Brew View: Beer Goggles

¡Hola ventiladores de béisbol! Or, hello baseball ventilators, as some eagle eyed Spanish-speakers might have picked up from the last edition of Brew View. It should of course be fanáticos, or fanatics. And that’s what this is all about, baseball fanatics. Us fans of America’s pastime based here in the green and pleasant land of hope and glory. Or Britain as it’s more commonly known.

Milwaukee Brewers vs Chicago Cubs

As could be expected my beloved Milwaukee Brewers were just on a short-lived hot streak last week and have failed to continue living up to the hype this week. It was much like having a few too many brews and seeing the bus-pass toting toothless barmaid as a buxom youthful cheerleader.

The Brew Crew did manage to sweep St.Louis with a score of 4 – 3 in their final match-up, but their next series didn’t go quite as smoothly. The Milwaukee men hit the I-94 south to Chicago on Monday to be welcomed by the first of three defeats out of four by the Cubbies. The Cubs themselves aren’t doing too well so far this season, but then again Cubs fans are generally gluttons for punishment.

On Monday Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf didn’t manage to entirely silence the bats of the Cubs, but he put in a good effort for the seven innings he was on the mound. Kameron Loe took over in the eighth allowing the only run of the game, from Darwin Barney. For the Cubs, Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Marmol paired up to flatten the Brewers’ hopes for even a single run. Final after nine: 1 – 0.

Tuesday’s game went on to the tenth inning with Yovani Gallardo opening the pitching for Milwaukee. Randy Wells was on the mound for Chicago.  The final score was 5 – 4. Of note was Cubs manager Mike Quade being ejected by the homeplate ump for arguing balls and strikes in the top of the ninth. When it’s the end of regulation play with a tied score, a manager might as well get himself kicked out over balls and strikes!

Weeks

On Wednesday came the Brewers only win over the Cubs with a final score of 9 – 5 after nine. Chris Narveson was on form for the Brewers bullpen, with an ERA of 3.87 for June and just 2.70 for the last week. A fan in the stands made a spectacular catch with his cap, which reflected the level of play on the field. All the usual suspects were on top form for the crew – Weeks, Braun, Hart, McGehee, Betancourt, and Lucroy each played their part in the victory. For the North Siders: Baker, Johnson, and LeMahieu each added to their RiBbIes.

Thursday brought another Cubs win, this time 12 – 7 after nine. Matt Garza pitched to Ryan Braun in the 1st, allowing Braunie to homer out of the park and driving in Nyjer Morgan, giving the crew an early lead of 2. The Cubs answered immediately with Castro doubling to push Fukudome to home, and then scoring himself when Brewers catcher Kottaras was awarded a passed ball.
Kottaras made up for it in the next inning when he sent one flying over 400 feet out to right, driving in Hart to bring the score to 4 – 2. Again the Cubs had their revenge in the bottom of the 2nd with Soriano, Soto, and Fukudome all reaching home.
In the 3rd McGehee doubled to centre to get Braun all the way round. Pena homered to right for the Cubs making it 6 – 5 for Chicago.
The bats didn’t sing again until the 6th in which Fukudome homered to right with Soto and Campana on base, giving them a total of 9. Again in the 7th the Cubbies managed to add another two to their score with Soriano driving in Pena.

In the 8th Ramirez got to second with a swing deep in to left, allowing Montanez to cross home plate. Montanez was drafted in to the Cubs organisation over a decade ago but didn’t make it to the Bigs until he joined the Orioles back in 2008. He re-joined the Cubs organisation this year directly in to their Major League line-up.

In the 9th Lucroy singled to centre, Betancourt and Gomez crossed the plate for the Brewers, bringing the game and the series to a close. While from a Brewers fan perspective the series was a little disappointing score-wise, there were a couple of interesting games. It was certainly good news for Cubs fans who’ve been looking for retaliation against the Brewers for their 2 games to 1 defeat in Miller Park, at the start of the season.

Fittingly, the Cubs went on to defeat the Yankees 3 -1, while the Brewers went on to be beaten 10 -4 by the Red Sox. It was the Brewers first inter-league match of the season, having missed the inter-league-fest the rest of the Major League experienced a short while ago. The last time the crew visited Fenway was three years ago with a much less experienced team being walked all over by the Sox. It was also the first of fifteen inter-league games for Milwaukee, which I’m sure will prove a real test of whether we can truly sing their praises or if we’ve just been seeing the baseball world through beer-tinted glasses this first stretch of the season.

‘Til next time baseball nuts!

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