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Posts Tagged ‘Rickie Weeks’

Wolf, Crew hope fortunes turn around after 5th straight win

July 27, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — If the series opener against the Reds is any indication, the Brewers could make a major move this week toward getting back in the National League playoff race.

To do so, they’ll need more of what they got on Monday night: strong pitching and clutch hitting, which led to a thrilling victory, 3-2, over the Reds at Miller Park.

The winning formula has been pretty simple lately: Good pitching and big late-inning hits have delivered wins in each of the first four games of the Brewers’ current six-game homestand, and they’ve won seven in a row overall at home.

On Monday night, the stars of the show were Randy Wolf, Rickie Weeks and Jim Edmonds, the latter two playing big roles throughout a five-game winning streak.

Wolf bounced back in a big way from a rough outing in Pittsburgh to battle with Cincinnati right-hander Bronson Arroyo in what turned out to be an excellent pitchers’ duel. After giving up 12 runs on 13 hits last time out, Wolf went seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out five.

In his previous outing, Wolf kept himself in the game to help preserve the Brewers’ tired bullpen.

“It was a nightmare game,” Wolf said. “Those are the kind of games you try to put behind you. They’re the kind of games where you could go out there and tell [the hitters] what was coming, and it would be better than it was. You can’t lose sight of that.”

Wolf struggled a bit early again Monday, loading the bases with none out in the second, but he managed to escape with just two runs on the board for the Reds.

After giving up a two-run single that inning, Wolf retired 17 of the final 20 batters he faced.

“Those guys get us out of a lot of jams, and I understand that’s a tough job. … In my last game I said, ‘Put me back out there. I don’t care how many runs I give up. I can take the abuse today. I’ve already taken enough,’ ” Wolf said. “Today, I had a lot of pitches early, so I just tried to get deep enough in the game to where [the relievers] didn’t have to throw a lot of innings.”

In the third, following a Wolf single for the Brewers’ first hit, Weeks belted an 0-1 slider from Arroyo to dead center field.

The blast, which hit off the batters’ eye, was estimated at 447 feet.

“Rickie continues to be amazing,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha. “Coming into the game tonight, I think he was 2-for-20 against Arroyo. He got a ball up, I think it was a slider, and I haven’t seen too many balls hit that far here.”

Weeks’ homer allowed the Brewers to extend another streak, giving them at least one home run in 15 straight games, five shy of the franchise record set in 2008.

Arroyo did not allow another hit until the eighth, but the Brewers’ third hit proved costly for him.

After Edmonds crushed a 1-2 fastball home run distance but just foul down the right-field line, Arroyo came back with another fastball. Edmonds hit the second one even farther, and kept it fair for the eventual game-winning home run.

“The end of the game, I play a mental chess match,” Arroyo said. “That’s how I win ballgames. I threw the ball right where I wanted to. I didn’t think he could even swing at the pitch. He hits it out of the park. You tip your hat to somebody that comes off the bench and does that. They closed it out.”

While he might be thinking about retirement, the 40-year-old Edmonds has shown over the past few days that he can still play. What’s more, he can still lead his team to a win, even if he’s coming off the bench.

Having been a part of playoff races in the past with the Cardinals, the veteran center fielder offered his perspective on the significance of the Brewers’ current win streak and what they need to do if they’re going to make an improbable run at the playoffs.

“We’re a long ways from being close to first place, but in order to get close to first place, you’ve got to beat the best teams,” Edmonds said. “They’re obviously the best team in the league right now, and we’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s nice to get a win.

“It’s going to be an uphill battle. It’s a good start for us, but I don’t expect this to be something where you just go out there and win games. It’s going to be a battle, and we’ve got to really concentrate each and every day.

“We’ve got to play better in the last two months than we did in the first four.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McGehee finds power stroke in sweep

July 25, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Batting practice was optional on Sunday. But that didn’t stop Casey McGehee from getting out there and putting some work in with hitting coach Dale Sveum.

McGehee, who entered Sunday having hit just .234 with four home runs and 14 RBIs since June 1, was the only Brewers hitter to take batting practice on the field before the game.

Maybe his teammates should let him hit alone more often.

With a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning, McGehee put an exclamation point on the Brewers’ 8-3 victory, helping the team record a sweep over the Nationals.

