Milwaukee Brewers Weekly Check-In (4-25-11)

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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 surprisingly pleasant series with the Phillies, big money for Ryan Braun and an upcoming series with the rival Reds!

By: Nick Grays


Standings:

Milwaukee Brewers (11-10) (5-2 in series)
– Second in the NL Central
– Trail the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals by .5 game
Brewers are 7-3 at home and 4-7 on the road
– Run differential at +13 (Positive for first time this season)

Last Week’s Headlines:

Brewers Surprise the Phillies on the Road

In the past, Milwaukee has really struggled to play in the band-box known as Citizens Bank Park. With pitching superstars Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee set to toe the rubber, it didn’t seem conceivable for the Brewers to win the series in Philadelphia. Add in the fact that the Brewers were just swept by the Nationals, it seemed downright impossible.

Boy were those perceptions wrong as it was the Brewers pitching who was dominant. In the three-game series, Milwaukee outscored the Phillies 19-6 and held their batters to a pitiful .163 (17-for-104) batting average.

In game two, Randy Wolf of all people out-dueled Halladay en route to a 9-0 Brewers win. Halladay was tagged with six runs in six and two-thirds innings while Wolf went six innings and yielded only two hits.

In the final game versus Cliff Lee, the Brewers appeared to be cruising towards their first sweep of the season, but a shaky bullpen gave the Brewers their only loss of the series.

Yes, the baseball season is long and no-where near the end, but a series win in Philadelphia is something to be proud of.

Was Locking Up Brauny a Good Thing?

If you haven’t heard, the Brewers have locked up fan-favorite Ryan Braun forever.

Alright, I may be exaggerating a little bit, but Milwaukee did sign the hard-hitting outfielder through 2020, giving him a total of $145.5 million over the next nine seasons.

At first glance, it may seem like a lot of money for a small market team like the Brewers, but let me tell you why it’s probably the best investment they’ve made in years.

Before the era of Mark Attanasio and Doug Melvin, Brewers fans came accustomed to watching good baseball players blossum in Milwaukee and leave for more money somewhere else.

With the blockbuster extension of Braun, they not only end that possibility, but also give Braun the opportunity to play his entire career out for one team, a rarity in MLB these days.

In reality, the money is not much of a big deal because Ryan puts fans in the seats. Revenue from ticket sales and merchandise accounts for a lot more than you would think.

Lastly, the guy is a game-changer, he hits with power and for average. This season, he’s reached base in all 21 games thus far and combined with Prince Fielder to lead the majors with 40 RBI (Fielder leads majors with 22).

Looking Ahead:

The Reds and Brewers Meet Once Again

Don’t think the Brewers have forgotten about being swept in Cincinnati to open the season. The series left a bad taste in the mouth of the entire team.

However, the truth is that this Brewers team has improved a lot since those three losses. Not only does the team rank second in the majors in on-base percentage (.344), the pitching has looked good with 12 quality starts (seventh in the league) and a team ERA of 3.62 (ninth in the league).

Milwaukee pitching will have to be at it’s best against a Reds team who leads the majors in runs and ranks in the top five in pretty much every other major offensive category.

Monday, April 25th 7:10 PM (vs. Cincinnati)
Probable Pitchers: LHP Chris Narveson (1-0) vs. RHP Bronson Arroyo (2-2)

Tuesday, April 26th 7:10 PM (vs. Cincinnati)
Probable Pitchers: RHP Marco Estrada (1-0) vs. RHP Mike Leake (3-0)

Wednesday, April 27th 12:10 PM (vs. Cincinnati)
Probable Pitchers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-1) vs. TBA

Thursday, April 28th (OFF)

Friday, April 29th 7:05 PM (@ Houston)
Probable Pitchers: RHP Shaun Marcum (2-1) vs. RHP Brett Myers (1-0)

Saturday, April 30th 6:05 PM (@ Houston)
Probable Pitchers: LHP Randy Wolf (3-2) vs. LHP Wandy Rodriguez (1-3)

Sunday, May 1st 1:05 PM (@ Houston)
Probable Pitchers: TBA vs. TBA

What did you think of the Brewers’ series with the Phillies? Was Ryan Braun’s extension really a good thing and can the Brewers take down the Reds at Miller Park? 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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