by South Side Rob
After losing 2 of 3 in San Francisco, the Brewers came home for their home opener and hung around just enough to take game 1 against the Cubs in dramatic fashion 4-3. In that game, Braden Looper made his Brewer debut and threw the ball very well in my opinion. He established his part of the zone which was down and outside and stayed there the majority of his start. He made a mistake to Milton Bradley and paid for it with a solo shot. He walked 4 but I really feel he was being squeezed by the home plate umpire. 4 walks sounds bad but refusing to give in to the batter and taking the walks instead of throwing a batting-practice get-me-over cookie to the hitter is a big reason why he only gave up 1 run and kept his team in position to win the game which is something a few of our other starters have to yet to learn (Jeff Suppan and Manny Parra).
On Saturday, the Brewers were in line to take a 2nd straight game from the Cubs but a bunch of little misques added themselves up and resulted in a come from behind victory for the Cubs 6-5. Dave Bush was effective until he got around the order for the 3rd time which is something a lot of pitchers in the league struggle with. The Cubs had adjusted to the way Bush was mixing in his pitches and drove a lot of 0-2 pitch counts all over the ballpark which Dave needs to learn how to bounce that 0-2 pitch. Then, the bullpen came in to protect a 5-3 lead for the Brewers and failed to do so which is a major cause for concern.
1 thing after two games with the Cubs I have learned about the Cubs is that right now, their offense isn’t playing up to their “paper” potential which was supposed to be one of the most feared offenses in the league. So far, we haven’t seen that but in the same breath, they make you pay if you do not locate your pitches correctly which is why Aramis Ramirez hit a solo-shot in the 8th off Mark DiFilice and Alfonso Soriano hit a Carlos Villaneuva first-pitch 2-run shot in the 9th to complete the comeback. In the game, the Brewers also gave up a run on a blown call by the 1st base umpire which is part of baseball. Late in that game, it appeared that the Cubs were given an additional 6 inches off the outside of the plate as well which led to many questionable strike calls against the Brewers. I felt is was a major bailout of the Cubs bullpen which, right now, does not look as good as all the so-called experts were suggesting prior to the start of the season.
Going into the Sunday night nationally televised game against the Cubs, the Brewers sit at 2-3. A win would be a major one and we can finish the week 3-3. Not because we would have won the series against the Cubs, moreso because after 5 games in the season, both the offense and the pitching (by the numbers) have been very poor. Before Saturday’s loss, the Brewers were hitting just .192 as a team. Collecting 9 hits on Saturday has allowed them to bring their team average up to .208 with an on-base of just .328. As we seen in San Francisco, this type of offense will not outscore anybody. The pitching started out as poorly as you can with a team ERA of 11.25 after opening day in San Francisco. Then, the Gallardo start knocked it down almost in half to 6.35. Then, Parra, who hit a wall in the 4th or 5th (I can’t remember) ran the team’s ERA back up to 6.84. Looper and the bullpen notwithstanding McClung giving up a 2-run home run to backup catcher Koyie Hill was able to knock the staffs’ ERA down to 5.82. Bush, gave up 2 but was changed with 3 earned runs thanks to the 1st base umpire and the bullpen faltered late giving up 3 total in the 8th and 9th innings to put the staff ERA back up to 5.86.
If you average giving up 6 runs a game, your team cannot be hitting just .208. Tonight’s game is big just on that alone. If we win, I’d be very happy with a week of 3-3 considering both the offense and the pitching have not been close to what we need it to be.