“It was just me and Dale, we were just talking last night and had some ideas of some stuff that we might want to try, just to get a little better feel,” McGehee said. “Who knows if that had anything to do with it, but I’m just trying to get back to feeling like myself at the plate.”

For McGehee, the blast capped a 2-for-3 day that included a crucial first-inning walk, a double in the fifth, three RBIs and a run scored.

Along with McGehee, second baseman Rickie Weeks helped power the Brewers past the Nationals, belting a two-run homer deep to left in the fourth, which made it 5-0 in the Brewers’ favor.

Weeks’ 20th blast of the season extended the Brewers’ streak to 14 consecutive games with a homer. McGehee’s blast was his 14th this year and his first since July 1 in St. Louis.

“When your pitching is holding you in the games, and one swing of the bat with McGehee or Rickie or Prince [Fielder] or [Ryan Braun] can get you several runs,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha, “you feel like you have a chance to win every game.”

The Brewers got an excellent pitching performance from right-hander Dave Bush and were able to limit the damage of their two errors while taking advantage of two defensive miscues by the Nationals.

Thanks to errors in the first and fourth innings, Nationals starter Ross Detwiler was tagged for five runs on just three hits over 3 2/3 innings. Fortunately for Detwiler, his ERA went unharmed, as all five runs were unearned.

For the Brewers, taking advantage of an opponent’s errors made for a much different story than when the Crew was hurt by errors earlier this month in three losses to the Cardinals and Giants.

“We’ve been on the other side of that, and that’s what happens,” Macha said. “Look what happened in the game in St. Louis and back-to-back games here against San Francisco.

“We had an error and they capitalized and got a bunch of unearned runs. It happens to all the teams.”

Afterward, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman was not happy with his team’s defense.

“We did not have a good day defensively today,” Riggleman said. “Going into the series before the All-Star break and up to the current time, we played better defense. But we certainly didn’t get it done today.”

Bush (5-8) tossed six-plus strong innings, giving up just two earned runs on six hits. More importantly, though, Bush recorded seven strikeouts against zero walks.

Through the first five innings, Bush cruised, retiring 15 of 17 batters faced with just one hit. The key for Bush was his changeup, which he used more often than usual.

“[Jonathan Lucroy] called a couple in the first inning and I got a couple swings and misses on it. I had a decent feel for it today,” Bush said. “It’s typically my fourth pitch. It’s not something I’m going to necessarily use a whole lot, unless I feel like I can put it where I want to and get some outs out of it.

“Today, I felt like I could do that here and there. Lucroy figured that out, too and went to it more than usual.”

Bush ran into trouble in the sixth, leaving curveballs up to the first two hitters. It resulted in a pair of runs coming across on a Josh Willingham sacrifice fly and a single by Adam Dunn. Thanks to a nice defensive play by center fielder Carlos Gomez, though, Bush escaped the inning with the lead intact, stranding a pair.

“I didn’t locate all that well,” Bush said of the sixth. “It was mostly a matter of getting some pitches up and having guys on base.”

With the win, the Brewers picked up their second straight home sweep and improved to 10-4 since July 9.

Milwaukee has won four straight games dating back to the series finale in Pittsburgh on Thursday and six straight at home. Next up for the Crew will be the first-place Cincinnati Reds as it looks to continue its climb back into the race on Monday.

“Any time you can sweep a team, no matter who it is, obviously it is big,” McGehee said. “We’re going to have to do some more of that if we want to make things interesting.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers beat 7/24

July 24, 2010 Comments off

Hart happy to find out wrist isn’t broken

MILWAUKEE — A day after slamming his wrist into the wall in right field, Corey Hart said he felt a little sore. The good news, though, is that an MRI on Friday revealed no fracture.

Hart said the exam was a relief: “Especially the way it’s going, I didn’t want to miss too much. I might miss a few days. I’ll take treatment until it stops hurting. I’m lucky I didn’t break anything. It could have been a lot worse.”

Hart injured his wrist Friday in the top of the third inning during the Brewers’ 7-5 victory over the Nationals. As he attempted to catch a long foul ball off the bat of Cristian Guzman, Hart slid and hit his right hand against the concrete wall below the padding.

Hart injured his wrist in a similar region of the ballpark where Braves outfielder Matt Diaz slid into the concrete wall and suffered a knee injury two years ago, which cost him much of the season.

