When I found out Narveson would be starting one my final games at Miller Park this season, let alone against the Cubs, I had to just grin and bear it. The Brewers season was over, afterall, but I don’t ever like to go into a game with the anticipation of a loss. Even though Narveson won his previous start, Milwaukee had very little to show for so far in the series, amassing a measly 4 runs in 2 games, while giving up 17 to Chicago.
As it turned out, I had absolutely no reason to be worried.
After Nik, Mol and I settled in to our seats, we looked around at the poor showing for a marquee game. Attendance was just over 31,000 for the night and we girls pretty much just got to chatting about anything other than the game.
All of the sudden, it’s the top of the 3rd and my most hated Cub, Reed Johnson, leads off the inning with a double. As I groaned the obligatory, “I hate Reed Johnson,” I glanced at the scoreboard to see that his hit was the first allowed in the game and Narveson had already recored 3 strikeouts. And then Johnson was unable to score. Darn!
The Brewers walked away with a 3-2 win last night, all 3 runs coming via the longball. Prince Fielder smacked a 2-run dinger, his 42nd of the year, in the 4th and also coasted above Poo Holes in the RBI column once more, now with 131, while Jody Gerut added that 3rd insurance run in the 6th.
The obvious hero of the game was Chris Narveson, though, striking out 10 over 5 2/3 innings, only allowing 4 hits. The only mistake he made was a first-pitch fastball to Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija to start off the 6th. That mistake didn’t end up costing the game, but it was Samardzija’s first major league hit, so I’m sure he felt pretty good about it. After that, Narveson padded the already impressive strikeout total by fanning Tyler Colvin and Derrek Lee before being pulled after throwing only 70 pitches.
Todd Coffey made his amusing sprint to the mound in record time to then finish out the 6th and the only other Chicago run allowed came from a small string of hits put together while Police Academy’s Tackleberry look-a-like David Weathers was on the hill in the 7th. No biggie though, as Felipe Lopez, second baseman extraordinaire, was able to pull off a very close play at first, then had an amazing line-drive catch to end the inning. If it wasn’t a WebGem, it certainly deserved to be. Claudio Vargas pitched a scoreless 8th, proving me wrong in my wavering trust in his abilities, then before we knew it, it was Trevor Time. Hoffman recorded his 35th save of the season and added to his All-Time lead, now standing at 589.
Chris Narveson looks to get at least one more start this season, but with Monday’s scheduled off-day, it could turn into 2. I’m pretty much sold on him to get as many in as the powers that be deem worthy. I know last night could be a fluke, but it could also be a window into what this guy’s capable of. I’d like to think of it as the latter. Narveson deserves to be seen and deserves to be put into consideration to stay with the team for 2010. I realize the Brewers have other, far more pressing pitching issues to take care of in the off-season, but throw Narveson in the mix. I’m pretty much all over that guy.
So tonight the Phillies look to close in on the post-season, sending J.A. Happ (10-4, 2.77 ERA) to the mound to face Jeff Suppan (7-10, 4.76 ERA).
The Phillies lead the NL East by 6.5 games over Atlanta, whose elimination number is 5. It’s a possibility during this 4-game series that Philadelphia, unless Milwaukee can hold them off, could be celebrating once again at Miller Park. Last season, of course, we all remember Philly winning the Division Series and the champagne being uncorked in the visitor’s clubhouse. The Brewers need to embrace the spoiler role and do everything they can to not let that happen again this year.
Alright, so it’s just past the half-way point in the season and the All-Star break is a mere 6 games away. I shouldn’t be too worried, but alas, my team has given me some concerns.
1. Is it completely impossible for the Brewers to take a series against the Cubs?
I mean, come on. They’ve faced each other 10 times so far and the Brewers are down 3-7. They play 7 more games before the end of the season, too. Now, I’m not saying this is an entirely horrible outlook, but I’m kind of thinking about the next 6 games. It would’ve been nice for the Brewers to come home with some momentum, a little mojo working in their favor–is that so much to ask?
2. I would like a new starter before the trade deadline, please.
So would Ryan Braun. I know the Brewers aren’t going to pick up another CC Sabathia, but another arm out there would be extremely helpful. Will Milwaukee be buyers? Win a few more games, and the answer is probably yes. Is Doug Melvin and Co. ready to talk? Not quite yet. All I’m saying is using your bullpen to start games while Manny Parra takes a mental health break and Dave Bush’s arm is fatigued, or whatever, isn’t working out too well. Mike Burns started 3 games so far, only 1 ending favorable for the Brewers. Seth McClung is a reliever and let’s leave it at that. As evidenced by the opening and closing games of this most recent Cubs series, allowing 14 runs isn’t going to help win games. At least Burns didn’t allow all 7 of his to come off the same bat. Don’t you think after a 3-run Derrek Lee homer you’d be a little more careful with the bases loaded, McClung?
3. Run support needs to happen in all games–not just that occasional blowout.
Saturday’s 11-2 win over Chicago was great. We all know I love to see games like that. But what’s been killing me lately are the 1-run losses. Last week’s 1-0 loss to the Mets was weak. Yovani Gallardo pitched a hell of a game and he deserved a much better fate. Friday’s 2-1 loss (besides being a total joke. That was a strike, sir.) was just sad. It’s inexcusable the amount of men left on base there have been in losses like those. I’m not saying powerful offense is the only way to go, but when your starters are struggling (minus Yo) and the holes in the rotation are being filled with relievers, the offense needs to step up more than usual. Yo and Jeff Suppan gave great starts in each of those games and they were both squandered by the inability to play small ball.
But okay, before I become a total Debbie Downer, there is something positive I must comment on.
Congrats are in order for Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder for making it to the 2009 NL All-Star team! We fans did all we could to get RB that starting spot in left field for the second year in a row. And you gotta love Charlie Manuel for bolstering that roster with heavy hitters like Prince. I’m thinking maybe the NL could win this year? Maybe?
And also, thanks to Matt Snyder of fanhouse.com for giving some well-deserved props to some guys that didn’t get the All-Star nod. I know he’s not eligible this year, but Casey McGehee has been putting up better numbers that a lot of guys in the infield so far this season. So, no All-Star game, but Rookie of the Year, anyone? Also, thanks for mentioning Yovani Gallardo. The Brewers may not have the best rotation lately, but Yo has been proving himself again and again and I agree that he could’ve been a valuable asset to Manuel’s team.
The final 6 games before the break will be played at home and the Crew faces 2 of only 4 teams to have a better record than them in the NL, the Cardinals and the Dodgers. I’m not entirely worried, but I’m glad to have ranted a bit.
Tomorrow night’s match-up: Gallardo (8-5, 2.75 ERA) vs. Wainwright (8-5, 3.32 ERA).