Brewers beat Reds on walk-off wild pitch

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers ended a six-game losing streak Saturday night, beating the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 on a walk-off wild pitch in the 10th inning at Miller Park.

After an Eric Thames solo home run in the sixth inning tied the game at 5-5, the Brewers were looking for some magic during a bases-loaded at-bat with Ryan Braun in the 10th. Eric Sogard had reached on a double, followed by consecutive walks to Jesus Aguilar and Eric Thames.

That magic came in the form of a wild pitch from Tim Adleman which traveled far enough away from the plate that Sogard was able to dive in from third base to beat the tag at home plate.

“I think you’re kind of expecting a walk-off hit to break a streak, but you take it any way you can get it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I think you can tell by the celebration we had that we needed it.”

The win not only snapped the six-game skid, but pulled Milwaukee within 2.0 games of the National League Central lead with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals tied at the top of the division.

Corey Knebel was credited with the win, tossing two innings of one-hit baseball while striking out three. All five Reds runs came off starter Brent Suter, who allowed three home runs over his five innings of work.

Brewers Neil Walker making debut at 3rd base

One day after the Milwaukee Brewers traded for second baseman Neil Walker from the New York Mets, Walker gets the start for the Crew Sunday against the Reds. Walker will start at third base and bat cleanup in place of regular 3B Travis Shaw who is dealing with a right foot injury.

 

Walker is batting .264 this season, with 10 home runs and 27 RBIs in 73 games. He missed a large chunk of June and July with a hamstring injury, just returning to the lineup on July 28. This was the 31-year-old’s second year in New York, having spent his first seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While Walker’s stats may not blow anyone away, the Brewers struggles at second base have been a story for several months. They waived Scooter Gennett during spring training, handing the job to Jonathan Villar. He’s batting just .222 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs. Milwaukee overcame his struggles early on because of Eric Sogard’s surprise success. He batted .331 before the all-star break, but since returning from an injury in late July, he’s got five hits in 45 at-bats.

 

What this Brewers offense is missing

The Brewers have undoubtedly played better than anyone expected this season, and are still in the hunt for the National League Central title. This has lead to Brewers general manager David Stearns making some moves to sure up the Milwaukee bullpen, which emerged as the team’s weakest unit.

The team has struggled since the All-Star break going 9-14 in that time. The starting pitching has been relatively good all season, and the bullpen has made strides as of late. What is really plaguing the Brewers is the fact that the offense isn’t hitting home runs and not scoring runs in general.

David Stearns mentioned how he would continue to look at every option available to improve this ball club. I’m sure he’ll continue to scour the waiver wire and look to make deals during the waiver trade deadline.  He could also continue to bring up younger players from the minor league in hopes of a spark. Which might not really happen until September.

Lewis Brinson and Brett Phillips are two highly touted prospects, but both have shown that the Brewers need to be patient with their progression as they’ve both struggled in their limited time at the big league level.

There has been a lot said lately about how the Brewers have struggled to score runs especially when they aren’t hitting home runs. That is true, but the team is struggling to even get on base at the same time. What I think this Brewers team is missing is a true lead-off hitter. Jonathan Villar was the Brewers lead-off man for most of last season, but he has been anything but productive so far this season.

Villar is hitting .216 this season with 8 home runs and 32 RBIs. He does have 20 stolen bases, but has shown a lack of concentration on the bases too many times in his career. He has also struck out 111 times this season, which is over 34% of his at-bats. His on-base percentage of .276 is terrible for a traditional lead-off hitter. He has also committed 11 errors this season, which doesn’t help his case.

Eric Sogard has also seen quite a bit of time in the lead-off spot since mid-May. He was fitting the role nicely up until he went on the disabled list just before the All-Star break. Since returning to the lineup a little more than two weeks ago, he has really struggled. Since July, Sogard is a combined 3-39 for a batting average of .077 during that time period. The Brewers have to monitor his playing time because he is coming off of knee reconstruction surgery.

The Brewers don’t really have many other options. Eric Thames and Domingo Santana have seen some time at the top of the order, but Craig Counsell and the Brewers would prefer them lower in the order. Keon Broxton has also gotten starts in the lead-off spot, but has struck out at too high of a clip to be a good candidate for the position. The Brewers could try Orlando Arcia at the top spot in the order, but Craig Counsell seems content with batting him in the seventh or eighth spot.

