The Joe & Ebo Experience: Packers preseason opener

0:00-9:45: Intro & Scott Takes

9:45-14:04: Gone in 60

14:04-18:24: Knebel Struggles

18:24-26:51: Packers Recap & Thoughts

26:51-27:36: FREE KARL

27:36-31:58: JK Scott & Packers WR talk

31:58-35:39: Conrad is fired up again

35:59-39:45: News of the Weird

39:45-50:34: Brewers Bullpen

50:34-1:01:04: Tex Western

1:01:04-1:08:27: RJ Brachman

1:08:27-1:11:50: Action Zone

1:11:50-1:18:28: Packers WR & QB talk

1:18:28-1:19:34: Boylin’

1:19:34-1:29:34: Andrew Wagner

1:29:34-1:38:21: Scraps & Goodbye

Last strikes: Padres 8, Brewers 4

MILWAUKEE – Sixteen last strikes for the 16 batters faced by the Brewers bullpen in Milwaukee’s 8-4 loss to the San Diego Padres on Thursday afternoon.

1. Junior Guerra didn’t have his best day on the mound as he allowed eight hits on the afternoon but he did enough to limit the damage, holding the Padres to just two runs in six innings.

2. Overall, it seemed as if the Padres played a rather sloppy game, committing two errors and a couple other plays that easily could have been scored as such. Things looked great for the Brewers to win their second straight game over San Diego, and their fourth series in five tries.

3. That was, until the ninth inning when the Brewers fell apart on the mound.

4. Corey Knebel entered with Milwaukee leading 4-2 to start the frame. He struggled to throw strikes as 14 of his 26 pitches missed the zone. Knebel allowed the first three batters to reach via walks and the fourth on an RBI-infield single.

5. The infield single was a dribbler hit between the third base line and the mound. Knebel was the one to field it, however it looked as if he never had a good grip on the ball, causing his throw to the plate to be errant. The Brewers actually got lucky here for a moment as the throw hit San Diego’s Freddy Galvis as he scored and ricocheted off of home plate umpire Todd Tichenor.

6. After that debacle, manager Craig Counsell made the call to the bullpen to bring in Joakim Soria with the bases loaded, one run in, and zero outs. Soria retired the first batter he faced on a fly out to right field and a strong throw from Christian Yelich kept the game from being tied. The Padres still had the bases loaded, but the Brewers had an out and things looked much more manageable.

7. Hunter Renfroe then stepped to the plate following Eric Hosmer’s fly out. Renfroe proceed to deposit a 1-2 fastball into the left field seats for a grand slam. Just like that, Milwaukee’s 4-2 lead had turned into a 7-4 deficit.

8. To make bad news worse for the Brewers, Soria immediately left due a strained groin. Things kept piling on in the ninth, and they didn’t stop there.

9. Jacob Barnes then came on in relief of Soria due to his injury. The first batter Barnes faced was Franmil Reyes, and he was able to jump out in front 1-2 in the count. Then, on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Reyes went deep to add on an extra run. The sixth run of the inning for the Padres made the game 8-4, where it would finish.

10. The Brewers bullpen has been outstanding for the majority of the season, but that hasn’t been the case as of late. Milwaukee has blown multi-run leads in two of the last three games. In the series opener on Tuesday night All-Star Josh Hader took the loss before Knebel’s struggles on Thursday. Pair that in with Soria’s injury and this unit may be in some trouble.

11. Blown saves happen. They’ve happened to the greatest closers of all-time and they’re absolutely going to happen to Knebel from time to time. His fastball velocity is still topping out above 98 miles-per-hour (three times on Thursday), but if he cannot throw it for a strike, it becomes useless. Not being able to find the strike zone as the case was Thursday is a definite reason for concern.

12. As for the rest of the bullpen, Hader has faded a bit since his early season dominance. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. If he would have kept up the pace from his early season run, this year possibly could have gone down as the greatest ever by a reliever. He’s still been very good, just not the strikeout machine he was in May.