Now it’s just a waiting game for Hart and the Brewers.

Hart was out of the lineup Saturday night, and Joe Inglett got the start in right field. Before the game, Hart sported a compression sleeve on his right wrist, which is intended to keep the swelling down.

Once he feels well enough to play again, Hart expects to return to the field. The Brewers have an off-day Thursday, which could give him an extra day of rest before returning.

But that’s not exactly his plan.

“I’d like to be in before then,” Hart said. “I’m probably not going to play these next two. Hopefully I’ll get at least a couple games against the Reds.”

Lucroy gets another shot at catching Parra

MILWAUKEE — Brewers manager Ken Macha shook up his catching rotation Saturday night, putting rookie Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate with lefty starter Manny Parra.

Over his past three outings, Parra had been paired with backup catcher George Kottaras. Lucroy struggled with stopping Parra’s splitter, which resulted in several wild pitches.

“I had that because of balls getting back to the screen on the split,” Macha said. “I just feel that we’re going to try this fit because of results we can get with Manny, so we’ll try somebody else back there.”

In three starts this month with Kottaras behind the plate, Parra has a 1-2 record with a 10.89 ERA, allowing 19 earned runs over 16 innings on 28 hits, including five home runs.

Conversely, in five starts with Lucroy catching during the month of June, the Brewers left-hander went 1-2 with a 4.18 ERA, allowing 13 runs on 29 hits (four homers) over 29 innings.

Parra had 36 strikeouts against 13 walks in June, compared with 12 against seven this month.

So does Macha think having Lucroy behind the plate is going to result in a better outing for Parra?

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Macha said. “How did he do last time out? Sometimes catchers and pitchers get on the same page and it happens.”

Hawkins set for another rehab outing Monday

MILWAUKEE — Veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins will rejoin the Brewers soon, but not before Tuesday at the earliest.

Manager Ken Macha said before Saturday’s game that Hawkins would pitch for Triple-A Nashville again Monday as he continues to rehab from right shoulder weakness.

“We’re just going to evaluate his Monday outing,” Macha said. “We’ll go from there.”

Hawkins pitched for the second straight night Friday, tossing 16 pitches over two innings while allowing just one hit as he earned the save.

Macha was hesitant to confirm that Hawkins would rejoin the club after his outing Monday, based on Hawkins’ own evaluation of his rehab outings, which Macha received from Brewers trainer Roger Caplinger.

“One of his other outings he kind of indicated he wasn’t really on top of his game quite yet,” Macha said. “I just got that report from Roger. I didn’t talk to [Nashville pitching coach] Rich Gale or anyone like that. Rick Peterson, our pitching coach, will talk to Rich Gale sometime.”

Worth noting

The Brewers’ comeback on Friday night, after being down 5-1 to win 7-5, marked their largest comeback victory of the season. They had previously come back from three-run deficits five times. … Milwaukee had homered in 12 straight games entering Saturday’s contest, going 8-4 during that stretch. It marks the longest streak for the Brewers since they homered for a franchise-record 20 straight games from July 1-24, 2008. … Prince Fielder entered Saturday’s game just one RBI shy of 500 for his career. He would become the 12th player in franchise history with at least 500 RBIs. … Rickie Weeks is on pace for 102 RBIs this season, all coming from the leadoff spot. Weeks would be just the second leadoff hitter in MLB history to eclipse the 100 RBI mark, joining Darin Erstad, who did it in 2000 with the Angels.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers beat 7/23

July 23, 2010 Comments off

Hart day-to-day after injuring right wrist

MILWAUKEE — Corey Hart’s trade value may have taken a hit on Friday when the Brewers right fielder injured his right wrist attempting to catch a fly ball in the third inning of the 7-5 win over the Nationals.

But manager Ken Macha and the Brewers just want him in the lineup as soon as they can get him back.

As Washington second baseman Cristian Guzman drove a ball deep to right, Hart tracked it toward the right-field line and crashed into the wall as he attempted to catch the eventual foul ball.

Hart stayed in the game and finished out the top half of the inning, but was removed in favor of veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds, who pinch-hit for Hart in the bottom of the third and hit a decisive two-run homer in the seventh.

After leaving the game, Hart underwent X-rays and an MRI on his wrist, which revealed no fracture.

