By Curt Hogg
Once again the Mets tied the game late but the Brewers put up four runs on the New York bullpen to win.
A Lucas Duda two-run home run off Yovani Gallardo tied the game up for the Mets in the seventh inning before Milwaukee rallied with two runs in both the eighth and ninth to crack the game open.
Manny Acosta (1-1) walked Nyjer Morgan and gave up a single to Ryan Braun before giving way to lefty Tim Byrdak. He got Fielder to hit a grounder sharply to second baseman Justin Turner, who threw the ball away attempting to turn a double play. Jerry Hairston lined a ball past a diving David Wright to score Braun and give the Brewers a 4-2 lead.
In the ninth, a Nyjer Morgan suicide squeeze plated Craig Counsell, who singled as a pinch hitter on his 41st birthday. Braun then doubled in Corey Hart to give the Brewers a 6-2 lead that LaTroy Hawkins would not relinquish.
Gallardo (14-8) picked up the win despite exiting the game while tied. The only blemish was the two-run blast by Duda. He struck out six and walked only one to get within one win of the National League lead of 15 shared by three.
Milwaukee (76-52) moves to 9 games ahead in first place while St. Louis will face the Cubs on Sunday Night Baseball later on. The 9 game lead is the largest first-place margin in franchise history. Since the All Star break Milwaukee has the second-best road record, improving to 29-36 away from Miller Park.
Casey McGehee led off the scoring with a two-out solo home run off Mets starter R.A. Dickey in the fourth.
Dickey lasted seven innings and gave up two runs, leaving the game on the hook for the loss before Duda took him off.
Braun went 3-5 with a double, two runs scored, and his 81st RBI of the season. He also stole two bases; his swipe of second in the sixth led to run after Fielder’s single scored him, and stole third before Hairston’s RBI single in the eighth.
Fielder improved his league-leading RBI total to 98 with his two on Sunday. He leads Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard by two in that category.
By Curt Hogg
It just seemed that the Brewers were going to blow a 7-1 lead in the 7th to the New York Mets.
In fact, they did just that, with former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez helping to blow the six run lead before Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee’s RBI hits gave the Brewers the lead back in the ninth.
Milwaukee dealt the first blows of the game. Ryan Braun, Fielder, and Yuniesky Betancourt all homered to give the team each of their seven early runs. While the team’s late game heroics proved crucial to victory, Ron Roenicke brought a different look to the game.
“We talk about solo home runs, they can win games late. But three-run home runs that are huge win games early,” said the Brewers skipper.
With the win and a St. Louis loss, the Brewers extended their NL Central lead to 8 1/2 games, matching the largest lead in franchise history.
The Mets plated five runs in the sixth off of Brewers starter Randy Wolf and reliever Takashi Saito before K-Rod lost the lead. Josh Thole’s two-out double tied the game up before Angel Pagan hit an upper-deck home run to give New York the lead.
With New York up 9-7 in the ninth, Jason Isringhausen came in and couldn’t find the zone. Pinch hitters Jonathan Lucroy and Nyjer Morgan walked to lead off the inning before Corey Hart singled to load the bases. Just as he battled back to a full count against Mark Kotsay, he walked him to make it a 9-8 game.
Manny Acosta came in and promptly retired Ryan Braun. He had Fielder on the ropes before the slugger singled past the glove of second baseman Justin Turner to score Morgan and tie the game at 9. McGehee followed with a first-pitch single to put the Brewers up 11-9.
John Axford seized the momentum and retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his 34th consecutive save and 37th overall.
For Wolf, not picking up the win did not ruin the enjoyment in the clubhouse.
“To me it was more gratifying to come back and win,” Wolf said. “It’s one thing to have a (six)-run lead and blow it, another to come back.”
He ended up going 6 1/3 innings while allowing five runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.
Rodriguez (5-2) picked up the win despite blowing the lead.
By Curt Hogg
Probables: Friday: Shaun Marcum (10-5, 3.50) vs. Mike Pelfrey (6-9, 4.53); Saturday: Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.30) vs. Chris Capuano (9-11, 4.58); Sunday: Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.55) vs. R.A. Dickey (5-11, 3.77 era)
-Mets SS Jose Reyes will miss the series while on the DL with a hamstring injury.
-Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks took light batting practice Thursday, but he won’t be back for at least 10 days.
The Brewers managed to take 3 of 4 games against the Dodgers with poor timely hitting. The only instances with RISP when a player came through were Mark Kotsay on Tuesday to win the game and Jerry Hairston on Wednesday to give Milwaukee the lead.
At Citi Field where few home runs are hit, the Brewers will need timely hitting and good base running to win the series. This doesn’t require too much analysis, obviously.
No Gopher Balls
When Zack Greinke gave up a solo homer to Tony Gwynn in the seventh inning on Wednesday, it was the first home run given up by a Brewers pitchers since August 11. The Mets as a team don’t hit many home runs. David Wright leads the team with 10 long balls. If Milwaukee pitchers suddenly start surrendering gopher balls to the Mets hitters, they will be in trouble. Greg Maddux always said he wanted to make offenses get three singles and never just one swing to score. This should be the team’s motto entering spacious Citi Field.
