The Week In Review: March 28-April 3

Each Sunday night throughout the season I’ll be looking back at the previous week – who performed well, who wasn’t so good, what to look for next week and other points of interest from the week.

That's about right.

The season finally started!…and the excitement that surrounded the Brewers for months leading up to opening day Thursday disappated very quickly as the team came out of the gate looking sluggish, losing three straight to Cincinnati to open the season. In the review this week, I will ignore the last couple games of spring training and just talk about the three games Milwaukee played against the Reds.

Who’s Hot?

We’ll give some points to baseball, for starting. That’s good.

Other than that, there wasn’t much to like about the Brewers this week. There were a couple of encouraging players though…

Yovani Gallardo got off to a good start, going six innings and giving up two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Of course, Gallardo’s quality start was given away by the bullpen (and the defense), so, that sucks.

Rickie Weeks got off to a good start in his first at bat, hitting a leadoff home run to start the season (followed by another home run by Carlos Gomez). He continued his hot hitting, hitting another leadoff homer today and adding an RBI double. In three games this week Weeks was 4 for 13 with two home runs and two doubles, with four RBIs.

Ryan Braun was the only other Brewer really swinging the bat, finishing the week 4 out of 11 with a pair of long solo home runs. Braun was also robbed of a big hit in the ninth inning on Saturday by Edgar Renteria.

We can also give a shout out to Erick Almonte. He only had one hit in six at bats, but that one hit was his first home run since his first career homer on April 2, 2003 – exactly eight years before his second career home run.

Who’s Not?

Everyone else? The team looked absolutely terrible at times, playing weak defense, hitting poorly and pitching badly.

Randy Wolf and Shaun Marcum struggled in their first starts of the year. Wolf looked like he might be okay, but Drew Stubbs got an RBI infield single with two outs in the fourth today and the next batter, Brandon Phillips, hit a three-run home run, which completely ruined any chance Wolf had of putting together a decent outing. Marcum looked horrible for the first two innings on Saturday, but settled down a bit. He was on a pitch count, and was taken out after 4.2 innings. All in all, Wolf gave up six runs in four innings, and Marcum gave up four in 4.2.

John Axford, well, you know.

The bullpen actually performed well on Saturday, when Zach Braddock, Sergio Mitre and Sean Green combined for 3.1 innings of one-hit, no-run baseball. On Thursday and Sunday, the bullpen struggled mightily. On Thursday, Kameron Loe gave up a run in the seventh, Takashi Saito pitched a clean eight and then Axford gave up four in the ninth. On Sunday, it looked like nothing could slow down the Reds’ offense. After Wolf left, Brandon Kintzler gave up 4 runs in 1.1 innings (although only one was earned), Mitch Stetter surrendered a three run homer, and Sean Green gave up a run in the eighth.

Yuniesky Betancourt got off to a dreadful start to his Brewer career, as well, which I guess we should have been expecting. Betancourt is 0 for 11 after three games, and he got his first error today. In addition to the official error he got, there was one play where Betancourt inexplicably backed off a ground ball that was on the left side of second base and let Rickie Weeks field it while running away from second base – Weeks throw was late and the batter had an infield hit.

He may have gotten a couple of hits including a home run in three games, but Carlos Gomez didn’t show me much. Watching his at bats, he did a whole lot of swinging for the fences. WAY too much swinging for the fences when you are batting directly in front of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Come on, man.

Injury Update:

Zack Greinke continued to progress, throwing what Brian and Bill were calling an “aggressive” flat ground throwing session today, but don’t expect him back before May.

Corey Hart is still unsure about when he will return, but he might join the team in Milwaukee for the home opener to see a doctor and determine whether or not he will need a rehab assignment. Mark Kotsay started in right field twice, and Erick Almonte once, in Hart’s absence. Nyjer Morgan figures to get some time out there as well.

Jonathan Lucroy, at last check, was going to report to class A Brevard County, and then play a few games in the minors, perhaps rejoining the team in the middle of April. Kottaras and Nieves will continue to catch in the meantime.

Manny Parra and Latroy Hawkins are also rehabbing. All five players have been placed on the 15 day disabled list, retroactive to March 22nd, so when they are ready, they can come back any time after April 6th.

What to watch for next week:

A win, perhaps? The Brewers have their home opener tomorrow at 1:10 pm vs. the Braves. Atlanta is a good team this year, so we’ll have to hope Milwaukee can get some runs. The Braves put Jair Jurrjens on the 15 day DL, so Atlanta will probably throw Brandon Beachy tomorrow. Atlanta had Friday off, so they could go back to the top of their rotation with Derek Lowe, who had a fantastic opening day start, on Tuesday, and hot prospect Mike Minor on Wednesday. Tommy Hanson is the likely pitcher on Thursday. For Milwaukee, they’ll have Chris Narveson tomorrow in the home opener, then Gallardo on Tuesday. No one knows what will happen yet on Wednesday. Keep an eye on that to see if Sergio Mitre starts what would be a bullpen game, or if the Brewers recall someone like Marco Estrada. Shaun Marcum lines up to pitch Thursday.

The weekend series is at home against Chicago. The pitching matchups currently project for Matt Garza versus Randy Wolf on Friday, Randy Wells versus Chris Narveson on Saturday, Andrew Cashner versus Yovani Gallardo on Sunday.

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