Milwaukee’s Aguilar added to All-Star team

After originally being left off of the 2018 National League All-Star Team when the rosters were announced on Sunday night, Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar will be taking his rightful place on the team in Washington, D.C. next week.

Aguilar was one of five players in the NL to be put up for the Final Vote for the last spot on the team. Aguilar was up against St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter, San Francisco’s Brandon Belt, Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Washington’s Trea Turner.

In the American League Seattle shortstop Jean Segura was the winner of the final roster spot.

Aguilar totaled a near-record 20,229,498 votes since the tallying began on Sunday. That’s the second-highest number of votes since the Final Vote was introduced in 2002. The record is held by Justin Turner of the Dodgers who totaled 20,819,242 votes to be elected to the 2017 All-Star Game.

Aguilar entered Wednesday with the National League lead in home runs at 23 and a batting average of .302. He becomes the fourth member of the Brewers to be honored as an All-Star selection this season joining outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain as well as relief ace Josh Hader.

The 2018 All-Star Game takes place at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. on July 17.

Brewers walk-off against Cardinals 2-1

When a team carries a no-hitter into the seventh inning or deeper, things typically work out well that night.

Friday was not one of those instances for the St. Louis Cardinals.

St. Louis pitcher Jack Flaherty had yet to allow a hit when Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar stepped to the plate with one out in the seventh inning. Aguilar swung and missed at a first pitch slider from Flaherty. The second pitch was also a slider, but this one caught a bit more of the plate and ended up over the left field wall.

Gone was Flaherty’s no-hitter and shutout, as well as St. Louis’ lead.

Aguilar’s next at-bat was another one that the Cardinals would like to forget. With the game tied at one in the ninth, Aguilar deposited an 0-2 fastball from Bud Norris over the wall in right field to give the Brewers the walk-off victory.

While Flaherty’s effort gained much of the attention Friday night, Milwaukee’s pitching staff was nearly just as good. Junior Guerra got the start for the Brewers and pitched five innings, allowing one run on three hits. The Milwaukee bullpen then combined for four no-hit innings before Corey Knebel earned the win, thanks to Aguilar.

The Brewers and Cardinals play the third game of this four-game series on Saturday afternoon at Miller Park. Chase Anderson (5-6, 4.54 ERA) takes the hill for the Brewers while Miles Mikolas (7-2, 2.69 ERA) starts for St. Louis. First pitch is at 3:10 p.m. CT.

Brewers: Three roster spots for five players

The Milwaukee Brewers nearly have their opening day roster set. They currently have three spots available, with five players vying for those last few spots.

The players still trying to make the team are pitchers Oliver Drake, J.J. Hover and Taylor Williams, along with first basemen Jesus Aguilar and Ji-Man Choi. The Brewers and general manager David Stearns have until March 28th to finalize the roster.

Drake and Aguilar are out of options and would have to be placed on waivers before being reassigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs or cut. Both would likely be claimed off waivers by other teams.

Williams still has an option available and therefore there wouldn’t be any consequences for sending him to the minors to start the season.

Hoover and Choi are a different story, being non-roster invitees, who signed minor league deals with Milwaukee. Both players would need to be added to the Brewers 40-man roster, which only has one spot available after Milwaukee officially cut Yovani Gallardo on Monday.

Choi and Hoover could be assigned to Colorado Springs with no consequences. The Brewers would also have another spot available if pitcher Jimmy Nelson starts the season on the 60-day disabled list.

What I think happens

Drake, Hoover, and Aguilar make the opening day roster. Drake and Aguilar are currently already on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster. Hoover would then take Gallardo’s spot, which would allow the Brewers to be flexible with monitoring Nelson’s rehab.

Choi would fall victim to the depth at the first base position. In 41 at-bats this spring, Choi batted .390 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. He proved that he could make most major league teams as a backup first baseman, but finds himself behind Ryan Braun, Eric Thames, and Aguilar.