Without a consistent lead-off hitter, the Brewers offense will continue to struggle as long as they aren’t hitting the long ball. For my money, I’d pull the trigger on calling up top prospects Lewis Brinson and/or Mauricio Dubon and let them find their swings at the major league level.

 

 

 

 

Brewers moves: Sogard in, Broxton out

Second baseman Eric Sogard is back and centerfielder Keon Broxton is out.

Those were the transactions announced Saturday by Milwaukee, which is in the midst of a season-worst six-game losing streak.

Sogard had been on the disabled list with an ankle injury since early July. Before that, the 31-year-old had been one of the pleasant surprises for Milwaukee. He spent all last year in the minor leagues, but when he got called up in April, he was great, batting .331 in 43 games, with three home runs and 14 RBIs.

Broxton, meanwhile, has been in a major funk at the plate, and that’s the reason he was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. In the month of July, the 27-year-old went 3-for-45 with one home run. For the season, his average had dipped to .218.

Brett Phillips is likely to take over on a regular basis in centerfield.

Milwaukee will take on Philadelphia on Saturday night.

Brewers: Injury Updates

The Milwaukee Brewers have a considerable number of pieces that are currently on the disabled list. Starting pitcher Junior Guerra will be activated from the DL and will start tonight for the Brewers against the Pittsburgh Pirates at 6:05 p.m. CST. Guerra was placed on the 10-day disabled list after his last start prior to the All-Star break on July 10th. Guerra is 1-3 on the season with an ERA of 4.78. He isn’t the only player the Brewers expect to get back in the near future.

Chase Anderson

Anderson went on the DL after exiting a game in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds on June 28th with an oblique strain. The original diagnoses was that he would be out 4-6 weeks with the strain. As of yesterday, it was announced that at the earliest the Brewers would expect to get Anderson back by the next home stand. The Brewers next home stand is against the Chicago Cubs from July 28th through July 30th. The organization didn’t rule out Anderson returning in early August depending on how he feels once he returns to the mound.

Eric Sogard

Sogard was officially placed on the disabled list on July 4th after dealing with a sore ankle, which had him in and out of the lineup for a week. Sogard has had injury issues in the past and the Brewers didn’t want to take any chances after how well he was swinging the bat this season. He will begin a rehab assignment with Low-A Wisconsin on Wednesday. The Brewers are hoping everything will go well and have him start one or two games for Low-A Wisconsin. If everything goes as expected, the Brewers expect to get Sogard back for their weekend series starting with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday.

 (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Brandon Woodruff

Woodruff was scheduled to make his major league debut for the Brewers on July 13th doubleheader in St. Louis. 25 minutes before his first career start, Woodruff was scratched with right hamstring tightness. He is the Brewers eighth ranked prospect, who has excelled in the Brewers farm system the past couple years. Woodruff began a rehab assignment with the Arizona Rookie League on Saturday, and will likely need a few outings to be game-ready. The Brewers don’t expect to get him back until late July. Woodruff could potentially play a role in the starting rotation or bullpen based on other pitcher injury or trade statuses.

Stephen Vogt

Vogt left last night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates after a collision at the plate with Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl. Vogt was hit in the head and bent his knee awkwardly in the collision. Both team trainers ran out to look at Vogt, who was put through multiple tests before slowly walking off the field. During the game, reports came in that Vogt was being looked at for a strained neck and knee. Vogt could be looking at a recovery time of 4-6 weeks. The Brewers will likely recall catcher Jett Bandy.

Brewers claim All-Star catcher off waivers

David Stearns is back at it in the Brewers front office scouring the waiver wire. He claimed yet another player off of waivers yesterday, while the Brewers finished up their series with the Atlanta Braves with a 7-0 win. Catcher Stephen Vogt was the player claimed off of waivers from the Oakland Athletics. Vogt, 32, was an AL All-Star for the A’s in 2015 and 2016, but has seen his production fall so far this season. He was batting .217 with four home runs and 20 runs batted in this season before being designated for assignment by the Athletics.

