewers liked their chances with Marco Estrada following Matt Garza in the rotation; from 95 mph gas to 80 mph deception. Estrada pitched well Tuesday night against the Cardinals, but he uncharacteristically hit a batter, walked another and both of them scored. The Cardinals don’t waste opportunities.  And  Cardinal pitching? ….ho hum.

It must be so damn easy to design a Cardinal pitching staff, in 2014 anyway.  Just throw the names in a hat and call the first name that pops up your ace. All of em throw 95 mph with movement on the pitch. Ditto for the bullpen. Lefty-righty. It doesn’t matter.  Kudos to their scouting department for finding somewhat off the radar prospects and developing them into pitchers.

Marco Estrada kept the Brewers in the game;. It was  3-1 through 6 innings, but the Cardinal’s Shelby Miller struck out 7 and allowed three hits; the lone run a solo homer by Aramis Ramirez. That makes one run for the Brewers over the last 18 innings against the freaking Cardinals. Shelby Miller gets his first win of the season.

Oh yeh, and Matt Holiday hit his first home run of the year; a booming blast to center field in the ninth inning and a few batters later, Jhonny  Peralta smashed one off the Club Goodwill sign in the bleachers. Both long balls hit off Jim Henderson. It was the second of the game for Peralta. Final score; Cardinals 6, Brewers 1. Milwaukee seems to be the place where Cardinal slumps suddenly end. Arghhhhh!

The Brewers are 10-4. The Cardinals are 9-5.

It’s Wily Peralta’s turn Wednesday afternoon and in contrast to Estrada, he throws 97 mph with plenty of sink on his pitches. And the Cardinals? Does it matter?  He goes by the name Joe Kelly and he’ll still be wearing that red Cardinal uniform and I’m beginning to think color matters. I’ve run out of ideas. The Brewers have a .427 winning % against the Cardinals since 1997. Primal screams!!!!!

Maybe Brewer batters should wear special sunglasses; the kind you order on TV.  “Call 1-800…….right now and receive a second pair absolutely free.” Those glasses change the color of the day.

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