Brewers manager Ken Macha was unsure how long Hart would be out, but considering the way his right fielder has swung the bat since the middle of May, he certainly would like to have him in the lineup as soon as he can.

“He’s day-to-day, as we all are,” Macha said. “We’ve got other guys that can fill in. Edmonds won the game for us tonight. But [Hart] can have a sudden impact on the game at any time.”

With Hart being the subject of a number of trade rumors this month, the injury could not have come at a more inconvenient time for the club, since any ailment or significant time missed complicates any trade discussions.

From his vantage point, though, Macha did not think the injury looked too significant.

He added that with the way Hart jammed his hand into the wall, the location of the injury required precautionary measures to be taken.

“When they were doing all the tests out in right field on him, it didn’t look that bad,” Macha said. “Where it was located, they were concerned there may be a small bone fracture in there, so they did the MRI.”

Crew concerned with level of plunkings

MILWAUKEE — The Brewers are tired of being bruised.

Entering Friday’s game, they had been hit by pitches 50 times this season, most of any team. Rickie Weeks (18 times) and Prince Fielder (16 times) rank first and second in the Majors. The Cubs’ Marlon Byrd has also been struck 16 times.

“It’s happening far too often,” outfielder Ryan Braun said. “Look, we understand that we’re a team that hits for a lot of power and they have to pitch us inside. There’s just times that guys are missing by too much with their fastballs, too often, to both [Weeks and Fielder]. That’s not something we want to be a part of, and when it does happen, obviously, we have to do something about it.”

Weeks declined to talk Thursday night about the Ross Ohlendorf pitch that struck him in the fifth inning and sparked some tempers on both sides of the field at PNC Park. Fielder, who had words with the umpires when the teams were warned later in the game, did not make himself available to reporters.

“I haven’t seen the ball that Rickie got hit with,” manager Ken Macha said after Thursday’s game. “But from what I understand, it was in the middle of the batter’s box.”

After the incident Thursday night, Macha did his part to work on eliminating the problem.

“I had another conversation with people from Major League Baseball today,” Macha said. “They’re looking into it.”

As for what he thinks should be done about the issue, Macha made it clear he thinks some suspensions should be in order for the pitchers who are hitting his players.

“They’ve got to get the guys that perpetrate what goes on,” Macha said. “I don’t know people’s intent, but evidence is mounting. … Fining and suspending managers, I don’t think that’s going to get it done. Managers aren’t throwing the balls.”

Macha said he hopes by talking to MLB officials that he can eliminate the problem before it reaches a point where his players are required to retaliate in a significant way.

He added that he doesn’t think MLB would want such action to occur, either.

“That’s why I’m using the avenues that I am. I don’t think the alternative is what Major League Baseball wants, and that’s going out and having a brawl,” Macha said. “They don’t want that. I think that’s why they were trying to clean this up.”

Miller Park largely spared from flooding

MILWAUKEE — As up to eight inches of rain pounded the Milwaukee area on Thursday night, it seemed likely Miller Park would be affected by the flooding that impacted much of city. After all, the ballpark suffered extensive damage after a strong storm a year ago.

Thanks to a recently installed berm between Miller Parkway and the Brewers’ staff parking lot, however, the service level at Miller Park was not affected by the storms Thursday night.

According to Brewers spokesman Tyler Barnes, credit goes to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

“The DOT, in the spring, really did a phenomenal job building this berm,” Barnes said. “They put up a berm to prevent any sort of flooding coming into the south dock.

“The water got up on the berm pretty high, but they nailed it. If this was a once in a five-lifetime rain or whatever they’re saying it was, then it did its job.”

Last summer, a major rainstorm resulted in damage throughout the service level, which includes the home and visitors’ clubhouses as well as batting cages and a media interview room, among other things.

As a result, all the furniture and upholstery in the home clubhouse was required to be replaced — with temporary replacements last season and more permanent furniture and carpeting prior to the start of this season.

After the storm Thursday, the damage at Miller Park was no different than any other above-average rainstorm.

“Sort of ironically, the service level is bone dry, and then in some of the areas of offices on the field level we had a few areas that got some water in them,” Barnes said. “Brewers enterprises, the ticket offices and the administrative office entrance had some water in them.

“I wouldn’t call it standing water, it was more of a nuisance. So we’re having to make some repairs there, but quite honestly, we’ve had some water come in there a couple times already this year.”

