Milwaukee Brewers Weekly Check-In (4-18-11)

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If you’re not one of those baseball nerds who follows every single thing going on in the Milwaukee Brewers Organization, don’t worry, because The Sports Bank’s Nick Grays has you covered with what happened in the past week and what’s going on in the future.

And if you are one of those nerds, feel free to join in on some good old analysis of America’s pastime in the Brew City.

This week we talk about the Brewers’ pair of Mexican hurlers, rain-outs and much much more.

By: Nick Grays

Standings:

Milwaukee Brewers (7-8) (3-2 in series)
– Tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs for third place in NL Central
– Trail the division-leading Reds by two games
– Run differential at -5

Last Week’s Headlines:

Brewers Experience Rare Rain-Outs on the Road

Over the past two seasons, the Brewers have had only two games postponed. They’ve already matched that total a few weeks into the season after a lot of rain caused games in Pittsburgh and D.C. to be postponed.

It raises the question of why more teams don’t have retractable domes like that of Milwaukee’s Miller Park. No one likes to see the tarp rolled out for lengthy rain delays and double-headers are simply brutal for everyone involved (baseball games are long as it is).

Milwaukee would have liked another game against the Pirates as starting pitchers Shaun Marcum (pictured above) and Randy Wolf looked brilliant while holding the team to only one run in the week’s only two wins.

The trip to the nation’s capital was an entirely different story for the Brewers. Similar to the season-opening series versus the Reds, the Brewers pitching and offense were out of sync in a sweep for the Nationals.

Two Mexican Pitchers Going in Different Directions

There wasn’t a lot to be learned in the series versus Washington, but starting pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada (pictured to the right) did stand-out; Estrada for all the right reasons and Gallardo for all the wrong ones.

In the second-half of a double-header on Sunday, Estrada looked great while effectively using his change-up to record seven strikeouts and hold the Nationals to only one run in six innings. He’s worked out quite well as a fill-in man while Zack Greinke works his way back from a cracked rib.

I would expect Estrada to be moved back to the bull-pen once Greinke returns and if any of the other starters are forced to visit the DL or miss a start, Estrada will be first in line to take the mound.

Gallardo on the other hand has not looked his self since throwing a complete game shut-out versus the Braves. His command has been a bit off while walking four and giving up a total of 11 runs on 17 hits. Moreover, Gallardo has failed to pitch past the fifth inning in each of his last two starts.

Manager Ron Roenicke is just as perplexed as anyone by Yo’s recent struggles.

“I don’t have any answers for it,” Roenicke said. “He started off good, and then lost the command. I don’t know what it is when ‘Yo’ loses his command, because he had it all spring and he had it the first two games. When he came out today, I thought he had it to begin with, and then he lost it.”

Looking Ahead:

Pivotal Series with the Philadelphia Phillies Looms

Starting Monday, the Brewers will have the chance to take on a team which is considered one of the best in the National League. If Milwaukee wants to live up to the expectations bestowed upon them in the off-season, they need to play well against the teams they could potentially meet in the playoffs.

Believed to be the best team in the NL by many, Philadelphia is off to a 10-4 start with the league’s second-best batting average (.298) and a stacked rotation consisting of aces Roy Halladay(pictured to the right), Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt. The Brewers won’t have to see Oswalt, but are due to face Halladay and Lee.

If the Brewers sputtering offense can get going against the Phillies’ starters, it could turn some heads around the MLB and provide some momentum to a team that initially appears to be a bad road team.

Monday, April 18th 6:05 PM (@ Philadelphia)
Probable Pitchers: RHP Shaun Marcum (2-1) vs. RHP Joe Blanton (0-1)

Tuesday, April 19th 6:05 PM (@ Philadelphia)
Probable Pitchers: LHP Randy Wolf (1-2) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (2-0)

Wednesday, April 20th 12:05 PM (@ Philadelphia)
Probable Pitchers: LHP Chris Narveson (1-0) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (2-1)

Thursday, April 21st (OFF)

Friday, April 22nd 7:10 PM (vs. Houston)
Probable Pitchers: TBA vs. TBA

Saturday, April 23rd 6:10 PM (vs. Houston)
Probable Pitchers: TBA vs. TBA

Sunday, April 24th 1:10 PM (vs. Houston)
Probable Pitchers: TBA vs. TBA

What did you take from the Brewers series with the Pirates and Nationals? Can they take out the Phillies? Let me know by commenting below!

Nick Grays is a senior editor at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

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