13. Soria’s injury could potentially be a big blow to the depth in the bullpen for the Brewers. He’s going to miss at least the next few days as he heals, and a stint on the disabled list certainly isn’t out of the question for him. His acquisition seemed like a move where the Brewers were just the rich getting richer, but right now it looks like it’s needed. Sure, Burnes has been very good at times for the Brewers, but it’s still very early for him and it will be interesting to watch how he responds to the pressure ramping up as the postseason race tightens up late this month and into September.

14. On the bright side for the Brewers, Jonathan Schoop collected his first extra-base hit for the team as well as his first run batted in. He had a two-run double in the fourth inning that pushed the Brewers’ lead to 3-1. He later scored on a terrific base running play, capitalizing on an error by San Diego’s Galvis at shortstop.

15. If Schoop can get going that will mean great things for the Milwaukee offense. The rich will certainly get richer in that sense.

16. The Brewers get back in action on Friday night in Atlanta as they take on the Braves. Freddy Peralta will get the start for the Brewers while Kevin Gausman will be on the hill for Atlanta. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. CT.

Brewers close home stand with loss to Cleveland

The Milwaukee Brewers finished a five-game homestead with a 2-3 record after splitting two games with the Cleveland Indians.

After taking the first game of the series 3-2, the Brewers fell to the Indians 6-2 on Wednesday afternoon. Junior Guerra started for the Brewers, pitching five innings, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out nine. He was hurt by the long ball as he allowed a three-run home run to Cleveland outfielder Tyler Naquin as part of a four-run fourth inning.

It was difficult for the Brewers to generate much offensively against Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco pitched a complete-game, allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out 14 on the day. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain collected Milwaukee’s only extra base hit on the afternoon, a double in the eighth inning.

The loss dropped Milwaukee to 21-16 on the season, tied for second place in the NL Central.

The Brewers now begin an 11-day, three-city road trip against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night at 7:40 p.m.

News and Notes

The Brewers made two roster moves on Wednesday prior to the game against the Cleveland Indians. The Brewers placed pitcher Wade Miley on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right oblique suffered in his start on Tuesday night. Milwaukee also placed utility man Nick Franklin on the 10-day DL with a strained right quad suffered Tuesday night while beating out a potential double-play. It was Franklin’s season debut after spending the beginning of the season in the minor leagues.

Milwaukee activated closer Corey Knebel from the disabled list prior to the game on Wednesday against the Indians. He pitched one inning against Cleveland Wednesday afternoon allowing a solo home run to Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Tyler Salidino was also re-called from Triple-A to take the place of Franklin. He did not play on Wednesday.

The Brewers are also expected to activate reliever Boone Logan from the disabled list on Thursday prior to Milwaukee’s game in Colorado. Logan has missed the entire season to date with a left triceps injury.

The 10-game, three-city road trip for the Brewers is the longest of the season. After a four-game series in Colorado, the Crew will travel to Arizona for a three-game set and then wrap things up in Minnesota against the Twins for three games.

After the road trip, the Brewers will have a season-high 10-game homestead against Arizona, the New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals.

Brewers announce award winners

While the Milwaukee Brewers were unable to find their way into the postseason they did have a season not many expected. Today they announced which players have been honored with team postseason awards, as voted on by a five-person committee from the Milwaukee Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Brewers pitcher Brent Suter was voted as the team’s Unsung Hero winner. This year Suter bounced back and forth between Milwaukee and the minor leagues. He spent six separate stints with the Brewers, going 3-2 with a 3.42 earned run average in 22 games for the club. He made 14 starts for the team. Last year’s winner of the award was Hernán Pérez.

Sticking on the pitching staff, closer Corey Knebel was named the team’s Most Valuable Pitcher. Knebel made 76 appearances for the team, totaling 76 saves while posting a 1.78 ERA. He also was tied for the Major League lead in strikeouts by a reliever with 126, which was a team record. Knebel also set the Major League record for most consecutive relief appearances with a strikeout at 45. Last season Junior Guerra took home the award.

