Know Your Foe #32: Brewers Hoping to Rid Themselves of Road Woes in Four-Game Series Against Rockies

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 10: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers is congratulated by teammate Prince Fielder#28 after hitting a three run home run against the Colorado Rockies in the third inning of the spring training baseball game at Maryvale Baseball Park on March 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Milwaukee Brewers (49-43, T-1st in the NL Central)

Last Series vs. Rockies: May 20-22, 2011 (W 3-0 at Miller Park)

Despite only outscoring them by four runs, the Brewers swept a series from the Rockies in Milwaukee during Colorado's well-documented May swoon. The series opener was a 14-inning marathon in which the Brew Crew got a walk-off home run from their All-Star MVP first baseman Prince Fielder. The Rox jumped out to a 4-2 lead against Zack Greinke despite striking out nine times. Part of that was due to Jason Hammel, who hit his first (and only) career big league round-tripper, a two-run shot that gave the Rox their first lead. Chris Iannetta had an RBI single and Jason Giambi hit a solo homer off of Greinke, as well. However, Hammel allowed another run before departing and Rafael Betancourt allowed a game-tying deep fly to Casey McGehee, who is having a very down year. Seth Smith's 13th inning RBI triple was canceled out by a solo homer off the bat of, of all people, Yuniesky Betancourt (courtesy of Huston Street), so the teams would play on. In the 14th, Dexter Fowler hit a bloop single that would score Chris Iannetta. However, the lead was again short-lived, as Felipe Paulino would serve up the deciding two-run homer to Fielder in the bottom-half of the inning.

Game two saw the Brewers' pitchers hold the Rockies' bats to just six hits while racking up ten strikeouts. Shawn Marcum was terrific, as he went eight innings and gave up just a run on four hits while staking claim to eight of those K's. The Brewers only had five hits of their own (all of which came in 6.2 innings against Clayton Mortensen), but a key error by Jose Lopez was likely the difference.

In the series finale, Ubaldo Jimenez pitched an effectively-wild gem, but had a rough fourth inning that cost him the win. Milwaukee had only two hits on the afternoon, but one was a bases-clearing triple off the bat of Ryan Braun after a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Jimenez walked five and struck out four in an eight-inning complete game. Meanwhile, the Rockies continued their seemingly chronic incapability of hitting Randy Wolf, as he allowed just a run on four hits in seven innings.

Latest Series Results: L 1-2 vs. Arizona; W 3-1 vs. Cincinnati

Despite being outscored by a run over the course of the entire season, the Brewers sit atop the NL Central (along with the Cardinals), mostly because of an offense that has the ability to keep them in every single game, no matter who is pitching. In their lineup, you will find five well above-average hitters, one slightly-above-average-hitting catcher (but is well above-average for his position), a guy who has been solid in the past but is down this year, and Yuniesky Betancourt.


Ryan Braun

#8 / Left Field / Milwaukee Brewers

6-1

210

R

R

Nov 17, 1983


AVG OBP SLG
2011 - Ryan Braun .320 .402 .559


Although the Large Prince of Milwaukee leads the team in homers, Braun is the team's most valuable and integral player. In addition to his astronomical 172 wRC+, Braun leads the club in WAR (4.1) and stolen bases (19), plus he doesn't strike out a ton for a power hitter and can draw a walk with the best of them. And, while he is still a below-average fielder (-6.4 UZR/150), he has improved every year of his big league career since finishing 2007 with a -41.5 UZR/150 as a third baseman.

The one major caveat for this team offensively is one that we're all too familiar with ourselves, in that they struggle on the road. While they boast a 123 sOPS+ in the confines of their home ballpark, the Crew has managed just an 89 sOPS+ everywhere else. Since their pitching staff does not have drastic home/road spilts, this can probably be viewed as the biggest reason why Milwaukee is just 16-29 on the road, compared to 33-14 at home.

Pitching-wise, the Brewers' rotation is led by Marcum, who boasts an ERA+ of 117. He has struck out over eight batters per nine innings while walking under three. Conversely, Zack Grienke has been a very interesting case this season. He has allowed 11 homers in just 74.1 innings, which is part of the reason why he sports a 5.45 ERA (and an unbelievably-low 73 ERA+). However, he is striking out an astonishing 12 batters per nine innings, while walking under two. His K/BB ratio sits at a very healthy 6.19.  My guess is that if he keeps pitching like this in the second half, the relatively high numbers of hits and runs he allows will plummet. Even with the high ERA, Greinke's record is a solid 7-3 so far.

Milwaukee bolstered their bullpen just minutes after the conclusion of Tuesday's All-Star Game by acquiring Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets for two PBTNL's. That shores up an area of concern as, other than John Axford and LaTroy Hawkins, the Brewers' relief corps has been relatively underwhelming so far in 2011.

Friday through Sunday: 4-game series at Coors Field

Expected Pitching Matchups
Thursday, July 14, 2011 @ 6:40 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Yovani Gallardo 10-5 19 19 1 1 0 0 117.1 116 55 49 13 44 104 3.76 1.36


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ubaldo Jimenez 4-8 17 17 2 1 0 0 104.1 95 55 48 8 41 95 4.14 1.30


Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 6:40 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Chris Narveson 6-5 18 18 0 0 0 0 102.1 109 55 54 9 40 89 4.75 1.46


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Juan Nicasio 3-2 8 8 0 0 0 0 44.0 49 25 24 7 13 34 4.91 1.41


Saturday, July 16, 2011 @ 6:10 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Zack Greinke 7-3 13 13 0 0 0 0 74.1 77 51 45 11 16 99 5.45 1.25


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jhoulys Chacin 8-7 19 18 1 1 0 0 116.2 85 44 41 15 50 101 3.16 1.16


Sunday, July 17, 2011 @ 1:10 PM MT

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Shaun Marcum 7-3 19 19 0 0 0 0 111.2 93 44 42 13 33 101 3.39 1.13


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Aaron Cook 0-4 9 6 0 0 0 0 34.0 46 23 22 1 14 13 5.82 1.76

 

Expected Lineup

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ HR RBI
Rickie Weeks 2B .278 .351 .486 .366 133 17 39
Nyjer Morgan CF .327 .355 .497 .369 135 3 19
Ryan Braun LF .320 .402 .559 .423 172 16 62
Prince Fielder 1B .297 .415 .575 .420 170 22 72
Corey Hart RF .270 .350 .465 .351 123 10 26
Casey McGehee 3B .223 .279 .315 .263 63 5 36
Yuniesky Betancourt SS .237 .255 .342 .255 57 5 30
Jonathan Lucroy C .280 .323 .415 .324 104 7 36

 

Bench

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ HR RBI
George Kottaras C .234 .288 .383 .296 85 2 8
Craig Counsell IF .170 .270 .210 .234 42 0 4
Josh Wilson Util .273 .314 .545 .378 141 2 3
Carlos Gomez OF .225 .273 .387 .305 91 6 18
Mark Kotsay OF .263 .326 .350 .302 89 2 18

Closers

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - John Axford 2-2 42 0 0 0 23 2 41.1 39 15 13 2 17 53 2.83 1.35


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Francisco Rodriguez 2-2 42 0 0 0 23 3 42.2 44 15 15 3 16 46 3.16 1.41

 

Injuries


Milwaukee Brewers Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Ryan Braun calf 07/12/2011

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Mitch Stetter hip 05/15/2011
Brandon Kintzler triceps 05/05/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Manny Parra elbow 03/22/2011

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