Dodgers 4, Brewers 3
W: Harang (1-1) L: Wolf (0-2) SV: Guerra (6)
Milwaukee missed out on a chance to record their first sweep of the 2012 season. The sweep could have had bigger implications as I am sure the next time these two teams meet there will be more on the line. Matt Treanor, Juan Rivera, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp recorded the four RBI for the Dodgers while Kemp homered for the seventh time this season. Milwaukee got RBI from Randy Wolf and Travis Ishikawa, who recorded two in his first start as a Brewer.
This was a very exciting series overall with plenty of headline material, but I still think we can take a lot away from Thursday’s afternoon game. Here are five things the Brewers should think about when studying this game.
1. Randy Wolf lacks command
This is something several fans were worried about coming into the 2012 season. Does Wolf have the “stuff” to fool hitters? He certainly does not have the velocity to get it past 95% of the batters in the major leagues so he must rely on location. Unfortunately, he has been unable to command where he wants the pitch to end up which is something you have to have under control when you are a location pitcher.
Brewer commentators Bill Schroeder and Brian Anderson talked about how this was Wolf’s best outing, but the guy still gave up four earned runs and only struck out one. He has an 8.80 ERA on the season and has lost two out of his three contests. It is still early but that is going to wear thin on fans.
2. Travis Ishikawa can hit
All off-season MLB Network analysts were talking about how terrible Milwaukee’s bench will be this year. Heck, I even said on more than one occasion that it is the worst aspect of the team. Apparently, we were all wrong as George Kottaras and Ishikawa lit it up in this series. Ishikawa went 2-for-4 with two RBI in place of Mat Gamel, who got his first day of rest. Ishikawa was on the San Francisco Giants team that won the World Series two seasons ago so he brings a lot of experience to the team.
3. Why did we not keep Jerry Hairston Jr.?
When I found out we let Hairston Jr. get signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers I nearly went into cardiac arrest. This guy is a major league ball player in every sense of the word. There is no excuse for why general manager Doug Melvin did not re-sign him to a two-year contract. Hairston was incredible for the Brewers down the stretch last season and batted over .300 in the postseason with several big-time hits. Please come back to us, Jerry!
4. Ryan Braun feels the pressure
I could not tell you if Ryan Braun feels the pressure without Prince Fielder batting behind him, but it certainly looked that way against the Dodgers this past series. Braun went 0-for-11 with one RBI, which was the walk-off sacrifice-fly Tuesday night. His batting dropped from well over .300 to .261 in three games. There will be a lot riding on Braun’s shoulders but I always thought he was built to handle it. Hopefully, I am right, only time will tell. At least Aramis Ramirez decided to heat up a little bit which should take some pressure off Braun.
5. George Kottaras is phenomenal
I cannot say enough about Kottaras’ season so far. It is so difficult to make your living as a pinch-hitter in baseball and Kottaras has taken his role head on. Do not get me wrong, he also starts every five days as Wolf’s personal catcher, which helps his plate appearances drastically. Still, you have to admit what he is doing is phenomenal. For the record, Kottaras is the backup catcher, so do not expect him to get more playing time then starter Jonathan Lucroy.