Brewers bussed home from Chicago

MILWAUKEE — While the Brewers were in Pittsburgh throughout much of Thursday night’s storm, they certainly were among those who felt its effects.

Rather than fly as regularly scheduled from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee, the club was forced to fly into Chicago as General Mitchell International Airport was closed due to flooding on the runways.

From there, the Brewers bussed from Chicago to Milwaukee. According to Brewers broadcaster Cory Provus, the team’s flight landed in Chicago at 1:30 a.m. CT, while the bus arrived in Milwaukee just before 3 a.m.

“I think I was in bed by 3:30, I’d say,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “It’s no big deal. It’s just like playing a night game in Boston and then going to Kansas City.”

Worth noting

Veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins threw 11 pitches for Triple-A Nashville on Thursday night. According to Brewers manager Ken Macha, Hawkins was scheduled to pitch another inning Friday for the “back-to-back days” part of his rehab assignment. … Left-hander Zach Braddock was unavailable once again for the Brewers on Friday. Macha said that Braddock was undergoing treatment and would likely miss a couple more days. … This weekend, the Brewers will celebrate their teams of the 1990s. Friday night, they wore reproductions of the Brewers uniforms from 1997-99 while welcoming Greg Vaughn and Jeff Cirillo back as part of the celebration.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Weeks finding ways to get on base

July 7, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Rickie Weeks may not be your prototypical leadoff hitter, but at least one statistic shows that he’s doing what a leadoff hitter should do, and that’s getting on base.

Weeks entered Wednesday hitting .270 on the season and had an on-base percentage of .369, nearly 70 points behind Justin Morneau, who leads the Majors. But Weeks was only four behind Morneau in total times on base, another category led by the Twins first baseman.

Out of a Major League-leading 391 plate appearances, Weeks had been on base 144 times, compared to 148 times for Morneau and Albert Pujols and 145 times for Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder.

Even more impressive is the fact that Weeks has done it without the benefit of the walks drawn by the three sluggers. Pujols led the league with 56, while Fielder was three behind him at 53 and Morneau was seventh with 49.

Weeks has just 39 walks, though his 15 times hit by pitch lead the Majors.

“He’s a unique leadoff hitter,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “He’s got the leadoff home runs, and he still gets on base.”

Weeks, along with right fielder Corey Hart, provide as much power out of the top two spots in the lineup as you’ll find in the Majors.

With 14 home runs and 50 RBIs, Weeks leads the Majors in both categories among leadoff hitters. Hart, who was named Sunday to his second All-Star Game, leads the Majors in home runs (16) and RBIs (49) since May 15.

“I don’t know if we would be 1-2 in most lineups, but we are in this lineup,” Hart said last month following a game in which he and Weeks combined to go 6-for-9 with two runs and three RBIs. “We try to get on base for the guys behind us. It’s nice to drive in runs as well, but I think our goal is to get on as much as we can for Prince and [Ryan Braun].”

Brewers beat 6/30

June 30, 2010 Comments off

Fielder puts slow start behind him

MILWAUKEE — Prince Fielder has quickly made his slow start a thing of the past.

Fielder is just trying to do what works best for him, and it’s working pretty well right now. On the Brewers’ current homestand, Fielder has four home runs and eight RBIs, increasing his season totals to 17 homers and 35 RBIs.

With his recent power barrage, including a pair of long balls Tuesday night, Fielder leads the Majors with 10 home runs in the month of June. The key, according to Fielder, is just doing what he’s always done.

“I’m just trying to swing like I swing,” Fielder said. “I’ve never been a guy to swing easy. When you’re not getting results people want you to do different things.

“The only thing I’ve been trying to do different is swing the way I swing. I’ve never been a guy that hits singles to left field. That just happens.”

Fielder remains fifth on the team in RBIs with 35, but it has more to do with timing than with Fielder’s production. While he has 10 homers this month, he also has just 16 RBIs.

Including a two-run shot in the third inning on Tuesday, only four of Fielder’s 17 home runs this season have come with runners on base. None of them has been with more than one runner on base.

By comparison, out of Fielder’s 46 home runs in 2009, nearly half (24) came with runners on base, including nine with two or more runners on base.

Still, with Fielder hitting home runs, the Brewers’ offense, which leads the National League in home runs, total bases and extra-base hits entering Wednesday’s game, is only going to get better.

