The Week In Review: April 4 – April 10

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.

A couple of hot guys.

Well, the Brewers finally righted the ship, and have managed to come out of the weekend with a .500 record – about as good as we could ask for after an 0-4 start to the season. Some hitters started to come alive, some continued to perform, and the pitching looked superb for much of the week.

Who’s Hot?

Prince Fielder, off to another slow start, turned it around in a big way starting on Wednesday. After going 3-for-4 on Wednesday afternoon, Fielder is 11-for-18 over the last five games with 2 homers, 11 RBIs, and 4 doubles, including 3 on Saturday night, which tied a franchise record, that drove in 4 batters.

3 of the 4 runs that Fielder drove in on Saturday night belonged to Ryan Braun, who continued his hot hitting this week, capping it off with a 2 run home run this afternoon. For the week, Braun hit .348 (8-for-23) with 2 homers and 6 batted in.

I already spoke earlier in the week about Nyjer Morgan, who continued to play well over the weekend. He started in right field last night going 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI, and made a very nice catch in right field. On Friday he was 2-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt. Morgan had most of today off, coming in late as a defensive substitute in right. His totals for the week: .471 (8-for-17) with two triples, an RBI, a stolen base, and some stellar defense. Morgan is now hitting .474/.524/.737 on the year.

On the other side of the ball, Chris Narveson turned in the best week. Narveson pitched well enough for the victory on Monday in the home opener, going 6 shutout innings and picking up 5 strikeouts while giving up just three hits. Unfortunately the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead late, and the offense struggled, so Narveson had a no decision. On Saturday night, Narveson turned in a gem in one of his best career starts, going 7 shutout innings and striking out 9. This time the bullpen held and Narveson picked up his first victory of the season.

John Axford bounced back in a big way this week, and hopefully put some concerns to rest about his struggles in his first two outings. Axford has yet to pitch a perfect inning this year, but he picked up 3 saves this week without allowing a run.

The last “hot” mention of the week goes to Yovani Gallardo, who pitched an outstanding game on Tuesday, going the distance for a 1-0 shutout, also providing the only run in the game after scoring on a Ryan Braun single. Gallardo only had 2 strikeouts, but was getting ground balls all over the place and only walked 2 batters. He threw a very efficient 111 pitches, something that he struggled with at times last year. Unfortunately, he had much more difficulty today…

Who’s Not?

…which gets Gallardo a spot on the “not” list. Gallardo struggled pretty badly today, and just didn’t appear to have it. His command was off and he could never seem to get the big outs. In total, Gallardo threw 5 innings and gave up 4 runs on 7 hits, with 4 walks and 2 strikeouts. He needed 106 pitches to complete 5 innings.

Takashi Saito hasn’t had a good week – he surrendered two home runs on Monday in the eighth inning which ended up being the difference in that game, and he hasn’t pitched since. Saito has a stiff hamstring. He hasn’t been placed on the DL, and it looks like he won’t have to, but hopefully he can get back on track.

On the other side of things, it’s kind of hard to pinpoint batters who are struggling terribly. Carlos Gomez and Yuniesky Betancourt haven’t been great, but Betancourt is improving after a bad start to the season (he even drew a walk today!), and Gomez has looked… okay. He hasn’t been swinging the bat well at all, and it is especially tough to keep the faith high with Nyjer Morgan playing so well, but his approach has looked a little better in recent days and he scored a couple runs today. I would have put Casey McGehee on this list, but he erased many worries of a tough start after hitting a game-winning, pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the eighth today. I guess you could mention Jeremy Reed, who has yet to get a hit this season in six at-bats.

Injury Update:

Good news on the injury front this week. Zack Greinke threw two bullpen sessions this week, and could head out for a rehab assignment soon. Jonathon Lucroy, Manny Parra, and LaTroy Hawkins are already out on rehab assignments. Parra and Hawkins probably need a couple weeks yet, but Lucroy could join the team in the next few days.

Corey Hart participated in outfield drills today and felt “great.” He is slated to start batting practice on Tuesday, and soon after will go out for a rehab assignment. As of today, Hart said he was hoping to be back for the Brewers next homestand, which starts April 22.

I mentioned Takashi Saito earlier, but at this point there isn’t any reason to think he won’t pitch in the next series.

What’s Coming Up:

Milwaukee has Monday off, and then they head out to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates. Milwaukee has traditionally walked all over Pittsburgh, but they look improved this year. The weekend series is in Washington versus the Nationals. The schedule is pretty soft this week, so hopefully they can come out with a couple of road series wins.

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