Third baseman Travis Shaw takes home multiple awards, winning the team Most Valuable Player and Newcomer of the Year. He was acquired via a trade with the Boston Red Sox last offseason. Shaw hit .273 with 31 home runs and 101 runs batted in for the Brewers this year. Shaw unseats Ryan Braun, who had been the team’s MVP the previous two seasons.

Brewers beat Pittsburgh 1-0, move to within a game of Colorado in wild card race

The Milwaukee Brewers continued their push towards the postseason Tuesday night with a 1-0 shutout victory over Pittsburgh.

Chase Anderson threw six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts to pick up his 11th win of the year, though it didn’t come easy. In the sixth inning, Pittsburgh managed to get a runner to third with no outs. Anderson had an answer though, getting Andrew McCutchen to strike out and then a pair of fly balls to get out of the inning.

With Anderson’s night done, the duo of Anthony Swarzak and Corey Knebel came on to finish things off, with the latter picking up his 37th save. It was Milwaukee’s 12th shutout this year and the fourth in the month of September alone.

The only offense Milwaukee got – or needed – came courtesy of a solo home run in the fourth inning from Domingo Santana, his 26th long ball of the year.

Thanks to a walk-off win by San Francisco over Colorado, the Brewers moved to within one game of the Rockies in the race for the final wild card spot in the National League. The Crew remained 3 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central after the Cubs won their seventh straight game.

Milwaukee will finish off its series with the Pirates tonight before coming home for four games against the Cubs at Miller Park.

Brewers beat Pittsburgh, gain ground in playoff chase

The Milwaukee Brewers are within two games of the Colorado Rockies and the final wild-card spot in the National League. That’s after manager Craig Counsell’s crew went on the road Monday night and got a 3-0 shutout win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“We don’t have a lot of margin for error,” Counsell said of his team’s push for the postseason. “Another win adds a little more pressure to the teams were are chasing and it puts us in a good spot.”

Milwaukee’s pitching staff was the story on Monday, as Brent Suter threw five scoreless innings to get the win. The bullpen took care of things from there, including Corey Knebel coming on to close out the ninth inning for his 36th save on the year.

The Brewers took the lead in the fourth inning thanks to a Ryan Braun solo homer, his 17th on the year. Second baseman Neil Walker drove in a run against his old team in the sixth inning, before a Travis Shaw RBI single in the eighth capped the scoring.

With the win, Milwaukee is now 10 games over .500 for the first time since July 16, and it allowed for the Brewers to gain a 1/2 game on the idle Rockies, leaving them just two games back in the wild card race with 12 to go. They are also 3 1/2 games back of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

It’ll be the Brewers and Pirates again on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Brewers gain ground in the playoff race, beat Washington 1-0

Neil Walker drilled a solo home run in the first inning, and it turned out to be all the offense Milwaukee would need Friday night in a 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals.

Starter Jimmy Nelson was masterful in keeping the NL East-leading Nationals off the scoreboard, going seven innings, giving up just three hits and striking out 11. The bullpen backed him up, with Josh Hader and Corey Knebel striking out all six batters they faced. It gave Nelson win No. 11 on the year, tying a career-high for him, while Knebel picked up save No. 32.

On the other side, Washington’s Tanner Roark was nearly as good. Outside of the mistake to Walker, he shut Milwaukee down, going seven innings and allowing five hits while striking out 10. Centerfielder Jonathan Villar was the only Brewers batter to have more than one hit on the night.

Outfielder Ryan Braun was tossed from the game in the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes. It was the sixth time in his career he’s been ejected from a game.

With the win, and a loss by Colorado, Milwaukee moved to within 1 1/2 games of the Rockies for the final wild card spot in the National League. The Crew remains 3 1/2 games back of Chicago in the NL Central.

