Brewing up America’s pastime: Two early wins marred by continued drought


Matt Belisle, Cardinals pitcher, and Yadier Molina, Cardinals catcher, celebrate after the Cardinals defeated the Brewers 4-0 on Thursday in St. Louis. The Cardinals won the series 2-1, sending the Brewers into continued trouble so far this season. Photo provided by Getty Images.

The smell of the freshly made hot dogs, taste of David sunflower seeds and sights of the players warming up fill the aroma that is Miller Park during the summer as our beloved Milwaukee Brewers play an old-fashioned game dating back to 1845. But it’s more than just a game: it’s a national pastime, one that has become a staple of American culture. Since I was handed a baseball bookcase when I was eight days old, I have become infatuated with the sport, and as I have aged it has become the hallmark of my interest. With this backdrop, I decided to take to The Highlander Online to showcase my thoughts about the local bunch of guys living out thousands of children’s dreams: the Milwaukee Brewers.

Well, the Brewers are on the board. The last time to get that coveted first win in major league baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers are, rest assured, not going to go 0-162 this season. Now, all fans can take a deep sigh and look ahead.

Look ahead? To what? The fact that the team is in the midst of 23 consecutive games against divisional opponents, the margin of error is small. If the team wants to be in contention in September, not only do they have to obviously play stronger than their divisional opponents, but also the head-to-head matches are of imperative importance.

Let’s start off with the Pirates series. Coming off that 0-3 sweep to the Rockies, Pittsburgh rolled in and easily picked up game one last Friday. With six strong innings, Jeff Locke led the Steel City towards a 6-2 victory in Milwaukee. However, a nice touch of inspiration for the Brewers was the return of Ryan Braun, who uses his tween-girl-admiring looks to emanate positive feelings for the Cream City.

Now, four of the five starters had towed the hill for the Brewers, all of whom were unsuccessful. It came down to the fifth man in the rotation, Jimmy Nelson, to finally put up a statistic in the “W” column. Nelson threw for six innings on Saturday night, only allowing two hits and striking out nine, allowing for the fireworks to blow up over the Miller Park ceiling in a 6-0 victory.

Hector Gomez and Jean Segura each had two RBI’s apiece, helping to contribute to the quality Saturday win. Segura even hit his first home run of the season off of Vance Worley in the fourth inning.

This momentum was short-lived, however, as Sunday afternoon brought another Steel City win, this one to the score of 10-2. Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run shot off of Kyle Lohse in the sixth inning, and the Pirates put up a whopping six runs in the ninth to propel themselves to a 2-1 series victory in Milwaukee.

Maybe some time spent away from Miller Park would help the Crew? Initially, it did. Matt Garza‘s 5.2 innings got the Brewers off to a strong start on the mound, and Carlos Gomez‘s RBI double in the seventh sealed the deal for a 5-4 Brewers win against the Cardinals on Monday afternoon in St. Louis.

Moreover, it was the largest crowd in the history of Busch Stadium, which gave the Brewers some extra salivation after a well-earned victory over a division rival.

The Cardinals had the last laugh, unfortunately, as they took the second and third game of the series by scores of 4-2 on Wednesday, and 4-0 on Thursday. Lance Lynn‘s six innings with one run allowed led the Cardinals to the Wednesday win, while Matt Carpenter‘s two doubles proved vital on Thursday. Furthermore, Carlos Gomez suffered a hamstring injury on Tuesday, continually stinging the pain for Milwaukee.

Besides Adam Lind‘s hot bat, and Jimmy Nelson’s surprising stellar start, the Brewers did not get anything great out of the Pirates’ series besides that W. Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun, and Aramis Ramirez are off to slow starts, the bullpen has not been good at all so far, and the on-base production is pathetic. Throw in Scooter Gennett’s benching against Pittsburgh, and Roenicke’s consistent trouble of knowing when to pull his starting pitchers, and it’s been a long couple of weeks for the Crew.

This upcoming week, the Crew returns to Miller Park for a four-game set against the Cincinnati Reds before welcoming back the St. Louis Cardinals for a three-game weekend tilt. With the start so far, it looks like the visitors might leave happy. Very happy.