Milwaukee Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado, left, tags out Oakland Athletics' Stephen Vogt in a seventh-inning rundown during a baseball game Tuesday, June 21, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Why I like this move

I absolutely love this move by the Brewers front office! Jett Bandy has been struggling since May and has seen his batting average drop over one hundred points since then. Bandy also had one option left on his contract, so the Brewers could demote him to Triple-A Colorado Springs without having to place him on waivers. This move now allows them have four major league caliber catchers within the organization in Manny Pina, Andrew Susac, Bandy, and now Stephen Vogt.

Vogt also carries a team friendly deal, as he is making just under three million dollars a year. The Brewers will also have three more years of control of Vogt as he is under contract until 2020. The amount and length of his contract are perfect for the Brewers. He’s a cheap contract in the prime of his career until the end of his deal. Vogt has been  thought of as a good offensive and defensive catcher throughout his career in the major leagues.

A change in scenery could be just what the doctor ordered for Vogt. He’s been with Oakland for the past five seasons and hasn’t been to the postseason since 2013. He will also bring more veteran leadership to a young Brewers team. Vogt was previously teammates with Eric Sogard. Sogard has had nothing but good things to say about Vogt since the news of his acquisition. The change in scenery should allow for Vogt to get his offense back on track, as Miller park is by far a more hitter friendly park than is the Oakland Coliseum.

Overall, this was a cheap move that could really benefit the Brewers ball club in every aspect of the game. Vogt should help the Brewers offensively and defensively as well as bring another veteran voice to the team. Once again, Stearns has shown that he can make a low-risk move with high ceiling potential.

Report: Brewers activate Stephen Vogt from DL

The Milwaukee Brewers have activated catcher Stephen Vogt from the 10-day disabled list. For a corresponding move, the Brewers placed catcher Andrew Susac on the 10-day disabled list with a right trapezius strain. Vogt hasn’t played since July 18th against the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he suffered a sprained knee and had concussion-like symptoms. The injuries […]

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Milwaukee overcomes early deficit to beat Pittsburgh 7-6

Powered by five home runs, the Milwaukee Brewers came back from an early deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6 on Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park. Manager Craig Counsell’s team trailed 4-0 entering the bottom of the third inning when their bats finally woke up. Centerfielder Keon Broxton drilled a solo home run, which was […]

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Broxton backs Davies in win over Pirates

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers avoided dropping in the National League Central standings by taking down the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night 3-1 at Miller Park. Zach Davies collected his 14th win of the year as he tossed 6.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits. Manny Piña backed him up with a pair of RBI, while […]

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Report: Anderson to start Sunday

The Milwaukee Brewers announced their starting pitchers for this weekend’s series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors field. According to a report from Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy, Chase Anderson is feeling good and will pitch Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies The plan was for Anderson to make three rehab starts before rejoining the […]

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Report: Brinson out 4-6 weeks

The Milwaukee Brewers top prospect Lewis Brinson left Tuesday night’s game for Triple-A Colorado Springs with a left leg injury. Brinson was seen with a noticeable limp after coming up lame while running to first base. His injury didn’t look good as it happened, and he was later pinch-hit for an inning later. According to […]

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Why Eric Sogard Should be an Everyday Starter

The Milwaukee Brewers are in a “rebuild” or at least that’s what the organization and the media are saying. Don’t tell that to all the fringe big league guys that the Brewers either signed or claimed off waivers in the past couple seasons. A rebuild is when a big league club trades away its assets in order to gain better prospects and draft picks. But that leaves a roster with a mix of young and veteran players looking to make a name for themselves. Sogard is in the camp of veteran players looking to prove to a team he deserves to be in the Major Leagues.

Sogard made his Major League debut in 2010 at the age of 24 for the Oakland Athletics. He spent the next two seasons playing between the Minor and Major Leagues. From 2013 to 2015 Sogard played for the Athletics, but never really showed why any team would think he was more than a solid utility player. In 2016, Sogard underwent a major reconstruction surgery to his left knee, which kept him out of baseball last year. The Brewers offered Sogard, now age 31, a minor league contract with a spring training invite this winter. It was a low-risk move as it wouldn’t hurt the team financially if they ended up cutting him.