“His RBI total has gone up, too,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. “However he wants to knock them in — solo homers, base hits — it’s OK with me.”

Milwaukee pitchers providing some offense

MILWAUKEE — Facing the Brewers, the No. 9 spot in the batting order is hardly an easy out. Yovani Gallardo reaffirmed that on Tuesday night, going 1-for-1 with a solo homer and a walk.

With a .219 batting average, Brewers pitchers lead the National League. Milwaukee’s pitching staff is tied for first with 33 hits and 14 runs. Brewers pitchers also rank first in home runs (3), RBIs (14), doubles (8), on-base percentage (.261), slugging percentage (.331), and OPS (.592).

Along with their success, the Brewers staff has even coined a phrase to describe it.

“These guys have got a quote in here in the dugout,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha. “They say, ‘Pitchers rake.'”

While the hurlers’ ability to swing that bat has come in handy quite a bit of late, Macha would like to see them improve on another aspect of the game at the plate: bunting.

The Brewers rank last in the NL with just eight sacrifice bunts, while they have more than four times as many hits.

“We’ve been working on our bunting,” Macha said. “We’ve got more hits than we do sacrifice bunts. So we’ve been putting some time in on the bunting, because eventually we’re going to need to move [a runner] up.”

Still, on the current homestand, Brewers pitchers have been even better at the plate than their season average of .219. More than double that even.

With eight hits in 18 at-bats, the pitching staff had posted a .444 batting average entering Wednesday’s final game of the homestand. Along with that .444 mark, the Brewers have gotten two RBIs, five runs, a walk and a home run out of the pitcher’s spot.

Each of the Brewers’ five starters — Gallardo, Randy Wolf, Dave Bush, Chris Narveson and Manny Parra — has contributed at least one hit, while all of them except Bush have either scored a run, driven in a run, or both.

“We have some pretty good [hitting] pitchers,” Gallardo said. “We have a lot of fun up their hitting. [Wolf], [Bush], Narveson and Manny, we take it serious. For certain situations, you can only help yourself out. I think that’s what we try to do.

“We joke around out there when we hit BP, but you never know when it’s going to come in handy.”

Offense struggles with shadows at home

MILWAUKEE — The shadows aren’t going anywhere, deal with it.

That quote, from Rickie Weeks in 2009 about the shadows during Miller Park day games, was recalled by manager Ken Macha on Wednesday when asked about the effect they’ve had on the Brewers’ offense.

Even so, the Brewers have not hit well during the day at home.

In 14 home day games, the Brewers have just a .238 team batting average, with just 51 runs scored and 15 home runs.

“Get it out of your mind and go up there and bear down the best you can,” Macha suggested before Wednesday’s game. “I hate the saying, but it is what it is. The other teams play in the same thing.

“Does it make it tougher? Yes, it does. But there are shadows in Anaheim, there are shadows in Boston, almost every stadium’s got the shadows.”

On the season, the Brewers have been nearly 30 points better overall than in home day games, with a .267 batting average. With 96 home runs in 77 games, the Brewers average 1.24 homers per game.

That rate goes up slightly at night, as they hit 1.29 per game. During the day, however, it dips to just 1.07 homers per game.

Some hitters, however, perform even better during home day games. Weeks and Casey McGehee are hitting .320 and .308, respectively, during home game days. Even more impressive is Carlos Gomez at home during the day, with a .303 average, compared to just .239 overall this season.

Most affected by the shadows seems to be left fielder Ryan Braun. In 53 at-bats during home day games, Braun has just eight hits, good for a .151 batting average.

Braun entered Wednesday having not hit a home run at home during the day, while collecting just three doubles for a .208 slugging percentage. With a .207 on-base percentage — boosted by three walks — Braun has just a .415 OPS in home day games.

Of all hitters with at least 25 at-bats in home day games, Braun’s average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and OPS rank last.

With that in mind, day games at Miller Park may seem like a good time for a rare day off for the Brewers’ left fielder. For Macha and the Brewers, however, the current roster situation and recent pitching matchups have not allowed for such a move.

“At a later date I might give him a day off when we have a day game,” Macha said. “Today, we’ve got a lefty going. The last day game, they had a lefty going.

“My roster is what it is, too.”