Fielder clearly struggled against Dodgers pitching. From Ted Lilly to Clayton Kershaw, it seemed that all Los Angeles pitchers had him off-balance.
We all know what a hot Prince Fielder does to this Brewers team. Get him to heat up in the Big Apple.
As we all know, Prince Fielder’s contract is up at the end of this season, making him an unrestricted free agent. He and Albert Pujols are expected to be the top two prized free agents this winter, and the Brewers do not appear to have high hopes of signing him.
With Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, and Yovani Gallardo all inked to long contracts, the money is simply not there to keep Fielder in Milwaukee for years to come. However, there may be a chance for the team to still keep him for another year.
Fielder has come out and said he would like to stay in Milwaukee, but who doesn’t say that about their team at the present? Either way, GM Doug Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio can sit their All Star first baseman down and give him a tempting one-year deal. While other teams may offer around $15-20 million per year for upwards of eight years, the Brewers could afford to pay him more to stay in Milwaukee for one more season before evidently losing him.
Why only go for one year?
The answer is simple; the Brewers have nearly the entire 2011 team returning next season. The rotation of Marcum, Greinke, Gallardo, Wolf, and Narveson will still be in tact. Axford will be back. Braun, Hart, Weeks, Betancourt, Lucroy, McGehee, Morgan, and Gomez will all be back. If the Brewers sell this pitch to Fielder and offer him more for 2012 than the competition, it would be a pretty lucrative deal.
By Kaitlyn Saugstad
Prince is having one of his best seasons yet, participating in both the Home Run Derby, All-Star Game, in which he took home MVP honors, and posting astounding numbers. Just in the last ten games, he has a batting average of .471, 17 hits, 11 RBI’s, and three home runs. His offense and leadership have been a big part of the Brewers success this season.
But the big question with Fielder right now is not whether or not he will produce for the rest of the season, but if he will be staying a Brewer for the 2012 season and beyond. As of right now, he has a one year, $15.5 million deal, but once this season is over he is a free agent.
Numerous of other “big name players” are also going to be free agents at the end of the season including Derek Lee, C.C. Sabathia, Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, and Robinson Cano. Most Brewers fans want Prince to stay here in Milwaukee especially after Braun’s new contract and addition of Zach Greinke and Shaun Marcum but realistically, it’s very unlikely that he will stay. With is this season he’s having, his agent—the notorious Scott Boras–will be looking an amazing deal for Prince.
With Fielder on the Brewers, the offense has never been better. He has had multiple clutch hits that bring in important runs in close games. Fielder is hitting for average as well this season, eclipsing the .300 mark. His walk rate has risen from seasons past which shows he has improved not only how he sees the ball but also his patience at the plate. So far in his career, he has 534 walks 218 home runs, 948 hits, 621 RBI and a slugging percentage of .539. In addition, this season he is leading the Crew in home runs, misses literally no games, shows leadership and makes the spectacular play here and there. Yet there is a lot people over look when they talk about Prince.
He already has 11 errors which almost triples last season’s total amount of errors. Fielder’s Rdrs/yr (runs saved above average per year) is -6. He is definitely a liability in the field.
If Prince does leave we would have more room in our salary to work with getting new players to help with our defense. Prince is looking for another big deal after his record breaking deal this past season but if they do want him they will have to make a lot of changes just to be able to afford him but what happens if we do sign him and he doesn’t produce like he’s projected to? Luckily, he hasn’t been seriously injured and hopefully he’ll stay healthy for the rest of the season but in all honesty this is probably going to be Prince’s last year here.
Since Fielder made his debut on June 13th, 2005 he has been a fan favorite but is keeping this power house slugger the right choice? Yes, it would be nice if he stayed here in Milwaukee but it will all depend on how we do the rest of the season the better we do it will give him more of a reason to stay here in Milwaukee.
Editor’s Note: Yeah, that’s right. We have another writer at Plushdamentals.
Just what the doctor prescribed to end the Brewers’ road woes was a trip to Houston, home of the lowly Astros. A team featuring multiple players that, respectably, should be in AAA, yet due to necessity, are showcasing themselves on the Big League club.
On Friday, the Crew rolled to an easy 8-1 victory behind a strong performance by Gallardo. The Saturday night special was consistent offense and timely hitting, along with an incredible game-ending display of Plushdamentals by Nyjer Morgan. The rubber match of the series showcased Zack Greinke baffling hitters over 7 one-run innings and made Brewers fans get a little nervous when Marco Estrada gave up two runs.
Prince Fielder was in an offensive groove all series. He hit home runs numbers 25 and 26 and drove in 6 runs in the series. The offense as a whole is streaking, having posted double digit hit totals in 9 consecutive games, the longest such streak in the MLB this season.
Now the Crew, after on off day Monday, is off to St. Louis to face the second-place Cardinals. The Redbirds (3 games back) will be without catcher Yadier Molina for the first game, serving a five-game suspension for this incident. Probables for the Brewers are Marcum (Tuesday), Wolf (Wednesday), and Gallardo (Thursday).