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo),

One of the main reasons for the Brewer’s interest in Sogard could of been the familiarity that Brewer’s bench coach Pat Murphy had with him. Murphy coached Sogard in college at Arizona State and knew he was a good all-around player. He also knew he was a very versatile player as well as patient at the plate. So far, Sogard has been everything the Brewers could have asked for and then some.

Why He Belongs

The Brewers are now 8-1 in games that Sogard leads off, not to mention have a winning record when he starts regardless of where he bats. Counsell needs to ride the hot bat, and Sogard is definitely the hottest bat at this point of the season. Sogard is batting a sizzling  .396  with an outrageous .529 On-base percentage. He is watching pitches and giving the Brewers  good at-bats nearly every time he steps up to the plate. Having him at the top of the order has  done wonders for setting the table for the middle of the Brewer’s potent order. Sogard is taking pitches and working counts to the tune of walking over 20% of his at-bats.

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Since he is one of the most versatile players on the Brewers roster next to Hernan Perez, it should be easier for him to consistently get playing time. Sogard has played practically every position in the infield besides catcher and first base and can also play each corner outfield position. This flexibility should not only allow Sogard the chance to start everyday, but for manager Craig Counsell the opportunity to rest other players when needed. Jonathan Villar had a breakout season last year for the Brewers, but has fallen on hard times this season. The Brewers should give Sogard a consistent look at second base because they have Villar under contract until 2021. This gives the Brewers ample time to figure out what the best move should be.

And finally, he’s also become a fan favorite. The “Nerd Power” phenomenon has taken over Milwaukee like Eric Thames did in April. Every broadcast you watch they’re mentioning his glasses or stats. Every fan is calling for more of Eric Sogard, and it’s time to start to listen to the fans. Ride Eric Sogard’s hot streak for as long as it lasts!

Guerra, Thames lead the Brewers to a 7-1 win over the Mets

The Milwaukee Brewers jumped on the New York Mets early and cruised to a 7-1 victory Wednesday night at Citi Field.

A fast starting team for much of the year, Milwaukee scored three runs in the first two innings against the Mets’ Jacob deGrom, including a two-run homer from left fielder Eric Thames. It was his 14th on the year, but his first since May 9.

“He’s clearly in a good place,” Manager Craig Counsell said of Thames, who has battled strep throat and leg issues of late but is starting to feel better. “The home run was really well hit. I thought he just missed another one. It’s good to have him. Obviously, he’s a run producer. He’s an important run producer for us. Having him back swinging good is a big sign for our offense.”

Thames and leadoff man Eric Sogard set the table most of the night, as they battled deGrom during every at-bat. Between the two, they went 3 of 5 with five walks and four runs scored.

While deGrom struggled, giving up all seven runs in just four innings of work, the Brewers got another really good outing from Junior Guerra. In just his second start since coming off the disabled list, Guerra threw six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out four to pick up his first win of the year.

The victory kept Milwaukee 1.5 games up on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.

Counsell’s bunch will look to salvage a split of their four-game set with the Mets Thursday afternoon. First pitch is at 12:10 p.m.

Sogard leads Brewers offense in 6-2 win over Padres

SAN DIEGO — Former Padres draft pick and current Brewers third baseman Eric Sogard recorded a career-high four hits in a 6-2 Milwaukee win Tuesday night.

Sogard’s 4-for-4 performance backed up Jimmy Nelson’s six innings on the mound, where he struck out eight San Diego batters and only allowed two earned runs. But Sogard wasn’t the sole contributor on offense. Jesus Aguilar had a pair of hits and a RBI, along with Panny Piña’s two-run double.

Most of Milwaukee’s damage was done in the first inning, racking up four base-hits in a row and bringing five total runs across the plate. It brings the Brewers season average up to 1.05 runs scored in the opening frame — best in the entire league. Clayton Richard was the unlucky victim of Milwaukee’s hot hitting, getting tagged for all six runs, while giving up 10 hits.

“They took advantage early,” Richard said. “I didn’t throw the ball terribly. It was a few pulled changeups, and that really hurt. It happened quick, and unfortunately it was too much of a hole to get out of.”

Richard did manage to strike out seven Milwaukee batters over the course of his six innings. First baseman Wil Myers and left fielder Matt Szczur drove in San Diego’s pair of runs on the night.

Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson fanned eight in his six innings of work, picking up his second win of the year in the process.