Drake struggled this spring, making 12 appearances, logging 11 1/3 innings, while accumulating an ERA of 5.56. Hoover turned heads this spring training appearing in 9 games, going 9 1/3 inning and not allowing a run. He also owned an excellent WHIP of 0.64. Aguilar also played well, batting .276 with two home runs and seven runs batted in in 58 at-bats.

What I would do

First off, I would cut Drake, as he has never really impressed me during his time in Milwaukee. I would then give his 40-man roster spot to Hoover, who was outstanding during spring training. Williams showed this past month that he’s all the way back from his Tommy John surgery in 2015, as he was clocked numerous times in the mid to upper 90s on the radar gun.

The Brewers would then still have one spot left on their 40-man roster, which they should give to Choi. I then would assign him to Triple-A Colorado Springs and continue to add to the depth at first base. These moves would also allow the Brewers the option not to place Nelson on the 60-day disabled list and continue to monitor his rehab schedule.

 

Bats come alive as Brewers top Rockies 8-4

DENVER — Jesus Aguilar had a pair of home runs in the series finale, giving the Milwaukee Brewers an 8-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies Sunday afternoon.

“It’s all about confidence,” Aguilar said. “Starting the road trip with a series win is a boost of energy for the club and it gives us a lot of confidence. We’re just happy we were able to get it done.”

Aguilar followed up his pinch-hit go-ahead home run on Saturday with two more home runs on Sunday. In total, Milwaukee tallied 12 hits in the game while backing up Chase Anderson, who had just returned from injury to gather the win.

Anderson had just returned from the disabled list after an injury in late June kept him out of the rotation — one of Milwaukee’s more reliable starters to that point in the season. Anderson went 5.0 innings, allowing one earned run on a pair of hits while striking out four.

But after falling in a 6-1 hole heading into the home half of the eighth inning, the Rockies showed why they hadn’t lost a game at Coors Field since June 22nd. Colorado mounted a comeback with Milwaukee looking to close the game out with its late relievers. Former Brewer Mark Reynolds homered in the eighth before driving in Nolan Arenado on a single in the ninth inning. He’d finish the game with three RBI before Milwaukee secured the 8-4 victory with Corey Knebel logging his 26th save.

Milwaukee gained a game in the chase for a Wild Card spot, thanks to the Twins victory over the Diamondbacks. The Brewers remain 2½ games back of the final spot, while 2.0 games back of the Cubs for first place in the National League central.

Aguilar delivers as Brewers top Rockies 6-3

DENVER — After watching an early lead slip away, Jesus Aguilar delivered a three-run homer to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 6-3 win over the Colorado Rockies Saturday night.

An Eric Thames triple, a Ryan Braun sacrifice fly, and a Travis Shaw home run were the only runs Milwaukee had scored until the Aguilar blast, with all three aforementioned runs coming in the third inning. That 3-0 lead disappeared by the seventh inning after Josh Hader allowed RBI singles to Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu.

Hader had come on in the fifth inning to replace Brandon Woodruff, with the goal to pitch him for up to three innings.

“You know, this is how we’ve used Josh [Hader],” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “With what Josh is, this is the best way to deploy him and make him a weapon…This is the way we’re going to use him and we’re going to continue to use him.”

Once Rockies reliever Greg Holland came in to replace Pat Neshek, the opportunities opened up again for Milwaukee. Now with two men on base, the Brewers used Aguilar in a pinch hit role, resulting in the go-ahead three-run shot that would eventually give Milwaukee the win. But Aguilar had to battle through some tough pitches to find something to hit.

“I threw him a few quality pitches at the bottom of the zone that were balls, that he didn’t offer at,” Holland said. “But 3-2 with first base open — I know it’s a tie game, but you can’t throw a hanging slider after he’s already seen five.”

The win, paired with a St. Louis Cardinals loss, puts the Brewers back into second place in the National League Central standings, 2.0 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs.

7 RBIs from Jesus Aguilar propel the Brewers past the Yankees

Jesus Aguilar drilled his first career grand slam as Milwaukee took out New York 9-4 on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

The Brewers trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning when a downpour suspended play for almost an hour. When they came back, the Crew tied the game in the sixth inning thanks to a wild pitch and an Aguilar sacrifice fly. Then, in the top of the seventh, they took control. The Crew loaded the bases thanks to three walks by Tyler Clippard before Aguilar stepped to the plate with two outs, and finally took a 3-2 pitch deep to center field.

