Series Recap: Brewers at Reds

After looking like a Triple A team against the Cardinals, the Brewers headed to Cincinnati to face a team that dominated them only a week earlier. The Brewers had the top of their rotation going into the series which at least gave them a fighting chance.
The Good
The top three pitchers for the rotation were simply great this weekend. Ben Sheets, Jeff Suppan and Yovani Gallardo pitched a total of 18 2/3 innings while only giving up three runs to the Reds. The stats would have been even better had it not been for Ben Sheets leaving after five innings Friday night. He once again had dominant command on all his pitches and was almost untouchable. Gallardo looked great on Sunday and will prove to be extremely important should Ben Sheets miss extended time.
JJ Hardy finally seems to be snapping out of his early season funk. Hardy went 6-15 on the series including his first home run of the season. He seems to enjoy hitting in the 2-hole but I still wonder how long that will last with Mike Cameron slated to return on April 29th. Regardless, I hope he continues to swing a hot bat until the other big bats can return to their normal form.
The Bad
Rickie Weeks went 0-10 on the series and can’t seem to get comfortable at the plate. He still draws his fair share of walks and gets hit by pitches often enough but he really needs to start putting the ball in play more. His batting average now stands at .174 for the season and he stranded nine baserunners. His defense has improved greatly and he hasn’t made an error all seaon. As leadoff man he needs to be more productive at the plate though. It’s great he can take walks and get on base by getting hit by pitches, but he needs to stop being so pull happy and just get the bat on the ball. Weeks should try dropping down more bunts for base hits much like Tony Gwynn Jr. does.
Brian Shouse has done a great job since arriving to the Brewers but he is starting to show signs of wearing down. He has been a workhorse for the bullpen, coming in for tight situations but always getting his way out of it for the team. On Saturday, he came on to face Joey Votto. Shouse immediately gave up a two-run homer to Votto which tied the game. Although the Brewers won the game, Shouse showed that he is being over-worked. The Brewers called Mitch Stetter up to the team to help take some pressure off of Shouse and it seems to have helped. Stetter pitched 2 2/3 innings this weekend and struck out four batters.
The Ugly
Ben Sheets left the game Friday night after only five innings due to tightness in his right triceps muscle. The Brewers said he is still scheduled to pitch on Wednesday but if he can’t, Dave Bush will take his place. We all know that if Sheets is out for an extended period of time that the Brewers playoff chances are greatly diminished. Hopefully, he can make his start on Wednesday and just pitch through the pain.
Summary
Sunday was a disappointing result but overall it was a good series and a great road trip for the Crew. A 5-4 road trip in which Eric Gagne saved all five victories and your young stud pitcher returned and looked great. The Brewers now return home for a 3-team, seven day home stand starting with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.

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