I apologize for that awful pun in the title, but it’s a homage to my recently-retired friend and former TOC contributor Mark Smith. Anyway, how ’bout the Milwaukee Brewers? Since losing two out of three games to the Braves at Miller Park to start the season, the Brewers have won nine straight games, sweeping series in Boston and Philadelphia while transforming Miller Park into a house of horrors as they swept the Pirates this weekend. The Brewers are an MLB-best 10-2 with a +28 run differential that is twice as much as their closest competition in the National League. But it’s not going to get any easier for Milwaukee – 14 of their next 20 games are against the Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds. If they can escape from that stretch with a winning record, maybe it’s time to stop talking about flukes and small samples, and start talking about the resurgent Brewers.
Game of the Day: White Sox 4, Indians 3. This White Sox team might end up with 90 losses and in last place in the AL Central, but one thing is for sure – they are incredibly fun to watch. A solo homer by Marcus Semien in the eighth inning gave Chicago a 2-1 lead over Cleveland, and victory looked like a decent outcome. But then, things fell apart. In the ninth, Michael Brantley reached base on an error by Jose Abreu. Yan Gomes followed with a single, and David Murphy singled to score Brantley on the play to tie the game. After Mike Aviles bunted Murphy and Gomes to second and third respectively and Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out, Gomes scored on a wild pitch by Chicago closer Matt Lindstrom. Goodbye win, right? Not so much. John Axford walked Jordan Danks to lead off the bottom of the ninth, and after Danks stole second and Alejandro de Aza popped up, Alexei Ramirez hit a walk off two-run homer to give the Pale Hose a 4-3 victory.
Pitching Lines of the Day: Kyle Lohse is off to a great start for the Brewers, pitching them past the Pirates 4-1 after allowing one run on four hits in 8 2/3 innings, striking out nine without a walk. Scott Kazmir dominated the Mariners in a 3-0 Athletics win, giving up two hits in six shutout innings, punching out nine and walking none. Martin Perez and Brett Oberholtzer engaged in a nice pitching duel in Texas’ 1-0 win over the Astros, with Perez giving up just five hits over eight scoreless innings, walking three and striking out two, and Oberholtzer allowing one run on five hits in seven innings, walking none and striking out seven. Tyson Ross outpitched Max Scherzer in the Padres’ 5-1 win over the Tigers, allowing one run on six hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out nine.
Hitting Lines of the Day: Ben Zobrist was the lone bright spot fr the Rays in their 12-4 loss to the Reds, going 2/5 with two homers and four RBI. Colby Rasmus carried the Blue Jays to an 11-3 romp in Baltimore, going 3/4 with a double, a homer, two runs, and three RBI. Freddie Freeman stayed white hot in Atlanta’s 10-2, sweep-completing win over Washington, going 2/3 with a double, a homer, two runs, and four RBI. Teammate Andrelton Simmons chipped in with a 2/5 day that included a triple, a homer, and three RBI. Chase Utley continued his hot start to the year in Philadelphia’s 4-3 win over Miami, going 3/4 with two runs scored, a walk, a double, and the game-winning solo homer in the eighth inning. Carlos Beltran pushed the Yankees to a 3-2 win over the Red Sox, going 3/4 with a double and a two-run homer. The Angels pounded the Mets 14-2, and Ian Stewart was a big reason why – he went 2/4 with two runs, three RBI, a walk, a double, and a homer.
Other Games: The Twins edged the Royals 4-3. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 6-4, and life moved on as usual. Brandon Crawford’s walk off homer was the difference in the Giants’ 5-4, ten inning win over the Rockies. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 8-6 to improve to 5-0 against their division rivals this season.
What You Missed: Alex Cobb and Ryan Zimmerman were both put on the DL, and their teams are now in interesting places. Also, Jeff Francoeur was pranked by his teammates with the El Paso Chihuahuas, and the results were spectacular.
Today’s Games: Today, we’ve got a bit of an abbreviated schedule as we do on most Mondays. Chris Archer starts for the Rays in Baltimore. Ervin Santana gets the nod for the Braves in Philly. Homer Bailey and the Reds host the Pirates. Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals take on the Marlins in Miami. Lance Lynn and the Cardinals look to cool off Matt Garza and the Cardinals. Zack Wheeler takes the hill for the Mets in Arizona.
National TV: Braves-Phillies (7 PM, ESPN), Athletics-Angels (10 PM, ESPN)
MLB.tv Free Game: Nationals-Marlins (7 PM)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.