It’ll be Washington and the Brewers once again Saturday night at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m.

Davies, Villar help the Brewers earn 6-3 win over Washington

Jonathan Villar continued to swing a hot bat as Milwaukee earned a 6-3 win in the opener of its 4-game set with the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

The second baseman collected three hits, including a 2-run homer in the fifth inning. It came a night after he had three RBIs and he concluded the month of August batting .364. It was a significant departure from the struggles he’s had much of the season.

“It’s huge,” pitcher Zach Davies said of Villar’s big night. “We know what role he had last year and how big of a part of the team he was. Just him having continued success and getting on a roll himself, it’s huge for the team.”

Davies had a pretty good night himself. He went seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and picked up his 16th win on the year – tied for the most in the majors.

Closer Corey Knebel came on in the ninth to collect his 31st save of the season.

The win allowed Milwaukee to move within 2 ½ games of the Colorado Rockies in the race for the final wildcard spot, and kept them 3 ½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central.

It’ll be Milwaukee and Washington again Friday night at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.

(WATCH) Keon Broxton saves the day for Milwaukee in a 6-5 win over St. Louis

It appeared as if Milwaukee had just given up a two-run homer in the top of the ninth that would have given St. Louis the lead. But centerfielder Keon Broxton had different ideas, robbing Randal Grichuk at the wall with a leaping catch to give the Brewers a 6-5 win Wednesday afternoon.

“Sometimes it takes a great play to win a game,” manager Craig Counsell said afterwards. “We got a great play from Broxton.”

The play was made more remarkable by the fact Broxton had just come into the game, replacing Hernan Perez, who joked with Counsell that he would have made the play as well.

“He’s got a couple this year and none bigger than that one,” Counsell said of Broxton’s catch.

The play was a lifesaver for the Crew, seeing as without it they would have blown a three-run lead after the seventh inning. Instead, it gave starter Chase Anderson his eighth win of the year, as he went six innings, giving up three runs, all of which came via the long ball. Closer Corey Knebel picked up his 30th save of the season.

The Brewers offense did its job after coming up empty in a 10-2 loss on Tuesday. They scored three runs each in the second and sixth innings, including home runs by Domingo Santana and Jonathan Villar. Shortstop Eric Sogard and Perez each had a pair of hits.

With the victory, Milwaukee moved within three games of the Chicago Cubs in the race for the NL Central.

The Brewers will open a series against the Washington Nationals Thursday night at Miller Park.

Pitching staff leads Crew over Cubs 2-1

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers survived a pitching duel with the Chicago Cubs Friday night thanks to seven scoreless innings from starter Brent Suter, along with backup from the bullpen.

Milwaukee would get the 2-1 victory and pull within a half game of the division-leading Cubs because of the career-high performance from Suter.

“I have to be honest, it feels good,” Suter said. “It was probably one of the biggest starts of my life, and to come through for the team and get the team a win, it feels good.”

The only scoring Chicago could muster came against the Brewers’ newest reliever, Anthony Swarzak, who allowed one run in the eighth inning. He was credited with the hold, while Corey Knebel came in to record his 18th save and preserve the win.

After acquiring him in free agency over pursuing teams like the Brewers, Cubs starter Jose Quintana took his sixth loss of the season after allowing two runs on four hits in six innings of work. He struck out six, but walked three in the effort.

“They work good at-bats,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Milwaukee’s bats. “They don’t expand their strike zone — maybe one or two guys might. They’re not expanders. You’ve got to throw a strike. It’s almost like an [American League] East batting lineup. You have to get them out within the strike zone, and that’s what’s so interesting about their group.”

But it wasn’t all about the pitchers. Milwaukee’s offense was able to come through when it mattered, as Orlando Arcia and Manny Piña each delivered an RBI groundout to aid in the win. Ryan Braun nearly added a home run, had it not been for Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward robbing him of his 13th blast of the year.