Davis has successful rehab outing

MILWAUKEE — He was not as dominant as in his last rehab start, but Doug Davis was effective on Wednesday as he took the mound for Class A Wisconsin in Appleton.

Davis tossed seven strong innings, surrendering just one run on six hits. He hit a batter, walked three and recorded four strikeouts. The lefty tossed 96 pitches — four shy of his targeted total of 100 — with 63 going for strikes.

Following the start — Davis’ last rehab outing — he will meet the Brewers in St. Louis. Davis is expected to pitch again during the Brewers’ four-game home series with the Giants next week. On normal rest, his next start would coincide with that of right-hander Dave Bush.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Narveson twirls gem to give Brewers victory

June 27, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Chris Narveson may not need to find a clubhouse assistant to pitch the first inning for him after all.

Instead, Narveson just pitched the first inning in the bullpen.

After taking his initial warmup easy before Sunday’s 3-0 victory over the Mariners, Narveson and catcher Jonathan Lucroy simulated the first two batters he would face in the bullpen before heading out to the mound. The idea was to shake the struggles that accounted for a 12.27 first-frame ERA this season.

And it worked. Narveson responded by going out and turning in a career-best performance for his seventh win of the season.

The southpaw tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing just five baserunners on four hits and one walk while recording seven strikeouts as the Brewers took the rubber match at Miller Park.

“Just mentally being prepared for them to play my game rather than seeing how they would react to my stuff,” said Narveson, referring to what he changed in his approach on the mound.

“I wanted to put the pressure on them and try to command the strike zone so they were hitting my pitch, instead of falling behind and have to maybe come into their pitch.”

After a two-out double in the first by left fielder Milton Bradley, the Brewers lefty responded quickly by getting third baseman Jose Lopez to fly out. That began a stretch of nine consecutive retired batters.

Through three innings, Narveson — who entered the game with a 5.76 ERA — had retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. He extended that streak to 11 of 12 before giving up a single to Lopez in the fourth.

“He did a nice job of getting ahead of our hitters,” said Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. “After that, I thought we helped him out quite a bit with pitches outside of the zone.”

Before a sixth-inning single by second baseman Chone Figgins, Narveson had retired 17 of 19. Through seven innings, Narveson sent down 21 of the 24 batters he faced.

To complete the deviation from the norm, Narveson’s last inning was his worst, as he allowed two Seattle batsmen to reach base — on a leadoff single by shortstop Jack Wilson and a walk to Ryan Langerhans. Thanks to an inning-ending double play, though, Narveson escaped with his scoreless outing intact.

“He was awesome. He mixed his pitches well and threw his strengths to the hitters’ weaknesses,” Lucroy said. “He’s just keeping the ball down. All of his pitches were working today. Whenever the pitcher has that ability to mix all of his pitches and locate them and keep them down, it’s very rare that a guy gets beat doing that.”

A leadoff home run by Rickie Weeks provided all the offense Narveson and the Brewers needed.

Weeks was not done, however, as he finished the day 4-for-5, adding a double in the third and a pair of singles in the fifth and seventh. After opening the game with a homer, double and single, Weeks came up a triple shy of the cycle.

The four hits tied a career high, and it was Weeks’ fourth-career four-hit game. He last recorded four hits in a game on Sept. 2, 2008, against the Mets.

“It feels good,” Weeks said. “It’s just another day for me I guess. For the most part, you just try to get on base and you try to score runs to help the ballclub win.

“That’s my job — to get on base and try to score some runs.”

The Brewers added a pair in the fifth as Alcides Escobar scored on a Corey Hart double and Hart came around one batter later on a sharply hit Prince Fielder single to right.

With the RBI, Fielder made it four consecutive games in which he’s driven in a run.

While his numbers are still down from a year ago, the Brewers first baseman now sits second on the team with 15 home runs and fifth with 31 RBIs.

The Brewers improved to 5-1 on their current homestand with three games remaining against the Astros. Milwaukee is seven games under .500 at 34-41, and the Brewers sit 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds.

According to skipper Ken Macha, the Brewers are doing what they need to if they want to get out of their self-dug hole.

“What I put a lot of stock in is winning series,” Macha said. “That’s a step in the right direction, winning the series. The sweep [against the Twins] was a big plus, because that takes a couple other series out of the way that you have to win.

“If we had lost today, it would have been a step backwards. We want to just keep moving forward.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.