Posted by: Opey | August 15, 2007

Crew Week In Review: August 8 – 14

There are still some signs of life in this team.  Don’t let the pundits on ESPN tell you any differently.  The team went 2-3 over the last week, but there were some great rays of hope that broke through the clouds.  The biggest positive sign was that the team was able to take 2 of 3 from the ‘Stros on the road.  This team has been a Jekyll and Hyde case when it comes to road vs home records, so taking a road series anywhere is a major positive sign.  Another great indication that this team is willing to do what is necessary to win has been some of the lineup moves.  I had mentioned in previous posts that I thought a consistent lineup is needed for players to truly feel comfortable.  I’m going to add a caveat to that statement.  Sometimes, when players are not performing enough in their spot in the order, it’s time for a change.  Over the past few games, Yost moved Hardy to the 8 spot and last night he even moved Braun down to 4th.  Hardy’s move was only temporary, but some thought should be made into making it more permanent.  He seemed to be comfortable hitting in front of the pitcher.  He managed a .333 BA and even hit two HR.  I would advocate putting Weeks in the lead off spot (he may not be back to form yet, but he has shown the ability to get on base, often by walking in the last 7 days) and then putting Hart in the two hole.  I am probably in the minority in that I like the move of Braun down to the 4 spot.  He is the best all around hitter on the team right now, so he is no longer the one who needs protecting.  It has become time for Fielder to benefit from hitting in front of Braun.  I think it will cut down on his strikeouts a bit because he will be seeing better pitches to hit in the 3 spot than he was seeing in the cleanup role.  These next two weeks will tell the story of the rest of the season for the team.  They have to play well at home and hopefully manage to take the series against the Cards and Reds.  They then go on the road to Arizona, San Fran, and then comes the D-Day series against Chicago.  With the Cubs nipping on the Crew’s heels and the Cards charging harder then ever it’s time to see just how special this Milwaukee team really is.

Brewer of the Week: About time.  After looking like he had completely lost his way Francisco Cordero found his good stuff while in Houston and managed to convert 2 save opportunities and gathered 4 strikeouts in his outings, including a 3 strikeout save.  His stuff looked nothing short of nasty while in Houston, which is a tremendous turn of events with the way the bullpen has been looking over the past few weeks.  Good to have the old CoCo back.

Today’s Game: St. Louis Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers, 7:05PM CT

  • Television; FSN-WI, MLB.TV    Radio: Brewers Radio Network (1310 WIBA AM in Madison)
  • Pitching Matchup: Joel Pinero RHP (2-2, 4.5 ERA) vs Yovani Gallardo RHP (4-2, 4.2 ERA)
  • Predictions
    • Other than being roughed up for a loss against the Nats in Washington, Pinero has been lights out for the Cards since coming over from the Bo Sox.  This could be a tough matchup for the Crew.  Gallardo is coming off his first really disappointing outing of the year.  He gave up 11 runs in 2 and 2/3 innings of work against the Rockies.  This will be a true test to see if Yo is mentally ready to be a big league starter.  I think that Gallardo has the stuff to bounce back from such a bad outing and keep the Crew in this game when they need him the most: (7 IP, 6 K, 3 BB, 2 ER)
    • The Brewers offense continues to suffer from a case of fits and spurts.  They came out last night and put up 3 runs in the first inning off of Fielder and Jenkins home runs, but they then only managed to tack on one other run against the Cards.  It appears that Jenkins may have found one of his usual late summer streaks and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  You may see Hall out of the lineup tonight because Mench is the only player with any plate appearances against Pinero and he has had some measure of success against him hitting .280 with a few homers.  I see the streak continuing for Jenkins with a double, Braun staying hot at the plate (2 hits) and Mench launching one into the seats if he sees action tonight.
    • This will be a good game to watch as an indicator of how the next week or two may go for the Brewers.  Yo has had to act as the stopper on a few occasions, but he has to find a way to get past his last outing.  Pinero looks to be on fire, so the Brewers will have to get to him when he is most vulnerable, from the 4th inning on.  I think Yo will get us into the 4th with minimal damage and the offense will chime in for the victory and CoCo will get another save: Cards 3, Brewers 5
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