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Know Your Foe #49: Battle Of The Breweries Moves To Milwaukee

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Milwaukee Brewers (86-62 / 1st in the NL Central / 6.0 GA)

2011 Record vs. Colorado: 5-2 (28 runs scored, 35 runs allowed)

Last Series vs. Rockies: July 14-17 (Split 2-2 at Coors Field)

It's really strange looking back to just mid-July to see where the teams were. The Brewers were 0.5 games back in the NL Central, the Giants were sitting happily on top of the NL West and the Rockies... well, the Rockies were still pretty bad.

Game 1 of this 4 game series was by far the best for Colorado. Ubaldo Jimenez was en route to regaining some sort of value for the Rockies, and regain value he did. 6 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, and a coveted Pitching Win, and Ubaldo seemed on his way to recovery. Yovani Gallardo, however, allowed 6 runs on 11 hits over his 4 innings of work. Ryan Spilborghs, Mark Ellis, Troy Tulowitzki, Ty Wigginton, Ian Stewart, and Chris Iannetta all had multi-hit days, and every batter had at least one hit on the day. Final 12-3 Rockies.

Game 2 was a bit of a tease. Juan Nicasio went 7 shutout innings, and Matt Lindstrom and Huston Street sealed the deal with shutout innings of their own. The bats, while not otherworldly, were good enough, plating Dexter Fowler and Mark Ellis twice apiece, sending Chris Narveson back to the dugout with a Quality Start and a Loss. All this led to us thinking that the Rockies JUST MIGHT have a chance to get back into this thing. Final 4-0 Rockies.

Game 3 brought everyone back to earth, however, as Jhoulys Chacin got shelled for 5 runs. While the Rockies tagged Brewers' pitching for 7 runs of their own, the Rockies pen wasn't able to hold the 7-5 lead and the Brewers walked away with the win. You might also recall this as the game where Cory Blaser thought that "tagged 3 feet away from home" was the same thing as "touched home plate without being tagged at all," leading to the best tantrum we've ever seen from Chris Iannetta. Final 7-8 Brewers.

Finally, Game 4. Aaron Cook just missed the 5 inning mark, and allowed 3 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks in the meantime. The bullpen was solid, allowing only another run past Cook's 3, but that was enough to give the Brewers the edge and split the series. Final 3-4 Brewers.

Latest Series Results: L 1-2 at St. Louis; L 1-3 at Philadelphia

Purple Row did a Q/A exchange with the SBN Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. Here are their stories. Past the jump.

1. Does this Milwaukee run help or hurt the chances of Prince Fielder remaining with the Brew Crew long term?

Any rational fan will tell you that there was never any chance of Fielder staying with the Brewers. Not only should the Brewers not commit that kind of money to one player, but they absolutely can't handcuff ourselves with the length of contract he's looking for. Of course, in a perfect world, I'd love to have him here - it's not just that he brings great offense - you're always rather attached to your homegrown talent. But the Brewers, as the smallest market in the majors, already have a payroll of about $90 million - that puts them in the top half of the league, spending-wise. That's also triple what the payroll was just a few years ago when Mark Attanasio bought the team.

Some fans are adamant that Fielder is happy in Milwaukee and may take a discount to stay here, but the money isn't really the biggest issue. Sure, the $200 million or so would be an incredible burden on Milwaukee, but it's the eight-10 years that Fielder's looking for that would be the biggest burden for the Brewers. Without a DH in the NL, what are they going to do with an aging, overweight slugger at the end of that contract?

2. John Axford has dropped his ERA more than a run over the past 3 months or so. Is he coming into his own legitimately, or has he just gotten the benefit of defense/luck/whatever? That is to say, do we look at Axford as someone who's going to put up this level of production going forward?

After getting his season off to something of a rough start, Axford has converted 39 consecutive saves over his last 60 appearances, the longest streak in Brewer history. The shelf life of closers is notoriously short, but he has the ability to be dominant when he's throwing his secondary pitches for strikes and he's been doing so for most of the season.