“I was just trying to be patient,” Aguilar said. “He was throwing a lot of balls. Once I got him to throw a strike straight through the middle, [thankfully] I got on the ball really good, and we won this game.”

Aguilar finished the night with a franchise-record tying seven RBIs.

“He’s a rookie doing this,” manager Craig Counsell said of Aguilar. “But it feels like it’s experienced at-bat.”

Milwaukee finished the night with 14 hits, but the pitching deserves some credit, too. After getting hit in the shin with a pitch, which was followed by the rain delay, starter Junior Guerra exited the game having pitched just 3 1/3 innings and allowing three runs, though only one was earned as Milwaukee committed five errors.

But the bullpen picked him up, especially lefty Josh Hader. The rookie went three innings, and while he gave up his first run in the majors, he also struck out seven of the 12 batters he faced.

“I’ve been saving Josh for the right spot. Today we really got into the right spot with him,” Counsell said. “We got Josh to this game in a spot with rest where we could extend him in an American League game where we didn’t have to worry about his spot coming up in the lineup. It turned out to be the perfect spot for him.”

The win was Milwaukee’s fifth-straight and it moved the Brewers nine games above .500. Their lead in the NL Central remained at 4.5 games on Chicago.

Milwaukee and New York will play against Saturday afternoon.

Brewers drill six home runs in an 11-3 win at Cincinnati

Milwaukee drilled the most home runs it had in a decade in an 11-3 win at Cincinnati Thursday night.

Outfielder Ryan Braun started what would turn into a home run derby for the visiting Brewers, going deep in the first inning for his second long ball in three games since coming off the disabled list. Homers from Manny Pina, Jesus Aguilar, Domingo Santana and two from Jonathan Villar followed, as the Crew banged a total of six bombs on the night and held a 10-0 lead before the Reds got on the board.

“We swung the bats really well tonight, obviously,” manager Craig Counsell said. “The first four innings we just kept coming at them.”

The Brewers bats were equal opportunity abusers, with the team getting three off of starter Homer Bailey, two on Kevin Shackelford and another off Ariel Hernandez. It was the fifth time in franchise history they’d hit at least six homers in a single game — one off the team record of seven back in 1980.

Starter Jimmy Nelson wasn’t too bad himself, making it seven innings, giving up two runs on three hits and striking out 11. It was the third time this month and fifth time this year he’s thrown a double-digit number of strikes in an outing.

“From the first inning you could tell he had really good stuff just by some of the swings,” said Counsell of Nelson, who improved to 6-4 on the year. “When we got him a lead, he got even better.”

The win was a good response to late blunders in Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Reds.

“It was a tough game (on Wednesday) in a lot of ways,” Counsell said. “We keep saying it, but we keep bouncing back from those tough games.”

Milwaukee finished its six-game road trip just 2-4, but remains a game up on the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

The Brewers will begin their final homestand of the first half of the season on Friday night as they host the Miami Marlins.

Brewers beat up Wainwright in 5-4 win

ST. LOUIS — The Milwaukee Brewers accomplished a rare feat in their 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday night — earn more than three runs against Adam Wainwright.

Wainwright has been historically dominant over the Brewers, allowing no more than three earned runs in his last 10 starts against Milwaukee. His record against Brewers outfielder Keon Broxton is another story. Broxton is 7-for-9 with two home runs against Wainwright, including Thursday night’s 4-for-5 performance at the plate with a single, double, and a home run.

Jesus Aguilar homered in the contest as well in a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie. It was his first of the season.

“It was a beautiful spot for it,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That was the most excited I’ve seen our team all year. He’s been a good teammate to a lot of guys.”

Brewers starter Chase Anderson went 4.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits, while striking out six. Oliver Drake picks up the win for Milwaukee, while Neftali Feliz recorded his eighth save of the season.