What his shelf-life will be - who knows? At this point he's got less than two full seasons under his belt and he's in fifth place on the team's all-time save list. We haven't had a long-term closer in Milwaukee for quite some time. I'd imagine we'll be seeing Axford closing games for Milwaukee for at least a couple of seasons to come.

3. Which member of the Brewers rotation has done the most to put Milwaukee where they are?

It might be a surprise answer, but I'd say Randy Wolf. Last season the Brewers put a lot of pressure on Wolf as they made him their #2 starter. He didn't live up to expectations, putting up an 11-10 record with a 4.68 ERA. But Wolf doesn't really have the stuff to be that high up in the rotation and its possible the stress of it got to him.

We knew what we'd be getting with Yovani Gallardo, Zach Greinke and Shaun Marcum. But Wolf has surprised with his 12-9 record and 3.44 ERA. You can't ask much more from your #4 starter. It's been great for the Brewers to not have a black hole in the back end of their rotation and to be able to count on a solid start from that spot in the rotation.

4. Nyjer Morgan going forward (in 2011): Critical piece to Milwaukee success, or distraction that shouldn't see much more playing time?

We have never viewed him as a distraction. Milwaukee fans are in love with him and his alternate persona, Tony Plush. The hubub in St. Louis recently has not been the norm for Morgan and I think grew out of year-long tensions between the two teams. A lot of stupid has happened between the Cards and Brewers this season, so we see that as a part of the antics of that situation and not a bigger problem. Chris Carpenter is his own kind of special player and he and Morgan clearly rub each other the wrong way.

Both the players and the fans feed off Morgan's energy. He's crazy and outgoing and has provided a spark in the clubhouse this season. His defense has been great, he's still hitting over .300 and when he's at bat in late innings, you just this feeling that he's going to do something special. The Brewers have an incredibly loose, fun clubhouse and Morgan features heavily in it. He's playing in a L/R platoon in CF with Carlos Gomez and that gives the Brewers amazing defensive range at that position.

Whenever you have a player with as much passion as Morgan does, that can sometimes translate negatively. It's like the two sides of the same coin. Occasionally, his competitiveness boils over and I worry sometimes that he doesn't seem to be able to just walk away, but no one in Milwaukee thinks that having Morgan on the team constitutes a problem for the Brewers.

5. It's early yet, but how well do you see Milwaukee stacking up in the NLDS?

It seems like fans are really torn. With this recent slump, quite a few of us (myself included) got worried about this team. For me, the questions are about how the team can handle the post-season. We're obviously all hoping to avoid the Phillies in the first round. To do that, we need a better record than the Diamondbacks. At this point, we're within a 1/2 game of each other for home-field and the #2 seed in the National League.

People are saying that the post-season is different and that anything can happen in a short series, so we can't take recent outings as factors in deciding how the NLDS or NLCS would go. I'm not so sure.

For most of us, our only other experience with the postseason is the 2008 NLDS. The Brewers started Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush in two of those postseason games. Clearly, the Brewers pitching staff is greatly improved since then and that makes me much more secure in their ability to get things done.

Assuming they're playing the Braves, I like the Brewers' chances. While September hasn't been kind to Milwaukee, it's been worse in Atlanta. With Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens dealing with injuries, the Braves rotation isn't as strong as it could be. The Brewers players know this is their shot and I can't imagine the bats will be quiet.



Tuesday, 9/13 @ 6:10PM MT

2011 - Esmil Rogers 6-5 18 11 0 0 0 0 69.0 89 48 48 8 38 55 6.26 1.84

2011 - Zack Greinke 14-6 25 24 0 0 0 0 148.2 140 74 65 17 34 172 3.93 1.17

Wednesday, 9/14 @ 6:10PM MT

2011 - Kevin Millwood 2-2 6 6 0 0 0 0 38.0 42 16 16 7 4 27 3.79 1.21

2011 - Shaun Marcum 12-6 30 30 0 0 0 0 183.0 152 70 66 18 53 145 3.25 1.12


Milwaukee Brewers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brandon Kintzler forearm 05/05/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Manny Parra elbow 03/22/2011
Mitch Stetter hip 05/15/2011